Travel the World: Chile & Patagonia

Just because the world grinds to a halt and all planes remain grounded due to COVID-19, it doesn’t mean that our wanderlust, that passionate flame for travel and adventure, has been put out. While we have no idea when we’ll next be able to board a plane again, we can at the very least, explore the world with our eyes and relive sights, sounds and taste in the alleyways of our memories. This latest article series #traveltheworld requires just a little bit of imagination and a decent sound system as we pair our favourite travel destinations with an appropriate sound track, wine and snack.

This week, explore the colourful alleyways of Punta Arenas, Chile before hiking through the raw, windswept plains of the Torres del Paine in Patagonia.

Music: Traditional Chilean 
Wine Pairing: Terra Mater “Vineyard Reserve”, Maipo Valley
Snack: empanadas

Punta Arenas means “Sandy Point” in English and has a population of approximately 160,000. Fun fact: it is the southernmost city in the world, located on the north shore of the Strait of Magellan.

You’ll find colourful street art everywhere, and is a must-do when you visit the city. Think of it as an outdoor art gallery that runs for miles!

The Torres del Paine National Park is found between the Andes Mountain range and the Patagonian Steppe in the Chilean side of Patagonia. It covers an area of just over 2,422sq km. The National Park holds within its boundaries a number of glaciers, lakes, rivers and valleys, as well as the famed centerpiece, Cordillera del Paine, where we find the two most recognized rock formations known as Las Torres (the three towering rock formations that give the park its name) and Cuernos del Paine (Del Paine Horns).

Torres del Paine is a very popular destination for hikers from all over the world. The entire Park contains clearly marked paths and many “refugios” which provide basic services and shelter for backpackers.

The views in the park are absolutely breathtaking. Visiting Torres del Paine is recommended from the months of October until late March or early April. During these months the weather is nicer, and daylight hours are long, due to the extreme southern latitude.

Because of its location, you’ll witness some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world here. Special type of clouds (Lenticular clouds) created a wonderful red sky above the Chilean Patagonia’s mountain peaks.

You probably know what a cowboy is, and you might even be familiar with the gaucho of the Argentinian Pampas, but chances are you don’t know much about Chile’s baqueanos.

The baqueano, who has become a symbolic character of the Chilean countryside, is a man of the land with detailed reserves of knowledge about vast expanses of Patagonia. He is a skillful rider, with an almost telepathic connection to his horse.