After hiking to Cerro Castillo and taking a boat to the colorful marble caves of Puerto Rio Tranquilo in the previous post, we are about to go ice hiking on a glacier and make our way down to the end of the legendary Carretera Austral in this post of the Patagonia Expedition. Alright guys, back in Rio Tranquilo. We are, today, on an excursion because we’re going to see the glacier Exploradores. We are now on our way. It’s like about a hour hike to get to the ice with our guides. This is Claudio, one of our guides. We are standing on the ice. We have our crampons on. And now, we’re going to explore. The Exploradores Glacier is situated on the northeastern slope of Monte San Valentín inside the Laguna San Rafael National Park, and is a part of the northern Patagonian ice field. This ice field is the smaller of two remnant parts in which the Patagonian Ice Sheet and the Andes Mountains of lower South America can be divided. Nowadays, it is completely contained within the boundaries of Laguna San Rafael National Park.
Exploradores Glacier Villa OHiggins Carretera Austral in Chile Patagonia Photo Gallery
Once, the Patagonian Ice Sheet was an extensive ice sheet that covered all of Chilean Patagonia and the westernmost parts of Argentine Patagonia during the Quaternary glaciations. Today, with its glaciers largely in retreat and only an area of, sq km, the northern Patagonian ice field is still the second largest continuous mass of ice outside of the polar regions. Time to explore some ice caves. We’re going now in the cave. The early bird-catches the ride to-hopefully, Villa O’Higgins. So, we’re leaving Puerto Rio Tranquilo, this beautiful place at Lake General Cerrara. And we’re hopefully going to Cochrane, and later on to Villa O’Higgins, because this is where we need to catch the boat to get to El Chaltén. So, we are leaving Puerto Rio Tranquilo, this time on a bus. And the reason why is because, number one, there’s not much traffic going the way that we need to go, down south. And number two, there’s a bunch of cops and they are stopping people who are picking up people on the back of their trucks. So, that makes it pretty hard for hitchhikers. So, we’re off to Cochrane now. Buenas Dias. From Cochrane. We take the bus early in the morning to Villa O’Higgins, because it’s the same situation as in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, so we thought we’ll just take the bus. So, km and then we are at the end of the Carretera Austral. So, we’re one step closer to Villa O’Higgins. We’re now in Puerto Yungay, where we take the ferry which is coming there in the back. You see that? And it’s like one or two hours more.
We arrived at Villa O’Higgins, which is the last village on the Carretera Austral, and we’re going to go up for the sunset to show you Villa O’Higgins from above. Ooh, look at this. Villa O’Higgins itself is a very special place. To give you an idea, we asked Fili, the owner of the Mosco Hostel we stayed at to tell us why she decided to move here. (Fili) First of all, I wanted to change my life. Ever since, I had the plan to move to a smaller town. When I got to know Villa O’Higgins in the Aysen Region, I knew it was the perfect place. I like the mountains, the cold climate, and I like the tranquility here. My work [at the hostel] allows me to get to know people with different life experiences. But at the same time, I’m able to enjoy this place which is perfect because of the green nature, water, and the cold. For me, Patagonia is my freedom. Good morning from Villa O’Higgins. We got invited for an asado yesterday night. We got up a little bit later today. And we had quite a big breakfast because-we are going over there, to the mirador to see the southern Patagonia ice field. Oh yeah. So, we saw about miradors now, and we’re now on our way to number, which is called Mirador Altavista. And the walk is quite scenic. Look at this. Look at this landscape. These dogs are awesome. They’re showing us the way. When we are lost, they just go into the front and show us the way. And then, they are waiting for us. Fresh water from the glacier. Okay people, I made it up. And over there, is the Patagonia ice field. Quite a view. We are on our way back to Villa O’Higgins. We’re already a bit hungry. Time for a chocolate break. Chocolate is a winner on treks. Tomorrow, we are going to see the O’Higgins glacier, and we’re crossing over to the other side, to start hiking into Argentina the next day. So, comment to this blog for new travel posts every Thursday. And check out my Chile travel guide if you also want to explore this region. Finally, thanks for reading. Hasta pronto. In Patagonia, we have lots of timeand wind.