PN Torres del Paine, Chile

The Most Dramatic Patagonia

Torres del Paine I
A dirt road leads to one of the lakes surrounding the Torres del Paine.
A guanaco surveys the steppe around a high point on the slope.
a blue gray
Sculpture of the front of the Gray Glacier, an arm of the great Ice Field of Southern Patagonia.
Torres del Paine I
One of the many possible angles to the geological fulcrum of Torres del Paine National Park.
ice in the bucket
Crew members pass ice collected from Lake Gray onto the deck of the boat while sailing in front of the Gray Glacier.
southern cold
Mist surrounds the semi-snowy peaks of the Paine range.
frigid intimacy
Boat captain inside his cabin and passenger admire the Gray Glacier a short distance away.
Max. 6 Person
Suspension bridge over the Gray River, at the exit of the homonymous lake.
majestic views
Passengers on one of the boats that navigate Lake Gray to the front of the Glacier with the same name admire the surrounding scenery.
self coziness
Fox slumbers and tries to keep warm after one of the frequent rains in the Paine range.
Thaw green
The green water of Lake Nordenskjöld, one of several in Torres del Paine National Park.
A Piece of Cold
Small iceberg loose from the Great Gray Glacier.
sloth's cave
In 1890, Hermann Eberhard discovered in the Cueva del Milodón traces of a gigantic prehistoric sloth, which could have reached up to 4 meters in height.
Pampa sheep
A herd of sheep fills a huge patch of pampas as far as the Patagonia goes, around Torres del Paine National Park.
A blue gray II
The front of the vast Gray Glacier appears behind a slab of the Paine Mountains.
Nowhere is the southernmost reaches of South America so breathtaking as the Paine Mountains. There, a natural fort of granite colossi surrounded by lakes and glaciers protrudes from the pampa and submits to the whims of meteorology and light.

Punta Arenas is the capital of the 12th region of Chile, that of Magallanes y Antárctica Chilena.

It is located around the strait that made it possible for the Portuguese explorer to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, for the time being, still almost 200 km to the south.

In the small Israeli cybercafé in Puerto Natales, there were too many contemporary travelers clinging to old computers.

Internet browsing could be compared to those days – sometimes weeks – desperate for the captains and crews of vessels where not a single breeze blew.

The sterile discussions with Moshe, the non-patient owner of the establishment followed one another.

We were no longer surprised by that diaspora of young Jews, also there, in the depths of the Earth. Once dependent on wool, meat and fish exports, Puerto Natales benefited from the growing popularity of the nearby Torres del Paine National Park and became its gateway.

Even more so when the state company NAVIMAG started to admit foreign travelers on board and, in addition to the traditional ways of arriving, these started to arrive from the north, by sea, from Puerto Eden.

The Israelis are known for settling in inexpensive places and they know, in advance, that they are or will soon be part of the unavoidable itineraries of their compatriots.

As far as the Torres del Paine was concerned, it wasn't just teenage Hebrews who worshiped them. It was the universe of adventurers and curious around the world.

Accordingly, we hurriedly dispatch the missing logistical arrangements. Soon, we left the riverside town attracted by the magnetism of the most photogenic and majestic mountains in Patagonia.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Southern Cold

Mist surrounds the semi-snowy peaks of the Paine range.

Discover Torres del Paine National Park

The first road approach to that granite domain began by underlining its insignificance, as the carripan climbed, with great effort, the unprotected dirt slopes from any possible falls along long cliffs.

Further on, we crossed the goal from Laguna Amarga and the Kusanovik Bridge.

Once installed and on foot, we move to the main circular trail that skirts the main peaks and the small glaciers sheltered between them. Exposed to the elements, we felt the swift westerly wind, even sharper on our faces, due to the near-freezing temperature.

Walking it in its entirety can take from seven to nine days intermediated with rest in camps or refuges and, as we have witnessed, subject to capricious and sometimes inclement weather that can mean the four seasons in one afternoon, as well as two days of rain or almost unbroken snow.

This is a mild punishment if we consider the beauty of the scenery. The Torres del Paine (Monzino, Central and D'Agostini) are the center of everything. They rise almost vertically at approximately 2800 meters above the Patagonian steppe, each with its own altitude.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile

A dirt road leads to one of the lakes surrounding the Torres del Paine.

Paine Grande reaches 3050 meters and the peaks of Los Cuernos 2200 to 2600 meters.

Under a cloudy sky, they are somewhat grayish, but when the twilight falls on them, it dyes them and the rest of the mountain in warm tones that soothe the soul of anyone who admires them.

Although, today, Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most visited in Chile and an essential stop on adventurous itineraries in Patagonia or South America, for a long time it remained completely anonymous.

The Pre-Colonial Exclusivity of the Alacalufes, Onas and Tehuelches Indigenous

Until the arrival of the first European settlers, the natives Alacalufes, Onas and Tehuelches they lived on what they hunted, fished and gathered from nature. Not even the settlers who nearly exterminated them were able to overcome the harsh climate and soil that made any kind of agricultural attempt impossible.

Livestock was a different case.

The current area of ​​the park was part of one of the many sheep farms that occupied those parts of Patagonia.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Herd in the Pampa

A herd of sheep fills a huge patch of pampas as far as the Patagonia goes, around Torres del Paine National Park.

Almost only the settlers and some natives had had the unconscious privilege of admiring Paine and its unique panoramas.

The name of the place had, in fact, been given by a group of the last ones, the Tehuelches that the men of Fernão Magalhães called Patacões or Patacones, inspired by the predominant blue hue of its icy lakes.

The isolation was not absolute. Over time, some visitors arrived.

Lady Florence Dixie, a British Pioneer from Torres del Paine

Lady Florence Dixie, British traveller, writer, war correspondent and feminist, stood out in a group believed to have been one of the area's first tourists and, in her 1880 book, christened Paine's three towers “Cleopatra's Needles” .

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile Torres del Paine I

One of the many possible angles to the geological fulcrum of Torres del Paine National Park.

In the immediate decades, several European scientists and explorers followed until, in 1959, the national park was first established as the Lago Gray National Tourism National Park, and in 1970, under its current name.

Eight years later, UNESCO named it the World Biosphere Reserve. The fame of the place reached new proportions. Today, 150.000 visitors per year exploit it. 60% are foreigners.

We walk around the base of the Sur tower when we spot a flock of guanacos watching for the intrusion of unexpected creatures into their vast territory.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Guanaco

A guanaco surveys the steppe around a high point on the slope.

With their keen eyesight, the camelids quickly felt the relief that they were humans and not the cougars that prey on them with great voracity, like sheep and stray foals.

Guanacos and pumas coexist in Torres del Paine with llamas, rheas, flamingos, condors and many other animal species, some of which are endemic.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, fox

Fox slumbers and tries to keep warm after one of the frequent rains in the Paine range.

As we walk, we notice the frigid richness of the ecosystem that welcomes them, made up of steppe, coniferous forests, rivers, lakes and glaciers.

Grey: the Blue King of the Torres del Paine Glaciers

Some of fans of the park – as the South Americans of the neighborhood prefer to call glaciers due to their tendency to channel the wind – are small and very hidden among the rocky peaks.

This is the case of Serrano.

Others are arms of the gigantic ice field in Southern Patagonia (where Argentina and Chile continue to debate their borders) and have dimensions to match.

Gray is one of these. At that time, its front remained accessible by boat across the lake of the same name.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Lago Gray

The green water of Lake Nordenskjöld, one of several in Torres del Paine National Park.

We took advantage of the benefit. We didn't take long to approach him.

Pitch-black clouds cover the Quebrada de los Vientos and disperse over the increasingly agitated waters. Even so, we have a shipping order.

Shortly after we set sail, the Gray seems to grow and stir under the storm that is unfolding but which we can only enjoy, almost as if from the inside of a washing machine tub, protected by the boat's reinforced glass.

The flood ends in three stages. Halfway to the front of the glacier, the rain stops. To the delight of passengers, the sky clears. We immediately climbed onto the increasingly disputed deck.

The Majestic Front of the Gray Glacier

At a glance, we have the inaugural view of the seven kilometers across the glacier, still distant but already impressive, nestled between the cliffs of the Paine mountain range.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Glacier Gray

The front of the vast Gray Glacier appears behind a slab of the Paine Mountains.

The commander gets as close as he can to the ice, in slow motion.

Gradually, we see the blueness and overwhelming dimension of that incredible phenomenon intensify and the temperature drop to minus degrees of rapid freezing.

"Now let's have absolute silence, friends, please."

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, in front of Gray Glacier

Boat captain inside his cabin and passenger admire the Gray Glacier a short distance away.

The crew moves us back to a safe distance.

It asks passengers to stop whispering so that we could hear the crackle of the glacier and watch the crash of the next landslide.

The collapse takes time and disappoints. They decide to move on to the next issue. two of them come out in a small zodiac and capture tiny shards of ice from the lake.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Pure Ice

Crew members pass ice collected from Lake Gray onto the deck of the boat while sailing in front of the Gray Glacier.

On the way back to the main boat, they inaugurate a lecture about the millenary frozen waters that we had witnessed, similarly, in other glaciers and to which we did not pay proper attention.

Shortly thereafter, the return journey began.

The storm resumed its act.

With Bruce Chatwin “In Patagonia” from Torres del Paine

More than not resisting the call of this raw and powerful nature of the end of the world, some characters responded and eternalized it with the best of their art.

One of the most associated with Patagonia and these parts of Magallanes was the English writer Bruce Chatwin.

In the service of the Sunday Times Magazine, Chatwin traveled in the context of frequent international reporting. In 1972, he interviewed 93-year-old architect and designer Eileen Gray at her Paris salon.

Among the decoration of the room, a map of Patagonia that the interviewee had painted caught Chatwin's attention. "I always wanted to go there." Chatwin told him. To which Gray replied, “Me too. Go there for me.”

Two years later, Chatwin was. It flew to Lima and reached Patagonia a month later.

He explored the region for a few months and gathered stories and anecdotes allegedly from people who had settled there who had arrived from other parts.

Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile, Majestic views

Passengers on one of the boats that navigate Lake Gray to the front of the Glacier with the same name admire the surrounding scenery.

In 1977, he published “Na Patagonia”, a narrative around his demand for a piece of brontosaurus that had been thrown out of his grandparents' office years before.

The work made Chatwin one of the most highly regarded post-war British writers.

However, little by little, the residents of the narrated areas were denying most of the characters and conversations described by Chatwin, which turned his work into fiction.

Bruce Chatwin died of AIDS in 1989. “In Patagonia” continued to inspire thousands of adventurers to explore the region.

The book has been a good ally of the images of the Torres del Paine National Park, which has gone global in the meantime.

El Chalten, Argentina

The Granite Appeal of Patagonia

Two stone mountains have created a border dispute between Argentina and Chile. But these countries are not the only suitors. The Fitz Roy and Torre hills have long attracted die-hard climbers
Pucón, Chile

Among the Araucarias of La Araucania

At a certain latitude in longline Chile, we enter La Araucanía. This is a rugged Chile, full of volcanoes, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and the coniferous forests from which the region's name grew. And it is the heart of the pine nuts of the largest indigenous ethnic group in the country: the Mapuche.
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Rapa Nui - Easter Island, Chile

Under the Moais Watchful Eye

Rapa Nui was discovered by Europeans on Easter Day 1722. But if the Christian name Easter Island makes sense, the civilization that colonized it by observant moais remains shrouded in mystery.
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
El Tatio, Chile

El Tatio Geysers - Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

São Pedro de Atacama: an Adobe Life in the Most Arid of Deserts

The Spanish conquerors had departed and the convoy diverted the cattle and nitrate caravans. San Pedro regained peace but a horde of outsiders discovering South America invaded the pueblo.
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
Puerto Natales-Puerto Montt, Chile

Cruise on board a Freighter

After a long begging of backpackers, the Chilean company NAVIMAG decided to admit them on board. Since then, many travelers have explored the Patagonian canals, side by side with containers and livestock.
Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Ascent to the Villarrica Volcano Crater, in Full Activity

Pucón abuses nature's trust and thrives at the foot of the Villarrica mountain. We follow this bad example along icy trails and conquer the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in South America.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Architecture & Design
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Dragon Dance, Moon Festival, Chinatown-San Francisco-United States of America
Ceremonies and Festivities
San Francisco, USA

with the head on the moon

September comes and Chinese people around the world celebrate harvests, abundance and unity. San Francisco's enormous Sino-Community gives itself body and soul to California's biggest Moon Festival.
good buddhist advice
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
China's occupation of Tibet, Roof of the World, The occupying forces
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Princess Yasawa Cruise, Maldives

Cruise the Maldives, among Islands and Atolls

Brought from Fiji to sail in the Maldives, Princess Yasawa has adapted well to new seas. As a rule, a day or two of itinerary is enough for the genuineness and delight of life on board to surface.
Native Americans Parade, Pow Pow, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Albuquerque, USA

When the Drums Sound, the Indians Resist

With more than 500 tribes present, the pow wow "Gathering of the Nations" celebrates the sacred remnants of Native American cultures. But it also reveals the damage inflicted by colonizing civilization.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Rabat, Malta, Mdina, Palazzo Xara
Rabat, Malta

A Former Suburb in the Heart of Malta

If Mdina became the noble capital of the island, the Knights Hospitaller decided to sacrifice the fortification of present-day Rabat. The city outside the walls expanded. It survives as a popular and rural counterpoint to the now living museum in Mdina.
Buffaloes, Marajo Island, Brazil, Soure police buffaloes
Marajó Island, Brazil

The Buffalo Island

A vessel that transported buffaloes from the India it will have sunk at the mouth of the Amazon River. Today, the island of Marajó that hosted them has one of the largest herds in the world and Brazil is no longer without these bovine animals.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Agua Grande Platform, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina
Iguazu/Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina

The Great Water Thunder

After a long tropical journey, the Iguaçu River gives a dip for diving. There, on the border between Brazil and Argentina, form the largest and most impressive waterfalls on the face of the Earth.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
UNESCO World Heritage

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, View from the top
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

It's not just Praia da California and Praia do Ouro that close it to the south. Sheltered from the furies of the West Atlantic, gifted with other immaculate coves and endowed with centuries-old fortifications, Sesimbra is today a precious fishing and bathing haven.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Riders cross the Ponte do Carmo, Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Polis in the South American Pyrenees

Mines of Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Meia Ponte were erected by Portuguese pioneers, in the peak of the Gold Cycle. Out of nostalgia, probably Catalan emigrants called the mountains around the Pyrenees. In 1890, already in an era of independence and countless Hellenizations of its cities, Brazilians named this colonial city Pirenópolis.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.