Ruta 40 was a vast nothingness that felt hard to comprehend. Everything was yellow and flat with a horizon that we never could seem to catch up to.
Heading South in Argentina along the infamous Ruta 40, we experienced the flattest, most desolate road to date. Although the landscape was barren, we were constantly entertained by the various and exotic wildlife. Guanacos, nandu, and condors were plenty as they roamed amongst huge herds of cattle and sheep. We got to stay in Los Antiguos known for the Cereza (cherry) festival for Valentine's Day. Because Trevor and I try to eat and cook healthy, we decided to treat ourselves for the entire day. We had coffees, pastries, French fries, bread, pizza, ice cream and Oreos. It will be a town we won't ever forget, because it was our first Valentines as a married couple.
The road was long getting into El Chalten. For those that do not know, this town is home to the rock formations that inspired the Patagonia brand logo. Mount Fitz Roy and his towering neighbors were so huge, it felt as though the road would never end. Once we arrived, the weather was wet and brisk, so we parked in the lot of the trail head at the end of town and checked out the cute eateries, shops, and cafes. We stayed for three rainy nights, which yielded one clear-weather morning, perfect for a hike to Cerro Torre. We got to see our first glacier, which has now become one of our favorite landmarks to seek out.
Further South down the Ruta 40 brought us to Calafate, a touristy town that herds buses of people in to purchase trips to the glacier Perito Moreno. Because we had our own vehicle, we were able to camp much closer the the national park and drive in on our own. Perito Moreno is not only huge, but you are able to see chunks of ice the size of a smart car fall off and crash into the milky-turquoise lake below. It was the most amazing site we had seen!
From here, we had a long drive south to Rio Gallegos, which is on the border of Chile and the only way to get back into Argentina to Ushuaia. We camped on a river where penguins hung out and dove for fish. The next day included multiple border crossings, but we enjoyed the change of scenery as we drove past the windy and intense Atlantic Ocean.
Ushuaia, Argentina is regarded as "El fin del Mundo" or "The end of the Earth". We celebrated with a dinner of king crab and played around with the idea of booking a boat trip to Antarctica, but ended up enjoying beautiful sunrises on cliffs overlooking the ocean.
We could only go North from there, so our next stop was Punta Arenas. The city is technically the furthest Southern city on the mainland, and full of all of the modern needs you can think of (we totally paid to work out and shower at a gym for a day). We enjoyed an amazing cochilla chopa (crab chowder) and spent our nights parked out in front of the ocean.
Puerto Natales is a cool little port town housing blocks of tourist offices providing bookings to trek in Torres Del Paine. We decided to check out the park after an informative talk at the Base Camp Outfitter at Erratic Rock Hostel. We found out that to hike the renowned "W Circuit" most tourists plan a trip months or possibly a year in advance. Because we had a bit more freedom with our vehicle, we were able to explore the park, hike, and camp out in a parking lot for a very low cost in comparison. If you have any questions at all about this hike, please reach out to us and we can give you the low-down.
We hope that this post finds everyone well, happy, and healthy. Please reach out to us if you need any specific information on this area. We would love to help! So much love!
-Bree and Trevor