December 2023

At the beginning of December we drove to El Chalten in Argentina. This town is located at the foot of mount Fitzroy. An iconic mountain in national park Los Glaciares. This park is quite big and we would also visit other parts of it. But whatever part we visited, it was impressively beautiful. In El Chalten we stayed at the free municipal camp ground, with quite a few other overlanders. After a week of doubtful weather, the weather became sunny on the afternoon we arrived and obligingly stayed so during the week we were in El Chalten. This meant we had a clear view of the beautiful mountains. We went on two different hikes. First we hiked up to Laguna Torre (torre means tower) and a glacier, a round trip of around 20km. Here we saw ice floating in the lake, which was a first. We crossed meadows and a forest so the landscape was quite divers. A few days later we hiked up to Laguna Capri (12km) in which the Torres were nicely reflected.

This area is very popular so there were lots of other tourists. Not strange if you realize that not only is it very beautiful, it is also easily accessible and there lots of outdoor options. And all the hikes and park services are free. Which isn’t always the case. In this area you can also go climbing, kayaking and mountain biking, which Kilian did of course, you’ll be able to read about later. Contrary to most countries in Latin America, Argentina and also Chile are countries where people really enjoy the outdoors. We also drove to lago Desierto and since we were now outside the national park, we spend a few nights on a wild camp spot near the river and with a nice view on the mountains. After a week we drove on to another part of the national park, El Calafate where we visited the famous glacier Perito Moreno.

From the mountains we drove to the flat and windy coast, to Rio Gallegos, a city, which is very close to the Chilean border, here you can visit the Pinguinero Cabo Virgenes where a colony of Magellanic penguins live. About 250.000 penguins live here! And they are not really shy as they are obviously used to visitors. Although you have to drive three hours on a dirt track which is in bad shape with lots of corrugated areas. This means it’s not overrun by tourists – it’s too remote. We walked between the penguins, keeping a respectful distance although a group of penguins decided to check us out and came really close. They are definitely very cute. We spend the night on the parking lot and were surprised by the noise they make during the entire night. Sometimes it kind of sounds like a mule and sometimes like a crying baby. 

So cute!

After that we drove in to Chile again on our way to Ushuaia. By now we were in Tierra del Fuego. There is a rather strange divide here in who owns what piece of land as Chile cuts straight through Argentina. Perhaps it was once negotiated that Chile also had direct access to the Atlantic ocean? Anyway we drove through this little stretch of Chile in one day, taking a ferry across the Magellan strait. We spend two nights camping at Lago Escondido in Argentina, before we drove on to Ushuaia, which we finally reached at the 21st of December. I posted a blog about Ushuaia earlier.

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