Puerto Natales: Gateway to Patagonia

PREFACE: The keyboards in South America are an absolute gongshow, please excuse the bad punctuation. For example, to get the @ sign, one must hit ALT GR+Q… even though the @ is visible beside the number 2.

A Latin American keyboard

Got to be honest for this post, we have taken these last 3 days for relaxation and some minor exploring. After arriving we realized that busing into the park is really expensive and not fully worth it seeing as we’re going to be getting our own set of wheels in a couple days anyways. So we have been planning our future explorations and getting ready for what we will do once the van is in our possession!

Becca eating a cupcake while working off the cupcake she is eating

On March 9th we spent most of the day exploring the main street and the various gear shops. The locals must have thought it weird seeing two grown adults drool so much. We grabbed some food for dinner from the local supermarket and then we got hungry, so we popped into the Grey Dog. The Grey Dog is a great little restaurant that has an impressive burger menu as well as other salad and wrap options. We both settled for wraps (Becca went beef and Kyle chicken), they were delicious! They had both been sauteed with onion and peppers, very tasty, with some over salted fries which is never a bad thing.

Then we made some dinner and tried our hand at playing some Spanish scrabble, with pieces including CH, RR, and LL, as well as Ñ which we used as a normal N. Most of our roommates were all prepping for the W trek they were leaving for on the next day so no one joined us…loners we were.

The next morn we took full advantage of the free breaky with toast and eggs and one of the most delicious bread spreads on the planet. Still not sure exactly what it is, but boy does Kyle’s sweet tooth appreciate it. Then the day was spent in and out of the hostel, checking out the local parks and shops. At 3 we went to a free talk at Erratic Rock about Torres del Paine. It’s mainly for people doing the various multi-day treks, either the W or the O (named as such because that’s what they look like on a map). By the end of the chat we both wished we had signed up but it can be a fairly expensive trek and with the van we will be able to see a ton of the park without paying so much. We chatted with one of the guys at the Erratic for about 30 minutes after the talk, and once we mentioned we were getting a van he got super excited and showed us a ton of the area on the map we could explore, which made us both really excited! We were also told of some local laws about camping and driving that I hadn’t read anywhere during the planning of this adventure. He also gave us a bunch of free stickers which neither of us hated.

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Our new favourite bar in the world, Base Camp!

After the chat we made some dinner then went to a local bar called Base Camp, which hosts a fairly impressive list of local draft beer and customizable pizzas. We were only in the mood for beer but that was easily accommodated. With a belly full of beer and a minor case of the munchies, we went off to the corner store near the hostel for a can of Spanish Pringles, Kryzpo (salty and good, what else do you need¡?¡?). We watched some crappy shows on Netflix in the hostel in the sunroom, quite content with the day.

The morning of the 11th, we woke and packed our bag for a day near the lake. We explored the south side of town which we had not seen much of. The lake here is stunning; it’s surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and full of fishing boats. We made lunch in one of the town parks and visited some new gear shops we had yet to drool through. As it’s Sunday, basically anything locally run was closed, so we spent the rest of the day relaxing and planning some more!

Now we play the waiting game as the van comes tomorrow afternoon! We may have to drive to the Argentinian border so the current owner can cancel his TIP (temporary import permit). Soon Vanigan Shenanigans will be in full swing!!!

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