Our final long haul bus ride in South America took us 14 hours west to Mendoza. Mendoza is the wine capital of Argentina, and most people who live and work here support the industry. The area is known for its Malbecs, but we were surprised to find quite a few varieties in this region.
After hiking the W trek we headed to the southernmost destination of our trip to find some penguins. Penguins are my favorite animal and during the worst parts of the hike I actually thought to myself, "Get through this and in a few days we will be surrounded by Penguins!" It was great motivation for me. After arriving into Punta Arenas, we went to the ferry agency to book our tickets for Magdalena Island the next morning and then explored the city. Punta Arenas was a surprisingly large town that is the capital of the southernmost region of Chile. It sits on the Magellan Strait so there is a deep history with exploration of the Antartic region and trading routes. There's a lot of Croatian, Spanish and Italian influence that can be seen on the older buildings, especially the ones surrounding the Plaza De Armas. We walked to the lookout overlooking the colorful city and the strait. On the way we passed a distance sign pole that listed how far we were from different places. We were surprised to see a GA Tech plank!
Puerto Natales, Chile
We went to Puerto Natales to prepare for our nearby trek in Parque National Torres del Paine (TDP). The little city was bigger then we expected, but did not offer much other then shops to assist in your hikes. We went to the Erratic Rock Hostel where a guide gives a free talk every day on what to expect on the trails. It might have made Taylor even more nervous rather than making her feel more prepared. But in retrospect it was extremely helpful. They talked the route, what to eat, and warned of the famous Patagonia weather that would beat you up for the coming days. Afterward, we walked around for 30 minutes searching for a dehydrated food store. I think we passed it three times before we finally saw it. We stocked up on food for our trek and stopped by the bus station to buy tickets to TDP as well as the city transfers we would need for our remaining time in Patagonia. It was a huge relief to have everything booked ahead of time for once.
Chris & Taylor
Read our travel blog as we visit three continents in 2017.