Winter in Oregon equals the perfect time for a visit to the Southern Hemisphere. Jason’s company is expanding into Chile, so I decided to tag along on his business trip to Santiago. We added a few extra days to head further south to Torres del Paine, Patagonia.
While we didn’t have time for much exploring in Santiago itself, you can see it’s a modern city with a lot to do. Jason and his teammate Josemaria made some great progress for the Link expansion and the weather was lovely, so I was happy. Josemaria was the best host and also made sure to treat us to some of Santiago’s delicious food!
A highlight of the trip for me was a visit to the Casablanca Valley for lunch and wine tasting. Josemaria booked us at Casa del Bosque which had a beautiful tasting menu with wine pairing. The Syrah was my favorite!
With business activities concluded, we left the warmth of Santiago and flew to Puerto Natales, which felt like the edge of the globe. Greeted by winds and rain, we got in our rental car and headed for the local grocery for snacks. There are no stores or fuel outside of Puerto Natales, so we needed to stock up. Then it was the open road in Patagonia! Which as it turns out, was slow going due to gravel roads littered with pot holes.
After a 1.5 hour scenic but road-rally-style drive, we arrived at Rio Serrano which borders Torres del Paine National Park. Our hotel sat in a picturesque valley laced by the river. It had a view of the Cordillera del Paine mountains and horses grazing right outside our window.
The next morning was cloudy, but we set off for our first full day in the Torres del Paine. Starting our hike to Salto Grande waterfall and Cuernos Lookout, we knew we were in for real Patagonian weather! There was signage indicating the wind strength and luckily we were only in yellow because I’m not sure one could even walk in red. I had planned for us to hike Mirador las Torres (13 miles) but based on what we encountered here, I’m glad we opted out. The rain started on our return to the car and we were soaked through by the time we arrived!
Despite the elements, the scenery was amazing, and a fun surprise was to meet a herd of guanacos on the trail!
The next day, we decided to hike up to the Condor’s Viewpoint. It was a steep climb, but once at the top the views were magnificent. Torres del Paine is definitely not short of break-taking beauty!
On our high perch, we watched the weather change and clouds pass over the mountains. The wind picked up and suddenly two Andean condors were soaring in the sky. It was amazing to watch these majestic creatures, which are the largest flying bird in South America and bird of prey in the world. They are so heavy they rely on air currents to fly and save energy. By doing this, a condor may need to flap its wings only once every hour. I didn’t get great photos of them as the wind was whipping something fierce!
A Torres del Paine timelapse 🙂
We very much enjoyed our short time in Chilean Patagonia and Santiago. The next time Jason returns on business, I may accompany him so I can explore more of Chile. I just need to brush up on my Spanish!
Very scenic and beautiful. Looks like you had a great time.
Thanks again, for capturing another wonderful experience. This was a quick, but wonderful trip, and yes, we will be headed back down to Chile for another opportunity to explore. Oh, love the addition of the video’s.