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A dummy’s guide to Patagonia


Last Hope Sound in Peurto Natales, ChilePicture perfect Torres del Pane, PatagoniaThe beautiful Hotel Altiplanico Sur blending into the hill with its grass and soil bricks

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Patagonia
/ pætəˈgoʊniə/
One of the most beautiful regions of the Earth standing tall with vastness and strength. The lakes, mountains, skies all have stories to tell. It is both Chilean and Argentinian, but the land is one of the Earth.

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Someone once said, there is no wifi in nature but the connection is strong. If you are looking for the best signal, Patagonia is the place to be.

I didn’t know much about Patagonia except for the outdoor clothing brand by the same name (an American brand at that). So I didn’t know what to expect other than there is going to be nature.

And indeed there was, and lots of it.

The breathtaking landscape of Patagonia envelops you in its many hues of blue. The clear light blue of the sky, the indigo of the mountain ranges, the sapphire blue of the lakes. The blue is mesmerizing and almost therapeutic.

For outdoor adventurers, the possibilities are limitless in Patagonia – many hikes up snow-capped mountains, treks to glaciers and waterfalls, camp sights sharing habitats with mountain big cats and little creatures, all for the brave hearted.

Or if you are like me, not well endowed for a tough climb up the beautiful and chilly Patagonian mountains, fortunately, Patagonia has something for us as well. 

Torres del Pane

This national park is simply nature with an unassuming road through it. The park is so big that you don’t see many visitors around, giving you all the opportunity to be in uninterrupted awe. It is clear that the mountains, glaciers, waterfalls here are alive. They are ever-changing on a grand scale, though it may not be visible to the human eye. There is so much more to Earth than humans, and you will be reminded of that here in a nice way.

You can do all the trekking and camping here as well as drive through the scenic road, and even stay at a hotel inside the park. But make sure you come with cash – a small entrance fee of around 20 USD for foreigners during low season and 40 USD for high season is accepted in Chilean Pesos only. We were turned back the first time around because we thought we could pay by plastic cards… big mistake, so get some cash in Puerto Natales!

Puerto Natales

The colourful town of Puerto Natales is a great base for discovering Patagonia. An hour or so drive from the Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ), there is good food, access to necessary provisions (and ATMs), and a beautiful lake to top it all off. Since we drove, it was also good to stay somewhere that had a gas station.

We stayed at Hotel Altiplanico Sur, a hotel made entirely out of grass and soil bricks. It blends in very well with the hill the hotel is situated on. Equipped with an outdoor (and very hot) hot tub overlooking Last Hope Sound, you can enjoy a sunset or stargaze for a bit before calling it a day. All the rooms have a beautiful view of Last Hope Sound as well – the scenery is just too beautiful for words.

Bottom line, Patagonia has a lot of undisturbed nature and a sense of vastness that you will not experience in many places on Earth. Patagonia is probably one of the more accessible ones out of the bunch. Give it a try, I am sure you will come home with beautiful memories and something for the heart and soul.

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Top tip: have Chilean pesos and plenty of gas at all times – the lack of ATMs and gas stations paired with vast nature can only bring stress. But at least Chileans are friendly people so they will lend a helpful hand. 

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Hotel Altiplanico Sur

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