A Travellerspoint blog

Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

sunny 13 °C

We stayed in Puerto Natales for a couple of days as a stop off point for a trip to Torres Del Paine National Park.

The Park is simply sensational but this part of Chile is unfortunately a cash cow. The entry fee for a day was a whopping US$30 on top of the tour costs. The accommodation in simple refugios even more expensive than the digs at Uluru in the red centre.

That said, the National Park was fantastic. On our day tour (we were the only ones there - ¡ was full of a cold and alli would never have camped! so a 4 day trip around the 50km W circuit was never a bona fide option) we saw a grey fox, guanacos (like Llamas) plus Chilian Condors in the fields. We also saw wild ostrich looking things '- the name escaped us.

We were shown a waterfall and some spectacular lake and mountain views - not too dissimilar to South New Zealand. The lakes contain excessive salts and minerals, hence the water appearing blues and greens and then greys depending on the wind and orientation of the sun.

The glacier there was impressive as was the ice cold wind. Bloody freezing to say the least. The glaciers were 15 km away with large chunks of icebergs left over in the Lakes.

We got to see the Torres (not too dissimilar to the 3 sisters at the Blue Mountains in Sydney) and we were happy. Especially as the forecast for the day was rain rain rain. We got sun sun sun.

I could write a paragraph about the town of Puerto Natales but at best the place is sleepy, windy and not much a happening to report!.

Our next report will be the amazing Perito Moreno Glaciar at El Calafate. Simply sensational............

Speak soon y'all.

Jason and Alli xx

Posted by Jason316uk 11:48 Archived in Argentina Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Punta Arenas meaning Sun Point

sunny 13 °C

Punta Arenas is a small town 12 hours from Ushuaia. We arrived for a 2 night stay.

As we had already seen the penguins and sea lions this was plenty.

Apart from a duty free zone that offers outdoor equipment (I.e. shoes, tents) at ridiculously cheap prices...... there really aint much else to this small town other than being a gateway to the Beagle Channel.

The weather was horrendously windy 120Km+ and the heavens opened 10 minuites before we left to Puerto Natales.

Posted by Jason316uk 11:26 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Worlds End

Ushuaia

semi-overcast 10 °C

Here we are the the end of the world!! Literally, we are in Ushuaia which at the very bottom tip of Argentina. It is the the southermost town or city in the world and the base for most of the cruiseships that go to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is not really on the mainland but on an archipaelago called Tierra Del Fuego (translation meaning Island of Fire). This place was inhabited with peoples similar to the aboriginies of Australia. But the European gold diggers and Sea Lion hunters soon put paid to them with murder and disease. Gold panning was the business here. It is now tourism.

The weather is slightly more ¨fresh¨is here compared to the summer heat we´ve been used to so far - about 10 degrees during the day as the Antarctic breeze and snow capped Andes keep things pretty chilly. Jason thinks I am mad, but I am loving getting out the fleece and goretex and shopping for a beanie and gloves!!

Ushuaia is a fairly touristy town with lots of local excursions on offer. We ventured out on boat cruise on Monday to visit the penguin and sea lion colonies. The penguins were gorgeous, just like in the movie, Happy Feet! The sea lions are quite blobby, smell fishy and make some disgusting noises. Yesterday we did a hike in Tierra del Fuego national park, which was great. Wasn´t a particularly hard walk, quite flat really as it followed a lake along the bottom of the Andes. The scenery was just spectacular though. The end point of the hike is the border of Argentina and Chile, although I have to admit we were a bit disappointed when all that marked the border was a plastic orange witches hat type thing. Not sure what we were expecting (a ¨Welcome to Chile¨sign maybe??, or armed border officers.... he he...) but a number of other hikers also expressed their let down at the official border so it wasn´t just us!

Remember that TV show, Northern Exposure? That´s pretty much what Ushuaia looks like, very cute with chalet style houses, although without the moose walking down the street of course. Penguin are definitely the selling theme of the town, every shop sells penguin statues, jumpers with pictures of penguins on them, giant fluffy toy penguins dressed in hiking gear....and there is even a guy who dresses up as a penguin and walks down the main street.

Chat to you later.....Alli & Jason

Posted by Jason316uk 04:22 Archived in Argentina Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Back to Buenos Aires

sunny 27 °C

After our trip to quaint little Colonia we arrived back in Buenos Aires to be greeted by similar weather to that we have just left.

The weather in B.A. was horrendous. Prolifically P-ing it down. We got a cab to a different hostel and stayed more central on Avenida Corrientes, the opera and cinema district of the city - only minutes away from the shopping and the sights.

The next morning we were ambling around relaxing and killing time for our Sunday flight (this was Friday am/pm) reading in parks and going down to Puerto Madero as the weather had vastly improved the following day.

Alli was walking along and heard her name. She turned around to see Marnie´s sister and her hubby who live in Sydney. It turned out they are on a similar expedition as we are. We met them later for dinner and drinks and wished them Bon Voyage.

On Sunday we got on our plane (eventually after being given the wrong ticket initially by the check in clerk) and got half way down the aisle. The usual Jason lack of patience at idiots kicked in as no one appeared to be sitting down. After several minutes and an extreme desire to push my way through the evident problem came to light. Double, treble and quadruple booking of seats. We had people in our seats who were in the wrong seats. It turned out there were at least 4 people with the same boarding pass and seat ticket allocation. It turned into a free for all seat grab.

After this was sorted the plane took off. Amazingly we only got to ushuaia an hour late but missed the sunset on the plane over the southern andes.

we got to our hotel and went for a beer and a walk. Alli loved the cold outside and liked to say she was too cold but enjoying it on several occasions. An Aussie who loves the cold!!!!!.

That´s all for now. Our next installment will be in a couple of days about Ushuaia - the southern most settlement in the world.

Laters

Jay + Alli

Posted by Jason316uk 08:55 Archived in Argentina Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Colonia Del Sacremento

Stunning Location and so European

sunny 26 °C

We left Montevideo by bus to Colonia Del Sacremento. A little over 3 hours and we arrived at our accommodation. A cheap enough place costing around US $13 each with our own ensuite bathroom and a decently comfortable homestay with a lovely host.

We spent a couple of hours thinking this was not overly "Sensational" as Lonely Planet said, until we hit the historical quarter or district. A square kilometer of beautiful colonial buildings, cobbled streets, churches, old wheels, horse and carts etc. This could have been the nicer areas of Spain, France or Italy but on the coast as it is a port and beach town. The sunsets were simply sensational.

We were there 3 days and had a blast exploring the local areas and watching my beloved Liverpool lose to Barcelona but go through with the locals. A man from Malaga was there supporting us as he hated Barcelona. He was a Malaga and Real fan.

Our last morning was spent in our room after breakfast watching a devasting storm until our cab arrived to take us to the ferry for our international boat trip across the water to Buenos Aires on a catamaran. The trip only took an hour and customs was done in one hit in Uruguay. Unbelievably the passage was smooth given the weather.

A simply sensational country that should not be overlooked....... We had not planned to go to Uruguay but we are so glad we covered the area for a week. Just goes to show, not all the best things you see are necessarily planned or thought about before you do them.

Posted by Jason316uk 17:43 Archived in Uruguay Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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