Peru

March 20, 2017

I´ve never been in a propper desert before. I couldn´t even imagine, how desperate a place can feel. And despite all that, there are people living there!

There is nothing but dust, yet you see people walking by the road, you see their little shelters and numerous, numerous posters.

These photos are from a 50 hours bus ride from Lima to Santiago. It is doable.

We took a Bus Sur cama bus to Tacna. (That is actually important, the seats in cama are so big and so comfortable, but semi cama is a normal bus. Still ok, but after 40 hours tall people may have some issues.)

 

To cross the boarder from Peru to Chile we hopped on a shared taxi and drove all the way down. We stayed overnight in Arica, which is a pretty chilled beach town at the border and then continued to Santiago. We booked the bus directly on the bus staion, there are many many bus companies that go all the way to Santiago.

It was the time when we were counting the conversion rate wrong, so we though everything was cheap. Well, turns out that it is a bit more than we thought…but hey, we hada good time.

 

NOTE: you can only pee in the toilet on the bus. 😀 I am happy to announce that nothing dramatical has happened. Also if you are going to trave this route, make sure you have plenty of water. The bus doesn´t stop and we were given more limonade than actual water. Also I´d recommend spending more time in Arica as there are apparently more sights to visit.

Amongst the locals Arica is a famous beach district, but to be honest the beaches were not that appealing. Much nicer were the onec in Inquike – a few hours ride down south from Arica.

Disclaimer: I am author of this text, but most of the trip ideas and ways to get around the reservation system are not mine. Credit goes to my friends, who have more balls than i do 🙂

Foto by BART, thank you :)

Since the new reservation system in Torres del Paine, the main tourist attraction in Chilean Patagonia, it is very hard to do the famous W track and nearly impossible to finish the O track. These are the two ways how to access Torres del Paine. We tried to get to see as much as we can without a reservation, as there were no spaces left for us. And this is how we did it:

imag0772

imag0782

imag0786

imag0808

In the end we took a catamaran to PAINE GRANDE and managed to persuade the staff in the  camp to let us  stay there for one night. We had to pay, of course (6 000 CLP). The first day we hiked all the way up to Refugio and cap Grey and back. It is long, but worth it.
At the bottom of the trek there is a ranger who controls reservations. We were not able to pass him without a paper  (everything here seems to be based on little papers) with a booking to the next camp. However, we met people who managed and then they could stay in Camp Grey for the night.

After a windy night in camp (you can buy food for 21 USD beer for about 6 000 CLP and also some small supplies from the local shop.) Credit card is accepted sometimes and everything, including the bar, closes at 10 pm! WE went to the other side to camp Italiano. The whole track is totally worth it. Not even so steep and you get close to another glaciar.

In the evening there was no other option than to take the catamaran and go back.

Ah well, ADIOS, Torres ❤

 

This is a situation in 2017, everything may be different in the near future as the amount of lost, angry, unhappy tourists with outdated – so a year old – guidebooks (including Lonely Planet), who couldn’t get to Torres, as they didn’t know about the reservation system  was incredible. And they did complain. 

Patagonia. My new love

February 19, 2017

This is not a one night stand (or “one holiday stand” by that matter). This is a love for life. Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is just magical. I am having shivers just looking at the photos.
So here is a little taste of our little afterchristmas adventure:

dsc_0152

…getting to Torres del Paine, the main main tourist attraction in Chilean part of Patagonia was not the easiest. The nickname we gave it – Torres del Pessos says a lot, unfortunately. It is quite pricey to get there. You also need bookings for the camps, if you are trekking for more than one day, which you probably do as it is so huge.
The booking systhem, where each camp is owned by a different company is a recent thing that makes life more complicated for travelers.

HOWEVER. Once you are there, this all is forgotten. And it is all definitely worth it.
In one of my next posts I ll tell you how we managed without the bookings 🙂
…so yes, it is possible 🙂

To Torres del Paine you’ll get from Puerto Natales by bus. There are many companies that operate and buses leave from 7:30 in the morning. Day tours leave also from Puntas Arenas or El Clafate, but that is much further. It is better to book the bus ticket at least few days in advance.

img_20170214_133616_626
Tierra del Fuego and Stepanka. My companion in rolling naked in the snow and bathing in ice-cold rivers and heaps of other, sometimes unpublishable, adventures. Since we were kids, pretty much.

To get to Tierra Del Fuego get a 11 hour bus from Punta Arenas (or a flight, if you can afford it) to Usuhaia. Book at least a week in advance, ticket sell out quickly.

imag0909

…after a week of uncooked instant noodles (I needed to economize with the gas bomb we were using for cooking, you know. I had to make sure i can have a coffee in the morning, otherwise I am the worst person in the world, trust me), this already felt like a food porn….and the steak was yet to come.

dsc_0224

…views like this. If it seems to you that it is burned in some places you are right. Few years ago a Czech tourist set a part of the national park on fire. At that time he got out with a little punishment, however he volunteered to plant trees and even payed $$$ as he was sorry..Well you would be, wouldn’ t you.

imag0919

Omnia mea mecum porto.
i just love the freedom of carrying stuff with you and then sleeping in the nature. It may not be easy, but it is rewardig. BTW. This is the most common sigh I had of my friends, as i am …ehm….a bit slow 🙂

Sleeping in the national park in Tierra del Fuego is for free. You just need to pay the entrance fee to the park.

dsc_0115
Perito Moreno. Glacier that is 74 meters high on average. The ice time to time breaks off and falls down with this great sound similar to thunder. Named after a pioneer who was discovering the area, Perito Moreno is unique, because, unlike most glaciers, it is advancing. Why is that remains a mystery.

Located around 80km from El Calafate in Argentina, serviced by regular buses leaving El Calafate in the morning and returning in the afternoon.

imag0961
do i need to comment on this one?
Just maybe that it is in beautiful and magical Tierra del Fuego, near Usuhaia.

To get there you can take a bus from Usuhaia to the national park. Buses and shuttels leave regularly, we high hiked :). Then the hike takes about 3-4 hours one way and is not advised to do in bad weather.

dsc_0220
…so yeah. This was Patagonia. #takemebacknooooooow