Hello! How was your weekend! I hope you didn’t think I would forget to talk about Part 2 of our Chilean Adventures! After having a great time wine tasting and exploring the beach-side town of Vina Del Mar, we headed about 3 hours south (by plane) to Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Now, normally I am a huge beach vacation person and I wouldn’t choose a cold vacation if my life depended on it, but in this case, I had to make an exception.
Patagonia definitely has been on our bucket list for awhile now and I’m so glad I made my beach-vacation exception here. The scenery was incredible! Just as an FYI, you arrive at the airport and then have a 5(!!!!) hour drive to the hotel. I am not sure how I did this with a 2 year old. I think it had something to do with us getting up at 3am and him sitting next to my husband the whole way. Luckily we also stopped for lunch and to check out this very cool cave!
We stayed at Hotel Lago Grey and at first I wasn’t sure what to expect because the photos had looked really dated when we were booking. The hotels, however, are all pretty expensive so we didn’t have much choice and the location of this particular hotel seemed good.
I was so blown away by our hotel! It was recently renovated and it was absolutely wonderful! Our room was cozy and well furnished with heated bathroom floors and a huge shower. Everything looked new and rustic (in a modern good way, not an old way). Plus, we had giant windows overlooking the lake and the incredible Patagonian mountains!
The restaurant and bar also had incredible views and we were able to enjoy our meals and hot drinks in a state of relaxed awe (well as relaxed as you can be with a two year old running amuck while other guests try to peacefully relax). And because technically it is the end of spring in Patagonia and nearing the longest day of the year, we were treated to almost 18 hours of sunlight! I’m not kidding you when I say that it was starting to get dark with the sun setting at just before 10pm and the sun was well and truly up by the time we rolled out of bed (at the ripe old time of about 7am-thank you two year old).
The hotel is situated on an enormous lake called Lago Grey because the minerals in the lake actually make the water appear grey (it was really grey but I don’t think the photos accurately reflect how grey it looked-it was a greyish, whitish opaque color). We were able to do a hike around the hotel and down by the lake the day we arrived. Despite the fact that it was late spring, it was freeezing! Ok like 40 degrees but we are used to 60s being cold so this was a shocker (I had to buy Coops a coat and boots especially for this trip).
But man is it worth the cold for the views!
The next day we headed out early with the little guy to hike down to the boat that would take us around the river and out to the glacier. Side note- there is totally a van that drives you halfway there so you don’t have to do an hour hike before getting on the boat. We didn’t know this and hiked the hour holding the 25 lb little guy because we also left the Bjorn in the US… #majorfail
Nevermind that though because the boat was so so cool! We sailed passed these huge icebergs that were pretty much one of the coolest things I have ever seen! And because the hotel has special rights to be the only one allowed to have a boat out on the lake, we were completely alone out there. It was so eerily quiet, it kind of made me think of the Titanic but the icebergs were definitely not that big and it was super bright so very easy to spot!
You’ll notice that the ice was a very vibrant shade of blue. This is because the ice from these glaciers has undergone a tremendous amount of pressure over hundreds of years, eliminating air that was originally caught in the ice from falling snow. As a result, there is no air or reflective surfaces and therefore, when the sun hits the ice, the rays are absorbed instead of reflected and the light is refracted through the ice causing a blue color.
Although it was so cold on the boat, it was totally worth it to see the glaciers! You can’t actually appreciate how massive the glacier is sheerly from these photos but it goes back and back and back. If you look at a map, you see that the whole area behind the glacier is an ice area covered in snow and ice!
The guys on the boat even fished out a piece of the ice for us to have in our drink. Pretty cool!
The next day we headed out for a private tour of the park. This was exactly how I wanted to experience it–in a heated van being driven around with a picnic lunch! You can definitely hike the park but it isn’t so much a day hike as several days including camping in those freezing temps. No thanks!
We say so many animals including about a thousand Guanacos, which populate the area. We didn’t get to see a puma, however, we were treated to the remains of their dinner!
Gourmet lunch included!
I think my favorite part of this excursion was seeing these impossibly blue lakes. They were so light blue it looked fake!
In the end it was a fabulously amazing trip and so worth the cold!