El Calafate is another tourist town and the center for trekking, climbing,and sightseeing for this part of Patagonia hard by the border with Chile. As Jean mentioned in the previous post we used El Calafate as a base to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and Torres del Paine. The pictures to the right give you an idea of the incredible scenery Patagonia has to offer.
We needed a bike break so let the bus drivers do the driving while we relaxed in the back.
The glacier trip included taking the older gravel road into the park, a one hour hike, two hours at the viewing platforms and a one hour boat trip to see the glacier from the water. We had a wonderful day for this outing with blue skies, comfortable temps, and very little wind. The glacier is very impressive and the almost constant booming and crackling as ice breaks off and falls into the water makes it come alive. We brought our own lunch of bread, cheese, ham, and olives which we enjoyed while looking at and listening to the glacier.
The next day we were away by 0730 on our 4WD Mercedes truck/bus for a fourteen hour journey to Chile and Torres del Paine National Park and back. The Torres del Paine Massif is quite unique and we saw it from all angles. We had some strong, cold winds on this outing, but our picnic area by a waterfall was sheltered and warm with a picture postcard view of the imposing Massif. The trip ended with a 90 minute hike to see a lake, waterfall, and more views of the mountains. We saw a lot of wild life on the trip including guanacos, condors, rheas, rabbits, fox, and many different birds.