How Patagonia Blew Our Minds
I still remember the day when my boyfriend Max and I discussed the route of our round-the-world trip. He is an outdoor fan and loves hiking and I love sun and tropical beaches, even though I think hiking is not a bad activity either as long as it is not too tough. So, we decided pretty fast that Australia and New Zealand were definitely countries to visit, since we both haven’t been there and you can find beautiful beaches in Australia and beautiful mountains in New Zealand. But when we came to talk about South America, my big argument to skip Patagonia, because it’s probably very similar to New Zealand – and go to Peru instead – didn’t really appeal to him. And now I’m so happy he didn’t listen to me! Being back home, Patagonia is one of my highlights of our six month trip!
If you don’t know a lot about Patagonia, it is in the very south of Chile and Argentina. Both countries own parts of it; the mountains on the west coast are part of Chile and most of the lakes and plains in the east are belonging to Argentina. We first hit Patagonian soil in Bariloche, Argentina, arriving by bus from Valdivia, Chile. This town is a major tourist destination for Argentinians but well-deserved because it’s located in a gorgeous lake and mountain district. This is probably the area of Patagonia where my comparison to New Zealand is not too far-fetched. It has some similarities to the south island around Wanaka. But that’s not a bad thing; both places are stunning. In Bariloche, we went on an awesome hike to Refugio Frey and did an amazing bike circuit along the lakes.
After some days there, we hit the road on a 24-hour bus ride. Luckily, we got the seats in the first row with an awesome view all the way. We arrived pretty tired in a small hiking village called El Chaltén the next day. The sun was shining and the atmosphere in town was pretty good. In Bariloche, we had made some plans with new friends to meet up again and hike to Mount Fitz Roy including one night camping. Everything sounded so good, but the Patagonian weather ruined our plans! So, instead of sleeping in the nature, we spent 3 days inside the hostel, waiting for the rain to stop. We got even more sad when looking at pictures of Mount Fitz Roy at clear conditions. Finally on day 3, we surrendered and decided to book a bus to move on the next evening.
When we then got up in the morning – contrary to the forecast – the sun was out and the sky all blue. So, we decided to do the hike in one day and still catch our bus at 6 pm! We could make it in time! The 4 hour hike to get there felt so easy with the sun on your skin and we could already see the top of the Fitz Roy from far. The landscape was just breathtaking; crossing small crystal clear rivers, walking through forests, spotting glaciers on the mountains until reaching the lagoon finally granting you with one of the best views in the world! We were absolutely filled with joy and happiness the rest of the day and all the way back! It was such an amazing experience. We learned that the weather in Patagonia is unpredictable but just bring enough time and be flexible. It will be worth it!