Posts Tagged 'Patagonia'

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This article is the first of a two part story – where TotalAdventure explores the southernmost reaches of the inhabited world. TotalAdventure was invited by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and SERNATUR ( Chile Ministry of Tourism) to joining two expeditions – one in Torres del Paine National Park – more detail in the next article and another engaging in other activities on Estancias and in the vast preserves of nature. SERNATUR paid for air travel and other essentials. The trips I joined were run by Chile Nativo. Besides exploring the incredible nature of the region – we met with 25 companies chosen to work with us to sell their packages on TotalAdventure. 32 other buyers , along with press , were invited to promote the pristine unspoiled remote areas of Chilean Patagonia , the Strait of Magellan – the Gateway To The Antarctic.

TotalAdventure has been commuting to the Southern Cone this year. First, 8 hours to Santiago. Then another 4 hours down to Puerto Natales.

To El Fin Del Mundo – The End Of The World.

From Summer To Winter.

Where The Guanacos Roam.

Stripped Clean By Pumas.

Rheas, A Smaller Version Of The South African Ostrich.

Argentina Border. In order to drive to other parts of Chile, one must drive over 1600 km through Argentina. Chile is almost all islands or impassable glaciers and forest from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt. Relations between the two competing Latin giants are cordial ,but not always friendly.

We spent the day at Estancia Cerro Guido, very near the Argentine border crossing at Río Don Guillermo. The Estancia has huge herds of sheep, and allows visitors to experience daily life on the Patagonian steppes.

The sheep are very wooly by winter’s end.

It’s time for a haircut. While the ewe is mildly annoyed, there is no pain. It can be dangerous for the wool to get too thick and heavy. In freezing rain and heavy snow, the animals can’t move and can die of cold. This past winter ( May to October) was the coldest and snowiest in many years – the Estancia had to rescue some herds .

The wool is shipped all over the world to be made into high quality sweaters, dresses, socks and hats.

Lunch at Estancia Cerro Guido. Parilla del Cordero. ( Lamb ) A guest might enjoy this daily.

View From On High – Towards Torres Del Paine.

The next day, outside of Puerto Natales we rode horses up Cerro Dorotea. The outfit was not totally my choice. The horses were well tempered and responsive to more experienced riders, such as myself.

Led by Guachos – Born In The Saddle !

A warm fire at the mountaintop. It was sleeting at the top.

Patagonia Before The European Settlers.

On the final day, before sales meetings began, we boarded a cruiser for an expedition through Fjord Ultima Esperanza to Glaciar Balmaceda, about 50 km from Puerto Natales.

The saltwater fjord extends a long way from the Pacific.

Seals live in caves along the cliffs.

Mother And Pup.

The days are spent fishing and getting some late winter sunshine.

A low flying bird . The caracara ? Ornithologists  please let us know..

I’ll Have A Grant’s . On 3000 Year Old Glacier Rocks Please.

Abstract Nature.

The Explorer At Work.

Glacial Waters spilling into the fjord.

Purest Water Anywhere !

Down From Glaciar Balmaceda.

Bandera de Patagonia.

Magellanic Penguins Live On The Cliffs – Safe From Seals.

Outdoors Adventures Concluded – At the Hotel Rio Serrano we were greeted with an incredible Parillada de Cordero. The next two days were spent meeting with 25 local adventure providers – all of whom we hope sell adventures on TotalAdventure Chile Nativo already is !.

Beautiful warm pool, with nearby saunas, whirlpools and gym to warm up after a day on the glaciers !

All too soon, the adventures came to a close and it was time to head to the airport. Observed outside at a roadside cafe – two sheepdogs entertaining themselves.

From Punta Arenas it’s a 4 1/2 hour flight to Santiago, where I had a 7 hour layover, so went into the city to have dinner with a friend. After a connecting flight through Bogotá on Avianca, I was back in Miami the next afternoon. Punta Arenas is the second most southerly commercial airport in the world – with actual flights to Antarctica – about 800 mies south.

I first came to the Far South of Patagonia in February, 1991. I drove to Puerto Natales from Rio Gallegos, Argentina. I was one of 5 cars to cross the border that day. This photo is on Glaciar Moreno in El Calfate, Argentina. 31 years later, I am happy to report that the nature has not been changed much – due to strict and well planned conservation and sustainable tourism. Of course there are many more hotels, restaurants and tour companies catering to adventurous travelers from all over the world. Also technology is far more advanced. That’s a Sony Hi-8 video camera – considered quite advanced for the time with 480 lines . I had a custom made battery belt that powered it all day. To edit, I had to rent a $ 200 per hour studio in New York. Now I shoot on a GoPro 10 with up to 5300 lines and edit on my MacBook Pro. It was great to be back – stay tuned for TotalAdventure’s return to Tierra del Fuego and onwards to Antarctica next month – December 2022 !

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I left Buenos Aires at 3 a.m. this morning, arriving in Trelew well before sunrise. I slept through the entire hour and a half flight and missed the pilot’s weather announcement, so you can imagine my shock when I stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac into the biting, 30-degree Farenheit air. It literally took my breath away.

The drive to the hotel wasn’t very sightly, one very long meadow until Puerto Medryn. The sun started peaking out over the meadow around 7:30 a.m. with an effect that made the horizon look like it was on fire. I came to learn that in the winter, the sun rises at 9 a.m. and sets at 6 p.m.

After a much needed nap, we drove to Puerto Piramides, about a two hour car ride, and stopped at two beaches along the way to watch the whales come very close to the shore.

Today was the start of whale season. The whales that spend the year swimming the frigid waters of Antarctica come into the bay at Puerto Piramides to mate; a year later the whales come back to give birth and by the third years’ trip, they return with their young to release them into the wild.

After a delicious lunch of milanesa, we geared up with some very bulky and annoying life jackets and jumped onto a small boat, ready to venture out into the bay and get up-close and personal with the arriving whales. Mind you, even with my arctic gear of tights, thermal socks, ski pants, tank top, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, thermal shirt, ski jacket and sneakers, it was still pretty chilly.

During our aquatic search for the whales, we met Cormorants (penguin look-alikes that fly and are able to dive up to 240 feet below the waters’ surface), sea lions and seals.

Just when we were beginning to think that a whale encounter wouldn’t happen, we spotted them! A mother Southern Right Whale and her baby. We all bonded and the whales put on a spectacular show of acrobatics as the baby rolled over several times to show us its belly.

It truly was an unforgettable experience.

For more from Agustina Prigoshin, read her blog at



Aug 30th
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The world’s largest trout are caught in the streams of Southern Chile in the Andes of Patagonia.ArcticTropic has nearly sixty destinations in Chile.

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In Punto Tombo Patagonia a penguin tries to pull at my shoelace. Punto Tombo, on the Peninsula Valdes, about 1000 miles south of Buenos Aires, is home to 400,000 penguins.The climate is not Antarctic here – in fact it is barren scrub desert along the cold Atlantic. In the winter (May to September) the penguins swim north to Brazil, staying at sea most of the time. Arctic Tropic lists several expeditions to this area – click on South America and go right away to the Argentine listings.

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In Argentina Patagonia on the Peninsula Valdez, this Sea Elephant couple is about to take a siesta.ArcticTropic has many destinations in Argentine Patagonia – and this is the time of year to visit !

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In Chilean Patagonia, around 51 degrees south, is one of the most pristine areas on Earth outside of nearby (1000 miles away ) Antarctica. Though the mountain is only 9800 feet high , it is one of the most difficult on Earth to climb – due to steep grade and treacherous weather conditions most of the year. ArcticTropic has dozens of adventure travel and accommodation providers in Patagonia – both in Chile and Argentina.

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On a summer’s day in Patagonia I grabbed this shot of a 100 foot wall of ice calving from Glaciar Moreno, near Calfate in southern Argentine Patagonia. ArcticTropic has many destinations near there – click on the South America map to see more!