Glaciers & Guanacos: Exploring Torres del Paine

Calving glaciers, grazing Guanacos and oh so gentle men: Torres del Paine is full of wonders. Most people arrive here to experience the crown jewel of South America’s national parks (the “Teenagers of the Andes”), and when you do, I recommend you do it in style. Right now, I am sitting in front of a warming fireplace in a salon with open windows giving way to Las Torres Massif, the striking “Torres” right behind my back with nothing but the stars to bridge our distance. Beautiful. This weekend, I have been invited to stay at Hotel Las Torres and I am loving it. Let me tell you why.

 

On our "Way To The End Of The World", we are spending almost five hours on the road from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine National Park.

On our “Way To The End Of The World”, we are spending almost five hours on the road from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine National Park.

 

Passing "El Cerro Negro", a sheep station complete with shearing demonstration and lunch, is included as a comfortable lunch stop on our way heading northwest towards the Park. First country experience starts: I like! It reminds of New Zealand.

Passing “El Cerro Negro”, a sheep station complete with shearing demonstration and lunch, is included as a comfortable lunch stop on our way heading northwest towards the Park. First country experience starts: I like! It reminds of New Zealand.

 

Our host and his family are happy to demonstrate the quality of their Merino sheep, which they shear every year in spring and summer and whose "cordero" (lamb) we are enjoying for lunch ...

Our host and his family are happy to demonstrate the quality of their Merino sheep, which they shear every year in spring and summer and whose “cordero” (lamb) we are enjoying for lunch …

 

“Welcome to the Teenagers of the Andes!”

Our guide for the day, Eduardo, convinces me to join him and his crew on a so-called “Full Paine” Tour organized by Hotel Las Torres, which offers a perfect chance to experience many of the national park’s highlights without actually having to hike (which is what I have saved for later 😀 ). It is a full day excursion tracing the foothills of the Torres Massif, including constant jaw-dropping vantage points until you reach what is called Lago Grey, or “Grey Lake”. On overcast days, the glacier-fed lake appears grey due to the many sediments it carries, whereas on sunny days … I recommend you see for yourself.

(PS: The Torres del Paine mountains, by the way, have only formed some 12 million years ago, as opposed to the Andes further west having formed over 60 million years ago – hence “Teenagers of the Andes“.)

The amazing, stark blue edge of the "Grey Glacier" at the foothill of the Torres Mountain Massif. I have never seen this in my life. So close. Ever. I LOVED this boat trip on Lago Grey !! Don't forget to book in advance during high season.

The amazing, stark blue edge of the “Grey Glacier” at the foothill of the Torres Mountain Massif. I have never seen this in my life. So close. Ever. I LOVED this boat trip on Lago Grey !! Don’t forget to book in advance during high season.

 

Guanacos, like this mother and calve, are observed all over Torres del Paine National Park. Very cute! Their only natural enemy is the Puma, hiding somewhere in the hills ...

Guanacos, like this mother and calve, are observed all over Torres del Paine National Park. Very cute! Their only natural enemy is the Puma, hiding somewhere in the hills …

 

Before I start my day, I enjoy a lavish breakfast buffet at Hotel Las Torres with fresh fruit and eggs from their own organic veggie garden. YUM!

Before I start my day, I enjoy a lavish breakfast buffet at Hotel Las Torres with fresh fruit and eggs from their own organic veggie garden. YUM!

 

Horse-riding, Hiking and more Hilarious Stuff

“I really enjoy travelling with locals. Is there something really local I could do in order to interact with the culture of this place?” Bearing this question in mind, the answer in Torres del Paine would be: Una Cabalgata. Meaning … Horse Trekking with Gauchos, the Cowboys of Patagonia! This and many more activities can all be organized with the friendly and efficient staff at Hotel Las Torres. You literally are able to come here and relax in style (they even have a SPA I have yet to use … ). I suggest it’s worth putting money at the side for. And Torres del Paine might very well be the single most beautiful mountain range in the world (take this from someone who calls Austria home and New Zealand, well second home ..).

I LOVE it here!

I haven't gone on a horse in two years ... Yet my excitement (and good luck!) will hopefully keep me from falling off. Yay!

I haven’t gone on a horse in two years … Yet my excitement (and good luck!) will hopefully keep me from falling off. Yay!

 

Next to more horse-riding pictures, I would still like to share this favorite of actual Glacier Gray with you, seeing the full expanse of the ice melting into the lake and creating icebergs the size of houses floating by our boat.

Next to me falling off or sitting on a horse, I would like to share this favorite image of actual Glacier Gray with you, seeing the full expanse of the ice melting into the lake and creating icebergs the size of houses floating by our boat.

 

My "Gaucho" for the day: Our knowledgeable and friendly guide Eduardo, who in addition to all the local commentary provides us with delicious snacks, picknick and great "Cerveza Austral" (Southern Beer). A wonderful day out in Torres del Paine!

My “Gaucho” for the day: Our knowledgeable and friendly guide Eduardo, who in addition to all the local commentary provides us with delicious snacks, picknick and great “Cerveza Austral” (Southern Beer). A wonderful day out in Torres del Paine!

Disclaimer: I have been invited by Hotel Las Torres on this trip to Torres del Paine National Park. All opinions are my own.

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2 comments

Hermann Paschinger 17 February 2013 - 09:44

Schöne, eindrucksvolle Bilder! Muss ein wirklich schönes Land sein …

Reply
Elena 17 February 2013 - 13:55

Es ist in der Tat ein wunderschönes Fleckchen Erde. Ich empfehle jedem, einmal im Leben hierher zu kommen … WOW! 😀

Reply

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