Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Chile, Argentina – overview
Enjoyed immensely – marvellous scenery, a painters paradise!
Jeep and Tent. Began in Punta Arenas, went to Uschuia – near cape horn in Tierra del Fuego-wrote off the jeep in multiple roll-over, eventually north to Valparaiso, criss-crossing border many times. And with many great experiences along the way. A glance at the paintings gives an idea of the diversity and opportunities experienced.
This was an incredible trip. The following are some of our experiences going south to north. People very friendly and helpful and each town had a friendly and helpful tourist office.
Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego
To get there required a ferry and long drive from Punta Arenas, crossing to Argentina – but well worth it!
This town, near to the Antarctic, a bit like a frontier town, many interesting days painting here. In the early day it was really brass monkey. It was really interesting to visit Cape Horn and imagine how it was for the many sailing ships who had to risk this passage with all its challenges. Mind you, the visit to the “Irish Bar” was a comparable risk. Many interesting things in the vicinity incl. the “magic” Penguins.
This was our kick off town following 30+ hrs travelling. Used few days to water and feed and get our plan together. This, principal town of the Magallanes the harsh southern Chilean province. This town was the port of call for all shipping around Cape Horn, prior to the Panama Canal also a centre for the sheep industry. A bit like stepping back in time to that golden era, whose monuments and buildings abound. A friendly place with lots of cafes, bars, museums and shops of all types and sizes for stocking up.
A lucky escape!
Yeah, could definfely have been a lot worse. We were on way north from Uscuaia we had driven 10 hrs (we always drive 1hr turn about) incl ferry. We were in the middle of nowhere on road with a lot of loose gravel. We came around a corner, pile of gravel, lost control, across road, hit bank and multiple roll overs. It was a strange feeling hanging upside down, enging running, petrol leaking. Managed to release and crawl out and turn off engine.
Sat on side of road, chin in hands, looking at the wreck (it was a write off!) and all our stuff strewn about. Eventually-3hrs- 3 men came along in a timber truck. No communications, but a lot of sympathy. They called police, 5 of whom eventually arrived, loaded up our stuff and took us to local remote cop shop. There they gave us coffee and recently baked (a sight to see) bread rolls and cheese-never tasted so good!!
We made contact with rental agency back in Punta Arenas (we had come full circle from south) .Eventually ,after dark, a rescue truck came along ,with wreck on board to take us back. To our consternation ,driver had partner in cab so only room for Miriam. So I had to get into wreck on back of truck. Now it had no windows, it was after dark, very windy and really freezing! I ended up using cardboard, etc., to insulate and try to keep some heat in. 4 Hours later (after countin` the minutes!) arrived Punta Arenas, almost had to be lifted from truck. Agency had booked hotel. It was now very late and bar was closed – a real emergency. Bar was reopened!
24 hrs R+r and off again!
Torres Del Paine National Park
This was a real highlight of the trip-rugged mountains, glaciers, turquoise lakes and wilderness. Altogether a great place to stay and paint. Even tho` summer, days were short. The peaks were really dramatic in the rising and setting sun. One thing was, as with Tierra Del Fuego, it was very windy. Extreme was that one morning we awoke 30 metres from where we turned in.
Pampas and Gauchos!
Having recrossed in Argentina we saw lots of both all the way north. It was interesting to see this traditional way of farming and the skills of horsemen and horses and dogs.
This phenomenal Argentinian glacier – Perito Moreno, a drive from the town of El Calafate. It is massive in scale but is unusual in that, unlike most glaciers it is going through ongoing self regeneration.
It took some patience for this mighty Andean peak to reveal itself but it was worth the wait. This truly iconic peak with its many shapes was a sight to behold. The stay in the fairly laid back village also memorable.
The next region in Chile-only accessible from Argentina (heading north), via lago Buenos Aires -and then along the Carretera Austral -a challenging Highway!.Lots of diff towns to visit
Cohaique – a central medium sized town in this region.
Puyuhuapi – German feel to this small friendly town with its magnificent lake. Reached by ferry after near miss with collapsed road.
This town with its colorful, stilted buildings is on the Isle of Chiloe accessed by ferry.
More accurately a land of lakes and volcanoes and interesting towns and villages. A total change from Aisén – giant lakes, waterfalls, volcanoes, interesting scenery and towns.
This region extends from Lake District north – through interesting scenery, rivers towns, the Winelands and eventually to Santiago and Valparaiso.
Capital of Chile – an attractive city with large main square, nice streets and parks, covered markets and dining areas. As with other cities care needed – we had a 2 run-ins – perps didn’t win! Very nice but very confined zoo. Lively music and night life.
Wow – what a place – artist’s paradise!!!
Luckily we had the time for an extended stay in this wondrous place. Previously the main port on the west of South America, it is still a very busy port . The murals and colour of the buildings have to be seen to be believed. Built on hills, access greatly helped by the many funiculars. It is a city with a great atmosphere – colour, museums, bars & cafes and friendly people.