After leaving Argentina, it was time to head to Patagonia, Chile!
Where: Patagonia, Chile
When: November 2016
Stayed: Awasi Patagonia
As mentioned in my Mendoza post, we stayed at Awasi Patagonia, a property that was #1 on our wishlist for a while. A long while. From the moment we crossed the river in our 4×4 vehicle and were led to our remote, lenga wood cabin, I could not stop pinching myself. My only regret is we could not have stayed longer, and there is no question that we will return in the future. The feelings I get from just looking at these photos – the memories, scents, comfort they bring back – this place was one of a kind. One in a million.
Awasi is modeled after luxury African safari lodges (another dream trip on our list)! Remote cabins dot the wild landscape, with wood burning hot tubs and picture windows looking out onto nandus and guanacos galloping across the fields. The main lodge is the essence of warm and cozy, where you leave your hiking boots by the door, and slip into a pair of Awasi slippers – even for dinner. You can choose to relax all day by the fire, go on a morning and/or afternoon excursion, or on a full day one as well. All meals are served in the lodge (or prepared for you to take out for the day), and being a Relais & Chateaux property, the food and drink are unparalleled. You are also given a dedicated guide for your stay, and we were lucky enough to spend our time with Cata – she was the absolute best!
And did I mention the wood burning hot tub?!
If you drive from El Calafete to Awasi, you will cross the Chilean border by car. There is a great shop right at the crossing that I highly recommend stopping in. Locally made art and objects, as well as textiles and ponchos – like the one I am wearing below.
Hiking Base Torres was a truly incredible day. We set out at sunrise to avoid the crowds (which I would recommend), and made our way up the mountain. Munched on perejil del monte, sweat through all our layers and refilled our water bottles in the mountain streams… eventually reaching the turquoise towers.
We booked a fly fishing trip with Ben from from Patagonia Line, and it was a wonderful experience. He brought us to a trailhead off the beaten path, that only locals know about, and it felt like we had all of Patagonia to ourselves. An hour hike each way brought us to a lake filled with fish, and despite the 32 degree freezing weather, our picnic lunch was one of the best ever. Double mittens and all.
One morning we visited Lago Grey with the hopes of kayaking around the glaciers. Due to the weather (you can almost tell how windy it was in the photos below), there was no kayaking allowed. We were able to hop on a boat instead, take in all the icy blues and enjoy pisco sours made with chunks of the glacier. So much fun!
Our favorite morning was spent at the Blue Lagoon. We spotted a puma and her three cubs at dawn, and ended up at the beautiful spot below, where we watched the sun come up as pink flamingos floated by.
The rest of our time took us around Torres Del Paine and the surrounding areas. Patagonia is a snow globe of wildlife, and we saw so many different animals: sheep, lambs, nandus / lessers (ostriches), guanacos (llamas), gray foxes, rabbits, mice, armadillos, skunks, fish, hawks, eagles, flamingos, horses… and 7 pumas! Next time we will have to go even farther south to Ushuaia, to add penguins to the list.
Awasi has a sister property in the Atacama desert that we were planning on visiting last month, but had to cancel due to the upcoming babe. It looks just as amazing, and we hope to re-plan that for the future, as well as Santiago and some other regions.
Until next time, Chile!