After completing a work adventure in Antarctica, I found myself in the world’s southernmost town of Ushuaia. My buddy Jesper was not hard to convince to come over to Argentina for an epic 4000 km road & boat trip through Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Patagonian fjords in Chile, and along the Pan-American Highway to Santiago.
Of course, there needed some hiking to be involved here to call it a true adventure. Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, with its lush forests, lakes, and snow-capped mountains is just a short drive away from Ushuaia, as is the somewhat steep glacier Martial hike.
It is very difficult to organize a cross-border car rental, especially when you start at the End of the World. So we took the bus from Ushuaia in Argentina, via Punta Arenas in Chile to Puerto Natales. From here, we could drive to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, for three beautiful hikes to Grey Lake, Francés Valley, and of course the Torres del Paine themselves. These tower peaks, with a central band of exposed granite, contrasting with their darker tops, consisting of sedimentary remnants, were an impressive sight, especially at sunset.
The fjord cruise from Puerto Natales via the truly remote settlement of Edén to Puerto Montt, through Chilean Patagonia, took several days. Well, it is pretty much joining a freight carrier and you must accept a low standard of accommodation, food, and service. It is an adventure, but had I known about the animal welfare onboard, I would not have booked this trip. The Patagonian fjords are very, very similar to the Norwegian fjords, be it with slightly more tropical vegetation. We also saw some wildlife: albatrosses, condors, dolphins, seals, and whales.
The road trip up to Santiago led us past German towns, inland volcanos, and beaches along the Pacific coast. It became clear that we had too little time in this long-stretched country, offering a wide variety of landscapes and hiking opportunities. In Santiago, I made a promise to return to Chile within a year.