The New York Times travel writer Ondine Cohane spent years dreaming of one day visiting the Patagonia. Cohane finally got her chance to visit earlier this year – with her two-year-old in tow – and the experience exceeded her grandest expectations.
In her piece, “Chilean Patagonia’s Peaks, Up Close,” Cohane reflects on the fact that while getting to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine takes time and patience, the location’s pristine remoteness is something to relish.
“The world has gotten much smaller and more familiar,” Cohane wrote, “and yet Patagonia retains an anachronistic feeling of being truly far away.”
To get to Torres del Paine, travelers typically fly to Punta Arenas, the largest town near the park and a four hour flight from Santiago. Visitors then travel by car or bus to get inside the park, which is a four hour drive from Punta Arenas.
Cohane stayed at the majestic Tierra Patagonia hotel during her visit, a location recently awarded the title of world’s Best Resort in the 9th annual Travel + Leisure 2013 Design Awards.
The hotel’s stunning view of Torres del Paine and Lago Sarmiento sets it far apart from other resorts in the world. Its cozy interior and authentic gaucho accents make it an amazing place to retreat to after a long day of trail hiking in the park.
Hike to the Torres base
Cohane took a day hike to the base of the Torres, or towers – a trek considered by many to be the most impressive in Torres del Paine. A leg of the “W” multi-day backpacking trek, the base of the Torres hike can also be done as a day hike, and while the four-hour uphill climb is physically demanding, the reward is great.
“Rarely have I been in a place where nature seemed so unspoiled,” Cohane reflected on her excursion to the base of the Torres.