Saturday, February 27, 2010


After finishing up a fantastic few days in Bariloche we headed off across the Chilean border and to the coast. Our destination was Chiloe, a quaint island off the coast of Chile that feels far less modern and far more enchanting than the mainland. Chiloe only has a few large towns and is mostly covered by farmlands and parks on the interior and small fishing villages lining the coast.

After taking a bus and ferry to reach the island we headed to meet up with my friend Daniel from college was staying nearby with his siblings and we wanted to go to the national park together to do some hiking. Our plans were interupted however when an enormous earthquake hit central Chile around 4:30am. We were over 600km from the epicenter but the quake was strong enough to wake me up. The next day I forgot about the earthquake and it took a few hours for me to realize that the reason why the power was out was due to the quake. Chiloe was unaffected by the earthquake besides the power outage however much of central Chile suffered major damage.

Ducks being sold at a Ferria

The day after the eaerthquake, despite fears of a tsunami we went to the pacific coast to enjoy the beach.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A few hours north of El Bolson is Bariloche, a heavily touristed city touting superb hiking, fishing, lakes, and chocolate. In Bariloche I biked the circuito chico and hiked to Cerro Otto for a great view of Lago Nahuel Huapi. Bariloche has plenty of adventure and hiking and is worth a visit if you have the time and can stand the hoards of tourists during high season. It really is beautiful no matter the season.

The Cerro Campanario overlook was said to be one of the seven greatest views in the world by National Geographic Magazine. The photo above was taken at the overlook.

This is the view from our hostel balcony overlooking Bariloche and the lake.

In Bariloche we went fly fishing on the Rio Limay with Gia and Jon. We had great weather and fun guides. The trip was expensive but included two boats, all the proper equipment, and two guides.

Alexi with one of his prize catches.

Showing off the technique.

We were served lunch on a river bank including a few whole chickens, salami, cheese, wine, and beer.

I only caught a very small Rainbow Trout but had an amazing time. A few months later around March and April anglers fly down from all over the world to fish in the Rio Limay and surrounding lakes. I think I could easily get hooked on fly fishing in the future.

The fly fishing crew (Alexi, Gia, Eduardo, Sebastian, Jon, Carlito)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

El Bolson

After a 26 hour bus ride from El Chalten I reached El Bolson. El Bolson is situated between northern Patagonia and the Lakes District and is home to a chilled out hippie vibe that is infectous. El Bolson produces 90% of the hops in Argentina and just about every restaurant and hostel seems to brew their own delicious artesanal beer, including my own hostel, El Pueblito. I would highly recommend both El Bolson and El Pueblito to anyone travelling in Patagonia. El Bolson from above...

El Bolson, situated in a fertile valley has a few really good hikes in the surrounding mountains. We did two hikes, one to Cajon Azul, where we stopped at an awesome wood cabin Refugio and drank free "mate".

The second hike was to Mt. Piltriquitron which overlooked the town of El Bolson.

Bosque Tallado, where artists have carved a forest of sculptures.

After walking around in the sculpture forest we headed up Mt. Piltriquitron with some friends from El Pueblito. The climb was steep and full of loose rocks.

The exhausted crew at the summit of Mount Piltriquitron after an arduous 1100m climb.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

El Chalten

El Chalten (population 1800) is a wonderful little town located within National Park boundaries in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. El Chalten boasts one ATM (that runs out of money every weekend), two main streets, and one fantastic mountain range, the Fitz Roys. From the town of El Chalten all of the major trailheads are accessible by foot, making it very convenient to hike for 6-8 hours a day and then return to your hostel for a quick shower and proper meal.

The entire town to El Chalten.

The first day we hiked to Laguna Torre which sits below the towering pinnacle of Cerro Torre(3128m). The hike was aa gorgeous with views of Cerro Torre for nearly the entirety of the 3-4 hour hike to the summit.

Some weird Lord of the Rings type moment on the hike to Laguna Torre.

The summit at Laguna Torre.

Looking down into a valley adjacent to El Chalten on the hike home.

On Day two Alexi and Nick were feeling under the weather so I hiked Laguna de los Tres on my own. It was the easily the best hike I have had in South America. The hike takes your past glacialy fed streams that you can drink straight from and up a step one hour final ascent to the summit of Laguna de los Tres.

On my way to the summit.

The view from Laguna de los Tres was spectacular and warranted a nearly 2 hour break to admire the view and soak in the perfect weather.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Perito Moreno Glacier and El Calafate

After staying the night in El Calafate , I took a three hour bus to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciers, home to the Perito Moreno Glacier. The glacier stands 60m above Lago Argentino. The face of the glacier is 5km across and 30km deep.

Perito Moreno Glacier.

After a great deal a patience and luck the sound of ice creaking and moaning led to a large chunk of the glacier to fall right in front of us.

As mentioned above the town of El Calafate is the departure point to reach Perito Moreno. The main draw of El Calafate is the glacier itself however the town does have great chocolate and amazing ice cream. My favorite was the Calafate berry icecream.

The town of El Calafate was named after the berry that shares its name, shown above.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Torres Del Paine

Torres Del Paine, Chile, the jaw-dropping Unesco World Biosphere Reserve is an amazing National Park visited by 200,000 visitors a year. The granite peaks that make TDP famous reach an altitude of over 3000m. We decided to hike the "W", a popular four to five day trek in TDP.

The park was really busy and the campsites were crowded. And not everyone was even camping. The park allows private companies to establish "Refugios" which are basically hostels within the park. Campers who use Refugios get warm showers and cooked meals, however, they pay outrageous prices for such luxuries. Campers who opt to sleep in tents get to feel high and mighty because they know that other hikers are staying in the Refugios while they are toughing it out.

View from the boat ride into Torres Del Paine.

On Sunday the Super Bowl was happening back in the States. Nick was pretty keen on watching it live so we made sure that we were camping at the only Refugio with a bar and TV. A few hours before sunset this was the view from our campsite.

A festive welcome to the camp at the base of Valley Frances.

A view of surrounding walls in Valley Frances. We stood around for a bit and watched ice fall into the deep ravine below.

A view of the Torres from Valley Frances. This was the only clear view we got of the Torres because the weather during the rest of the hike was crap.

On our fifth and final morning in the park we woke up at 4am and hiked in the snow for one hour to reach the summit.

Just behind me is where the Torres should be.

Back in Puerto Natales we took a full day to recover from backpacking after the hike. Here is a statue of the Giant Mylodon that was discovered near Puerto Natales. The Mylodon was a huge sloth that ate vegetation.

Monday, February 1, 2010


A short plane flight from Buenos Aires took me to an armpit of a town known as Rio Gallegos. From Rio Gallegos I crossed by bus from Argentina into Chile and back into Argentina en route to Tierra Del Fuego. The final destination was Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

Ushuaia is famous for penguins, Antarctic cruises, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, and the Beagle Channel, named after Charles Darwin´s famous ship.

Cormorrants and Sea Lions lounging in the channel.

The lighthouse warning ships of the dangerous passage through the Beagle Channel

We went on a day hike in Tierra Del Fuego National Park. Tierra Del Fuego is known for its unpredicatable weather, during our hike the weather changed from warm and pleasant to windy and cold.

A huge and delicious 5 dollar sandwich that fed me for two meals in Ushuaia.