South America Photo Essay: Patagonia

I traveled around South America for 5 months in 2011. It had been one of my life goals to hike around Patagonia so I made that a priority of the trip. I spent about 3 weeks exploring southern Patagonia at the very beginning of my trip (late January-mid February). And after all the “go-go-go” hiking and bus rides, I settled down for 4 weeks to volunteer at a small farm in the Lake District of northern Patagonia.

My time in Patagonia really was the highlight of my entire South America trip. It was something special indeed.

Those two months are among the best in my life. Many happy memories were created. I’m a small town mountain girl at heart and I was fresh on the road, wide-eyed at the new possibilities of travel in my life, and full of energy. Everything was new and exciting! None of the “drags” of long-term travel had hit me yet, and I made some new life-long friends. In addition, a friend from the Bay Area joined me for about 10 days of hiking and it was awesome to share those experiences together.

I wrote much more about the day-to-day activities and events during those two months on my previous trip blog, but for here, I just want to showcase my favorite photos from southern Patagonia (Part 1, since the Lake District and farm life will get their own photo essay someday).

My itinerary included Ushuaia at the very southern tip of Argentina, Torres del Paine park in Chile, El Calafate and El Chalten (in Argentina), and part of the Caraterra Austral in Chile with a stop in Puyuhuapi before heading to the farm near El Bolson, Argentina.

I run out of adjectives to describe the immense beauty that is Patagonia so instead I’ll let the pictures do the rest.

Enjoy!

Boat tour of the Beagle Channel

Boat tour of the Beagle Channel while in Ushuaia (southern tip of Argentina)

Sunset at the Ushuaia port

Sunset at the Ushuaia port

Penguins!

Penguins!

So cute

So cute!

Guanacos on the road to Torres del Paine, Chile

Guanacos on the road to Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine Parque, Chile

Torres del Paine Parque, Chile

Glacier Grey

Glacier Grey

Surreal clouds, Torres del Paine

Surreal clouds, Torres del Paine

Hiking, on the way to Valle Frances

Hiking, on the way to Valle Frances

Entering Valle Frances

Entering Valle Frances

The "Torres"

The “Torres”

Looking back at the Torres

Looking back at the Torres

Perito Moreno glacier outside of El Calafate, Argentina

Perito Moreno glacier outside of El Calafate, Argentina

Several stories high

Several stories high

Glacial rivers

Glacial rivers seen while ice-trekking on the glacier!

Ice cave

Ice cave

The power of the elements

The power of the elements

The Fitz Roy mountains as we approach El Chalten

The Fitz Roy mountains as we approach El Chalten

Hiking towards Laguna de los Tres in the Fitz Roy range

Hiking towards Laguna de los Tres in the Fitz Roy range

IMG_2087

Almost at the top as ominous clouds roll in!

Overlooking the valley that we hiked through

Overlooking the valley that we hiked through

Looking at Cerro Torre

Looking at Cerro Torre as we hike to Laguna Torre

Hiking towards Laguna Torre

Hiking towards Laguna Torre

Made it to Laguna Torre

Made it to Laguna Torre

Puyuhapi - a small village on the Caraterra Austral in Chile

Puyuhuapi – a small village on the Caraterra Austral in Chile

THE Caraterra Austral, Chile

THE famous Caraterra Austral, Chile

Flowers by the side of the road, Chile

Flowers by the side of the road, Chile

Only in Patagonia

Only in Patagonia (Argentina)

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