Chile (February-March 2016): Patagonia and Navarino Island


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The main goals of this trip were to go trekking in the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia and in the Navarino Island in the Chilean Antarctic Province.


I did the first trek with my wife (5 days, the classical W minus Valle del Frances). During this trek we carried all our gear, food, and camping equipment, and slept in our tent. We did not use any of the hostels and refugios, nor any of the restaurants available in some places. As is well known, Torres del Paine NP offers sensational landscapes. However, we were extremely disappointed by the overall organization of the park: high prices for no or substandard services, awful camping sites, insufficient maintenance of facilities and trails, inapplicable rules, lack of reliable information, unfriendly staff... These deficiencies severely reduced the quality of our trekking experience. As the park and its camping‛s (some private) collect several millions of US$ in fees each year they should do a much better job...or they should as much as possible return the park to wilderness, at least by removing hostels, refugios, restaurants, shops, and showers, and restricting the activities of trekking agencies bringing large groups.


For the second trek (7 days) I went alone with a guide from Puerto Williams, Maurice Van de Maele Bello ( The itinerary was a combination of the so-called Dientes Circuit around a mountain range, Los Dientes de Navarino, in the central part of the island and a side-trip to Lake Windhond in the south. This much more remote trek, which has none of the issues that afflict Torres del Paine NP (no red tape, no park rangers, no entrance or camping fees, almost no trail, no hostels/refugios, hence no crowd...), was truly wonderful.


During this trip I also spent a few days in Punta Arenas (the capital of Chile‛s southernmost region, XII Region de Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, located on the shore of the Strait of Magellan), Puerto Natales (a town that is the main transit point to/from Torres del Paine NP), and Puerto Williams (the southernmost town in the world, located on Navarino Island on the shore of the Beagle Channel).


This was my third trip to Chile. In February 2001 I had already hiked in Torres de Paine NP, mainly in Valle del Frances. My goal had then been to climb Cerro Fortaleza, but continuously bad weather did not make it possible (see here). On my second trip, in July-August 2015, I traveled to the northern part of Chile (see here).


Click on the links below to see pictures of the various sections of the 2016 trip:


Torres, Cuernos, and Glaciares

del Paine

Dientes, Lagunas and Turbales

of Navarino






Punta Arenas and Magellan Penguins
of Magdalena Island

Puerto Natales
and Senoret Channel

Puerto Williams

and Beagle Channel




DSC01607 - Copy





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