A Quick Tour in ChilePublished on May 02, 2017
A few months ago, I visited Chile for the first time for a short but much-needed vacation away from the noise of the city. I arrived in the city of Punta Arenas (or Sandy Point) which is located on the Strait of Magellan, but decided to stay in the charming port city of Puerto Natales on the Señoret Channel. I checked into my hotel and barely had time for a power nap before visiting the Penguin Colony of Otway Sound which gives you a unique opportunity to see these fascinating birds waddling around, go fishing and feed their young. When we got there, we only saw a dozen Magellan penguins and some of the customers were upset that we couldn’t get that close to them, saying they’d rather go to a zoo but I couldn’t be happier. I loved the fact that we went to see them on their turf instead of taking them out of their natural habitat and locking them up in concrete boxes (no matter how well maintained), even if that means getting a closer view – but that’s just me. On the second day, I went to Torres del Paine National Park which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with unbelievable waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and glacial lakes. Set in the Patagonia region, it is home to the Milodón Cave where archeologists found the remains of a huge prehistoric ground sloth (that could grow up to 12ft)! The park had so much to see and so much beauty to capture, especially when we visited its lakes (Nordenskjöld, Pehoé, and Salto Grande). After we ate, we went on a trek through a lush forest to get to the Grey Glacier.
The scenery that I saw on the third day was just as mind-blowing as the day before but this time, we weren’t on land. We left Puerto Natales behind and took a boat tour through the Last Hope Fjord on our way to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers. We docked at the Puerto Toro Port and explored the town which, around a century ago, was one of the most important in the region due to the Tierra del Fuego Gold Rush.After working up an appetite, it was a treat to try Patagonian cuisine, especially a dish inspired by the Mapuche aborigines, called “Curanto,” which means “hot rock.” This mouthwatering meal consists of seafood/meat/vegetables cooked in the ground for several hours over, you guessed it, hot rocks, covered in leaves. After the tour, we went back to the hotel and after some rest, I walked around the town to find a light snack before I called it a night.
On my last day in Chile, I had breakfast at the hotel and returned to Punta Arenas, stopping at the Nao Victoria Museum to see the sull-sized replica of Ferdinand Magellan's Nao Victoria - the first ship to ever go around the world. After a somewhat rushed tour of the museum, I left for the airport to catch my flight. Although, I don't think I would've minded missing my flight and wandering around this beautiful country some more!