trip report: Patagonia – final impressions, top 5, & budget, January 2019

At the end of our third trip to Patagonia, I feel that we’ve seen and experienced plenty of what Patagonia has to offer. It’s enough for me to call it my favorite region in the world I’ve traveled to so far. And also enough for me to publish a top 5 list. But at the same time I know I haven’t come close to experiencing all that is Patagonia, so I’m publishing my future trip ideas at the same time. Hopefully my experiences will inspire and help you in your planning to visit this amazing area of the world.

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This is the conclusion of my 2019 Patagonia trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More

trip video: Carretera Austral road trip, January 2019 – part 4

In this fourth and final installment of our Carretera Austral road trip video series covering the last 4 days on the road, we hiked several trails in Parque Pumalín Douglas Tompkins. On our hikes, we saw a couple of glaciers and a hidden waterfall.

This is a companion video to my 2019 Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series, which is listed below in the index.

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trip video: Carretera Austral road trip, January 2019 – part 3, Futaleufú

In this third installment of our Carretera Austral road trip video, which was centered around the town of Futaleufú and on Río Futaleufú, we rafted the middle and lower sections of Río Futaleufú, drove to some overviews of Río Futaleufú, and hiked to Piedra del Aguila over two days. This is a companion video to my 2019 Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series, which is listed below in the index.

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trip video: Carretera Austral road trip, January 2019 – part 2

In this second installment of our road trip, we started with a hike on Glaciar Exploradores in Puerto Río Tranquilo before starting out drive north ending at Futaleufú. These second 4 days were much smoother than our first as we did 3 hikes and had a run in with a local hawk. This is a companion video to my 2019 Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series, which is listed below in the index.

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trip report: Patagonia – Parque Pumalín Douglas Tompkins, January 2019

Parque Pumalín Douglas Tompkins is result of Douglas Tompkins conservation efforts starting in 1991. Today it is managed by CONAF as a national park that covers 988422 acres. Within the bounds of the park, there are enough maintained day hikes (parquepumalin) to keep you engaged for a couple weeks. While we didn’t explore every single hike, we did four of them on day 6, day 15, day 17, and day 18 of our travels on Ruta 40 and the Carretera Austral.

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This is part 8 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – Futaleufú, January 2019

Before our trip, I had heard that one of the best white water rivers was in Patagonia. While Río Futaleufú and the town named after the river are not on the Carretera Austral, it was a well worth sidetrip to see and experience this magnificent river.

This is part 7 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – Parque Nacional Queulat & Ventisquero Colgante, January 2019

The vastness of Patagonia contains many spectacular mountains, valleys, glaciers, and lakes. Many of these areas are untouched by trails and very difficult to access without extensive skills. It may be one of the hopes of the Chile’s Route of Parks initiative to eventually expand accessibility for hikers and tourists to these hidden vistas. But for now, we would only catch a glimpse of the glacier spilling out between the rock faces. That sums up my descriptions of the popular Ventisquero Colgante, one of the only established and open hikes in the area around Parque Nacional Queulat.

This is part 6 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – Mirador Laguna Cerro Castillo, January 2019

Cerro Castillo is one of the rare multi-day backpacking (trekking) opportunities that is well established along the Carretera Austral. We had tentative plans to do just that, but lingering health issues and the logistics in planning a point to point backpacking trek that would rely on hitchhiking or buses when we didn’t speak Spanish brought us to the alternative day hike options. In the end, I don’t feel like I missed out and at the same time, I look forward to returning to do the trek.

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This is part 5 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.  Read More

trip report: Patagonia – Marble Caves & Glaciar Exploradores guided tours at Puerto Río Tranquilo, January 2019

Our southern most point on our Carretera Austral drive was the town of Puerto Río Tranquilo. While we typically don’t partake in guided hikes or tours, we did here to see the highlight of the town, the Marble Caves on Lago Gral Carrera (Lake General Carrera).

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The other tour here is the guided glacier hike onto Glaciar Exploradores, spilling off the Northern Patagonia Ice Field. Having endured the last few days through sickness and car issues, we made the decision at this point to just enjoy ourselves and splurge on both tours. We did not regret it one bit.

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This is part 4 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – Ruta 40 & driving the Carretera Austral, January 2019

My current struggle in life is the constant feel of needing to optimize my time. It’s the feeling that I need to be productive whenever possible, but I don’t think I am actually any more than before in the overall scheme of things. Maybe I started to feel this way because of the combination of how easy I can waste a day and just the never ending to do lists. Whatever the reason, it makes it very difficult to relax as anything nonproductive comes with a feel of regret in the end. This specific struggle carries over into the realm of traveling as well when it comes to unplanned and free form travel. It is hard not to feel the need to do something at every minute. But at the same time, unplanned free form travel is the cure as you don’t have anywhere to be but to relax and immerse yourself in the beauty out there. There is no place better for me to relearn that than the remote regions in Chile on the Carretera Austral.

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carefree zone

In the spirit of free form travel, the hikes and activities we throughout the rest of our trip wasn’t really in any organizable order. This is due to a few travel restrictions and situational parameters that are explained in the post. So this part of the trip report will cover our decisions as we went, the specific route that we took, and our driving experiences on the Carretera Austral. Subsequent sections will delve into the different hikes and major activities that I will mention in this overview of our trip.

We pick up this trip report the day after our Huemul Circuit hike (see part 2 of this series). This is part 3 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – getting in & Huemul Circuit return, January 2019

On my first solo extended out of the country trip, I found myself at a pub in Bruge drinking with the a bunch of new friends I didn’t know the day before. A quote that stuck with me from that night was that you travel not to experience everything, but to find all the great things about a place to return to. In the travel atmosphere that is suggestive of the bucket list and country counting attitude, I am all for the counter viewpoint of also returning to a place that once put you in a state of awe. The Huemul Circuit is currently my favorite hike in the world, so a return trip to Patagonia meant I’d head back there.

As I start to write this, I am not sure how this report will go. This is the first time I’m writing up the exact same hike on this page and it didn’t deviate much from my first trip. Secondly, my SD card crapped out during this trip leading me to lose a good portion of my data unbeknown to be until I started going through the pictures post trip. To that end, I’m approaching this write up of the Huemul Circuit as a complement to the my first report with the insight that the trail has gotten much more popular.

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This is part 2 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More