Just put down a deposit to go next December! Looks stunning.
Welcome back to AP! Margi and I look forward to hearing about your trip.
Hope you'll write up more of your trip. We're heading that way in April.
We flew via Buenos Aires to El Calafate, back home from Punta Arenas via Santiago. Had a couple of hours to get a quick tour of BA (in the process of changing airports), while Santiago was just in the airport.
Spent the first 6+ days around El Calafate and El Chalten, then into Chile and Torres del Paine National Park for 3+ days, then further south to Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. It was summer there, the equivalent of August here. There were a couple of warm days, high in the 70s, otherwise often chilly and very often windy, sometimes very windy. At one point I had on 3.5 shirts, a puffy jacket, and a rain jacket (all available layers other than adding more t-shirts) and it was just right. We had good rain gear, but while it rained a good bit, it never seemed to do more than sprinkle when we were outside. And not much of that. But the wind....
Basically the reason we went was my brother wanted to go, and he found a tour group that he thought would be OK (it was), so all we had to do was sign on the dotted line and write a (big) check. If we were 10 or maybe even 5 years younger I might have organized it myself, and just traveled by ourselves, but at this point in our lives that wasn't going to happen.
So we had a group of 12, plus a guide, plus sometimes a second local guide. Everything was arranged. The tour was focused on the outdoors/nature/wildlife, as opposed to culture or big cities or shopping, and that suited us just fine. A number of hikes to see more of the country, a couple of boat excursions, generally a very full schedule.
Suited me just fine. Were I a little younger, I would have wanted to do more adventurous hikes or trail runs or climb a mountain or two, but I have no need for that now. There certainly were possibilities if one were so inclined. The only thing I did on my own was usually heading out for a walk at dawn just to explore the area around where we were staying, and sometimes another walk just before dinner, same idea, always with camera and binoculars. Very enjoyable, gave me the necessary amount of solitary time.
I had some interest in the birds as they are almost totally different from what we have here, plus it gives you lots of things to look at (and look for). The only real preparation I did before the trip was to spend some time reading up on the birds of Patagonia, plus getting a guide installed on my phone. Both made things much more enjoyable.
I suppose if had had done the same about geology, or the flora, or the history, or learned some Spanish, there would have been rewards from that as well, but none of that happened. Still managed just fine.
If I had one tip in particular it would be to do what we did as far as travel and health. We had scheduled flights with no tight connections, and only put stuff in checked luggage that we could easily replace. As it was, all our planes were on time and no bags were lost. And neither of us (nor anyone else in the group) got sick. In other words, be lucky.
And don't frigger any attacks.
Of all my world travels, Torres Del Paine is my first choice to return. My photos.
Wow, Bill, great photos as always. You had better weather while in Torres Del Paine than we did. We had an open view of the towers just briefly on one day. We saw the lower mountains much of the time.
I'm curious about some of the birds in that part of the world. Did you see any Rheas? What about Andean Condors?
Lots, maybe 40 in all. Lots, maybe 20-30 in all.
See today's photos.