What’s at the End of the World – Exploring Patagonia

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There are a few parts of the world that retain their mystery due to their remoteness, and Patagonia is one such example. Located just about as South as you can find yourself in Chile, South America, Patagonia lies on the border of Chile and Argentina and is not easy to reach, but perhaps even more impossible to leave – due to the pristine beauty that lies here.

Arrival to Patagonia is typically by plane, flying 4-5 hours South of Santiago to Punta Arenas. From there you will need to take a further 5 hour journey by land, until you finally arrive in the National Park itself. But the journey doesn’t end there – in fact this is just the start of it.

Patagonia Chile

As far as birthdays go, this year will forever be one of the most memorable. I checked in to Explora Patagonia on the day of my 23rd birthday. My arrival should have been the day prior, however weather conditions forced an emergency landing elsewhere in Chile, a new flight heading back North, and a flight to Punta Arenas the following day, followed by the car journey on the day of my birthday. I knew it would be a birthday to remember, and indeed there was a cake and candles, but I truly had no idea how unforgettable my trip would be when things really kicked off the following day.

A Frenchman, our two Chilean guides and myself assembled in the lobby at 8:30am to start our full day hike. Typically guests at Explora will begin with a half day itinerary to ease into things, but given our trip was cut short we were eager to hit the trails straight away. We stocked up with some snacks for energy – chocolates, nuts, dry fruit and fresh glacial water. The kitchen staff had also prepared sandwiches for each individual to carry in their day packs, and the guides had extra sandwich fillers in their day packs, as well as a tasty desert (my weakness).

We drove to the base of our trail just 15 minutes from the hotel and began our 14km round trip hike for a spectacular panoramic view of the Torres del Paine and surrounds. The first hour was a very steep incline and for at least the second half of it I was sure that this trail would be the death of me. We were going at quite a good pace considering we were all fit, young and able… but I later found out that this trail was considered one of the hardest available in the park, particularly the first hour on the steep incline. No wonder it was so painful!

But of course – no pain, no gain. And the reward at the end of the day was certainly worth the tiring first hour that tested my endurance!

Patagonia Chile Patagonia Chile Patagonia Chile Patagonia Chile

Once at the top of the mountain we began our track that circled through the forest and offered some of the best views from afar of the Torres del Paine. For much of the hike we were walking into clouds or above them, however as the day carried on the clouds began to shift with a light wind. By the time we reached the highest point of the trail the Torres del Paine was perfectly visible, thus making for a perfect lunch pit stop shortly after noon.

Our guides – Ben & Trini began to set the ‘table’ – quite the novelty given our muddy trek to get here. To warm up we sipped on some lentil soup and I bagen to fill my three vegetarian sandwiches with loads of avocado, tomato, lettuce, mushrooms and seasoning. Afterwards we enjoyed some desert and tea, before continuing our trek to another view point.

Coming down was of course much easier than going up, however with such a steep slope now completely exposed (previously covered by clouds) it was quite frightening to look down!

After we reached the base, we walked a further 20-30 minutes to the horse stables so we could spend the late afternoon trail riding around the mountains. This was just as much a highlight as the trek itself. The stables were impressive beyond words, with some of the best trained horses and riders you could find in the country. I was also pretty chuffed to be riding Soldado (Spanish for Soldier), as he was the most eager of the bunch and wouldn’t settle for being anywhere but at the front of the group. He and I were on the same wavelength.

It is perhaps close to impossible to put this day into words that would do justice to the type of experience I had just encountered. Needless to say, this will forever be one of the most memorable experiences I have had the world over and I couldn’t be more impressed by the way Explora have captured the Art of Travel.

 

Patagonia Chile

World of Wanderlust was welcomed to Explora as a guest, however my opinion is always my own.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

September 16, 2014

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30 Comments

  1. litonkrl@gmail.com'

    Clipping Path Outsource

    September 22, 2014

    Wow PATAGONIA is so beautiful. I don’t think before.
    Thank you Brokee

  2. taylorheartstravel@gmail.com'

    Taylor Hearts Travel

    September 15, 2014

    This looks and sounds amazing! I really hope you post some more photos – would love to see more. I thought the Inca Trail was hard, but you’re right – no pain, no gain.

  3. NonstopfromJFK@gmail.com'

    Kate @ Nonstop from JFK

    September 14, 2014

    14 km! That’s awesome that you were able to do that. Patagonia is amazingly gorgeous and it is definitely on my list of places to go. It sucks that it’s so remote, but that’s part of the reason it retains its pristine beauty.

    Your pictures are gorgeous 🙂

  4. alissaloxton@hotmail.com'

    Alissa

    September 14, 2014

    Ahhh so beautiful! I can’t wait to be there in just a few months!

    —————————————————————–
    21 year old traveller with a thirst for adventure
    http://globeetrotter.blogspot.co.nz/

  5. Peterdcarlson82@gmail.com'

    Peter Carlson

    September 14, 2014

    What a great birthday. I love inspiring adventure stories.

    http://wonderlustdiaries.wordpress.com

  6. Peterdcarlson82@gmail.com'

    Peter Carlson

    September 14, 2014

    Fantastic photos and story.

  7. Michelle@traveljunkiediary.com'

    Travel Junkie Diary

    September 14, 2014

    It’s on my bucket list! Looks gorgeous! Stay safe! X

  8. africanahgirl@gmail.com'

    Caroline Achieng Otieno

    September 13, 2014

    Looks stunning! Hiking is always great exercise…is a reminder that I should get back to it!
    I’ve nominated you for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award: http://africanahgirl.com/2014/09/13/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  9. juliette.charpentier31@gmail.com'

    Juliette

    September 13, 2014

    This counntry is the evasion’s one ! Those wide landscapes are just beautiful and magic !

    http://catchthewildsoul.blogspot.fr/

  10. nancydavolio6@gmail.com'

    Best holiday destinations

    September 13, 2014

    An amazing place with such natural delights. I will surely plan my upcoming vacation to this place. thanks for posting nice views.

  11. efpinnocenzi78@hotmail.com'

    Ellen Faith

    September 13, 2014

    That is beautiful. I love that you’re going to remote places like this because I truly want to see everything the world has to offer–not just the generic things. Amazing photos. Definitely something I am now planning on doing

    Elleosophy

  12. janina_365@hotmail.com'

    Janina

    September 13, 2014

    this place seriously looks photoshopped. like wow! I definitely need to see this place for myself 🙂
    XO Janina
    http://janinafran.blogspot.ca

  13. hannaheugenie@gmail.com'

    Hannah Tookey

    September 13, 2014

    These photos are stunning! What a trip – it sounds absolutely incredible. Definitely on my list now 🙂

  14. marieking32@gmail.com'

    Marie King

    September 13, 2014

    Patagonia is my dream adventure and your photos absolutely made me swoon. It is such a unique and wild place.

    http://www.marieaway.com

  15. mandydacandy@gmail.com'

    Mandy

    September 13, 2014

    That first (and last) photo. Absolutely stunning.

  16. nomadnotebook@gmail.com'

    Lizzy

    September 13, 2014

    Beautiful photos! I always feel a little challenged at the beginning of difficult hikes, but the end feeling is so worth it!

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

  17. tayrosefields@gmail.com'

    Taylor

    September 13, 2014

    This looks and sounds like an absolutely amazing experience. I’m FOR SURE going to do it when I go to Argentina next year!

    Can’t wait to see where you go next 🙂

    http://www.callawayrose.com

  18. bohochiccafe@gmail.com'

    Sarah

    September 13, 2014

    I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Patagonia, but my sister did and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things! Definitely on my bucket list!

    http://www.bohochiccafe.com

  19. endlesslyexploring@gmail.com'

    Kelly

    September 13, 2014

    Wow, that view looks amazing Brooke! Glad you had a fantastic and unforgettable birthday!! Wish I could’ve squeezed in a visit to Patagonia on my current trip! Enjoy the rest of your South America travels! x

  20. gina-rowland@hotmail.com'

    gina

    September 13, 2014

    wow sounds pretty amazing, love the pics
    http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/sailing-from-bodrum.html

  21. Madelinefedmont@yahoo.con'

    Madeline

    September 13, 2014

    So beautiful 🙂

    http://www.madelinefedmont.com

  22. carianwientjens@hotmail.com'

    Carian

    September 13, 2014

    Wow.. The pictures with the mountains and the lake, just wow! It’s incredibly beautiful! I can absolutely imagine that this is one of the most memorable experiences you had. Lucky you!

    X Carian
    http://www.simplychicls.blogspot.com

  23. olganikolskaya@live.co.uk'

    Olga

    September 13, 2014

    I am rather jealous, Brooke! Hiking and horse riding are some of my favourite things… I would love to explore Patagonia with Explora, sounds like absolutely my cup of tea!

    http://wideseanoanchor.com/

    PS drop me an email if you are staying for a while in London, would be amazing to meet a fellow travel blogger :))))

  24. othersomewhere@gmail.com'

    OS

    September 12, 2014

    Looks utterly utterly beautiful. Definitely an experience to cherish x

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