SOUTH AMERICA - PATAGONIA

In December 1990 / January 1991 I went to South America for the first time, doing a 24 day trip with Wilderness Expeditions in Patagonia. After flying to Buenos Aires our group spent two days at Bariloche in the Argentinian lakes district, then did a four day trek in the mountains behind Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, followed by a week in Torres del Paine National Park trekking in the Lago Pingo area, a visit to the Moreno Glacier and two days at Iguassu Falls further north. A selection of photographs from this trip is contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:




View of Bariloche
View of Bariloche. The town nestles alongside Lago Nahuel Huapi at the eastern side of the Andes and is a two hour flight from Buenos Aires. To the east is a dry and barren landscape, to the west is a landscape of snow capped peaks, volcanoes, forests and lakes.


View from Cerro Lopez
View from the top of Cerro Lopez, just outside Bariloche, looking across the border towards the volcanoes in the Chilean lakes district - Lago Nahuel Huapi in the foreground. After spending a day looking around Bariloche, we did a day walk to the top of nearby Cerro Lopez. From the top there were views of Mt Tronador, Mt Osorno, Lago Nahuel Huapi and Bariloche.


Overlooking Lago Nahuel Huapi
Overlooking Lago Nahuel Huapi on the climb up to Cerro Lopez. The lake is very picturesque with its surrounding forests, islands and mountains. The lake is very long and continues to the border with Chile.


Ushuaia harbour Ushuaia harbour - Tierra del Fuego. Looking across the Beagle Channel towards Hoste Island in Chile. Ushuaia is the southern most city in the world, only about 60 miles from Cape Horn.


Mountains in Tierra del Fuego The mountains of Tierra del Fuego. We did a four day trek in the mountains north-east of Ushuaia near Cerro Alvear. Our trek took us over passes, onto snow plateaus, through beech forest and past beaver damaged forests. The mountains are mostly around 4000' high in this area.


Campsite in Tierra del Fuego Typical campsite in the forests of Tierra del Fuego. The vegetation consisted mostly of beech forest. Many trees had been gnawed and felled by introduced beavers, which have caused a lot of environmental damage in this area.


Mountains of Tierra del Fuego Looking south towards the Beagle Channel from a high pass. We climbed up onto a snow plateau and then up to a pass, from where we could look north into the interior of Tierra del Fuego or south to the Beagle Channel and the Chilean islands beyond. The views were fantastic.


Rainbow in Patagonia Rainbow on the Patagonian plains. After leaving Tierra del Fuego, we flew to Rio Gallegos then drove across to Puerto Natales in Chile. This photograph was taken about 11 pm in the evening. The daylight is very long during summer.


Serrano Glacier - Chile The Serrano Glacier, near the head of Ultima Esperanza Sound in the southern Chilean fiords. A full day return boat trip from Puerto Natales. Mt Balmaceda and Torres del Paine National Park are close by. This glacier tumbles a few thousand feet down a mountain to a small lake which goes into the fiord.


Road into Torres del Paine NP Driving through Torres del Paine National Park. From Puerto Natales we drove north for two hours to reach the national park. Most of the journey was through flat farmland but once we reached the park we entered a region of amazing peaks and beautiful lakes. We also saw many guanaco herds once we entered the park.


Campsite near Lago Pingo Campsite in Torres del Paine National Park, near Lago Pingo. We started our walk at the bottom of Lago Grey and headed north into a less visited area close to the Patagonian icecap. The surrounding landscape contained spectacular peaks, lakes, glaciers, forests, flowers, icebergs, and condors flying overhead.


View from Cerro Zapata View from the summit of Cerro Zapata looking towards the Zapata and Grey Glaciers 4000' below. This peak is in the north western part of Torres del Paine National Park and overlooks the Patagonian icecap. It was a four hour climb from Lago Pingo to the top. We had a lucky spell of good weather to do this climb, but the fine weather only lasted for a day.


Patagonian Icecap Looking northwest from the summit of Cerro Zapata to the Patagonian Icecap. This is a place of bad weather but we were fortunate to see the icecap on this day. This icecap is the largest region of ice outside the polar regions and goes north from here for a few hundred kilometres.


Cuernos del Paine Cuernos del Paine - Torres del Paine National Park. A very spectacular mountain range. These sharp peaks rise about 9000' above the surrounding plains. Photograph was taken as we drove out of the park back to Puerto Natales.



Moreno Glacier Moreno Glacier - southern Argentina. The most accessible of many huge glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park, not far from Calafate. The glacier is a few kilometres across and its face is about 80m high. While we were there large chunks of ice fell into the lake causing loud rumbles and splashes.


Iguassu Falls Flying over Iguassu Falls. After our time in Patagonia we flew north to visit Iguassu falls for two days. Most of the falls are on the Argentine side of the border, however the better views are from the Brazilian side. We spent time walking along the trails through the rainforest to various waterfalls, walked out along the walkway to the Devil's Throat, and visited the nearby Itaipu Dam on the Brazil-Paraguay border.



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Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014