Patagonia. We always wanted to go there. Tim spent one week in the southernmost part of the americas, jumped on a ship and came back speechless. He wanted to see the end of the world. And he failed. But have a look yourself in this END OF THE WORLD SPECIAL.
It went all too fast? You want the details? No problem. Here are our recommendations in order of appearance:
o0:04 Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
Yes… This park and the mountains are the reason people come here. And guess, what? I have not been there. But I could see the peaks from the plane. Top tip: When you’re flying southward from Santiago de Chile, take a seat on the left side.
o0:08 Getting there
Patagonia is the end of the world. Literally. You have to do a stopover in Santiago de Chile or Buenos Aires. But it is fairly reachable by plane. First of all: LATAM Airlines or Aerolíneas Argentinas are good airlines, secondly: Ushuaia, Punta Arenas or El Calafate are very good small airports.
o0:11 Parco nazionale Alberto De Agostini
…is one of the national parks that cover the millions of islands in the Cape Horn area. Don’t expect to see anyone around. And that’s what makes ist perfect. The area is absolutely untouched.
o0:16 Ushuaia and Punta Arenas
There’s a little disagreement on which is the southernmost city of the planet. There is Punta Arenas with 120.000 inhabitants who claims it. But Ushuaia, much further south, wants the title too with a population of “only” 60.000.
Anyway: Visiting these cities is very interesting. You can’t stop asking yourself: “why do people decide to live here?”
o0:30 Crucero Stella Australis
Patagonia, especially the region around Cape Horn consists of millions of islands. The best way to explore them is a ship obviously. I got invited to join the Stella Australis. A ship that has very little depth of flotation, and is able to enter the smallest bays. Expedition ships like the Stella Australis usually do the leg between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, others go to Antarctica.
I wanted to see Cape Horn, so there was no other option than a ship. And I highly recommend it. It sounds to expensive? I heard about several travellers getting last minute tickets in Ushuaia and Punta Arenas for a bargain.
o0:34 Life on the ship
A ship like the Stella Australis has several zodiac boats on board. That means you can disembark in every bay, if the weather conditions allow you to do that. Furthermore: You will be visited by a lot of big guys in the water. I was lucky enough to see an Orca family.
There are not enough words in the English language to describe the weather. It can change so quickly! People from Patagonia say, that you can get all four seasons in one day. I think they’re understating.
o0:38 Ainsworth Bay
…is a representative bay for the feeling in Tierra del Fuego. You have a beautiful colourful vegetation, a picturesque beach and a huge glacier in the background. Everything feels unnecessarily big.
00:41 Chilean Glacier Alley
Fun fact: No one knows how many glaciers there actually are in Patagonia. They havn’t finished counting. I was a huge fan of the Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel. You literally have one glacier every 500 Meters. I just couldn’t stop looking out of the window.
00:42 Glacier Pia
It is big. I loved it. You get stunning viewpoints and photo opportunities here. And you start to feel what “force of nature” really means. The glacier is loud. Very loud. And when you’re lucky enough, you can see a piece of ice separating…
Yes. They do live here. They’re awesome. But I think the best place to see them is not Tucker Island, where I have been. It is Pingüinera – Isla Martillo that can be reached from Ushuaia.
00:51 Wulaia Bay
“Wulaia” means “beautiful”. And damn it is! The bay is just 20 Kilometers south of Ushuaia and can only reached by boat.
00:52 Cabo de Hornos
If I had one thing on my bucket list it would be: “See the end of the world”. And I failed. The conditions at Cape Horn are absolutely unpredictable and the waves were to high for a safe disembarkment.
Anyway. The island itself is worth a visit. There’s an officer from Chile with his family who runs a small chapel and a souvenir shop – no, it does not get any more surreal than that.
01:00 The spirit of Patagonia
More than 800 ships sunk on their way around Cape Horn. Thousands of sailors lost their lifes in these seas. The weather is a nightmare on earth. It must be the roughness and the brutal honesty of this place that makes people want to come back again and again.