Patagonia

Patagonia was one of my top dream destinations. Almost every day I was exposed to photos of amazing and unique landscapes, very different from anything I know. This year I finally travelled to Argentina and Chile to see these views myself.

In the end of 2018 a friend of mine sent me an info about discounted prices for flight tickets to Buenos Aires. Together with Jola we decided to spent two weeks of March in South America. The plan was rather simple: 10 days in Patagonia, few days in Córdoba visiting friends and two more days in Buenos Aires.

El Chaltén

Upon the arrival we spent one day with our friends in Buenos Aires. Then we moved further to El Calafate in Patagonia where we rented a car. Our first destination was El Chaltén known for a perfect views on Fitz Roy, one of the most beautiful peaks in Andes.

The first morning in Patagonia was rather cloudy and we didn’t get to see Fitz Roy.

Even though the weather was beautiful, Fitz Roy remained hidden in clouds.

In majority of guidebooks Laguna de los Tres is described as “a must” of any trip to Patagonia. During first day we hiked 25 kilometers but it was worth the effort.

I paid for taking this photo with my dry shoes. While taking it I poked my tripod and the camera started falling towards the lake. I managed to catch it, but my leg ended up in a cold water.

Fortunately all clouds disappeared by the end of a day and we could finally see Fitz Roy. During next few days I have taken photos of Fitz Roy from all different angles.

Waking up next day wasn’t easy. When I finally arrived to Mirador de los Condores I forgot about warm bed. It was definitely the most beautiful sunrise of the trip.

During the day we did a small hiking to Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. After visiting Iceland twice I assumed that no waterfall is able to amaze me. I was pleasantly surprised as this one is really picturesque.

Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. To get there one needs to take 5km route from El Chalten. Splendid place for an afternoon walk.

In the evening we hiked to Mirador Fitz Roy. It is definitely a sunrise location as sunlight hits peaks colouring them orange, but due to amazing sunset we were able to take some shots.

We spent whole next day driving from El Chaltén to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We said goodbye to Fitz Roy at sunrise.

Torres del Paine

After driving for several hours we reached Torres del Paine National Park where we were spending next few days.

First sunset in Chile was absolutely stunning and gave us hope for nice weather. The weather wasn’t that good after all but during that sunset we were just enjoying the views.

View at Rio Serrano river. There are no towns inside the national park, but right outside there is a small group of hotels. We spent next few days which was beneficial for sunrises.

View towards Torres del Paine with Rio Serrano in a foreground.

Next day we woke up to see dark clouds covering the sky. They remained there till the end of our stay in Chile. Despite this we managed to see a bunch of beautiful places: Lago Pehoe, Mirador Cuernos, Salto Grande waterfall and Lago Grey.

Guanaco is an iconic animal of Patagonia. It looks like a combination of llama and camel. While driving one needs to be careful as they happen to cross the road or eat grass just next to it. There are even warning signs.

One of the places we visited was Lago Grey which starts with an amazing glacier. Unfortunately due to bad weather we didn’t see much.

Perito Moreno

After few days we left Chile and came back to El Calafate. We wanted to visit the main landmark of Los Glacieres National Park: Perito Moreno glacier. Unfortunately the park is closed for a night which means it wasn’t accessible neither for sunrise nor sunset. The glacier looks impressive even in the middle of the day.

Panoramic photo composed from several vertical shots. Showing scale of Perito Moreno was very hard for me.

Wildlife

My love to photography started from taking photos of wildlife. Even though I don’t do this much anymore I still love taking photos of local fauna. Patagonia is a perfect location with countless birds of prey, guanaco every few kilometers and condors flying over our heads.

Guanacos can be found in large numbers on Patagonian steppes. They look like a combination of llama and camel.

Guanacos look beautiful when backlighted as sun highlights their fur and makes it glow.

Darwin's rhea

South American gray fox. We spotted these cute foxes in several places and they were patient models. Unfortunately they got used to people (for example at viewpoints) because they have easy access to food (tourists throw significant amount of garbage).

Long-tailed meadowlark

Black-chested buzzard-eagle

Andean condor

While visiting Chile we decided on additional drive to Tierra del Fuego. We wanted to cross the Magellan Strait and see penguins. We visited Parque Pingüino Rey where a small colony of king penguins lives.

Summary

When travelling to remote dream destinations I always feel a bit of pressure. I always wonder: is this place going to meet my expectations? Will the weather be alright? Is it worth the effort? I had this doubts before visiting Iceland, I had it also before visiting Thailand. I was never disappointed. Patagonia met all of my expectations: it’s a land full of beautiful views, delicious cuisine and lovely people. I hope I will go there again soon.

If you would like to see more photos, feel free to follow me at Instagram and 500px.com where I regularly publish new pictures.

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