Chile: Travelling Patagonia with hand luggage

If you have to decide if “O” or “W”, are camping outside at -3°C and are looking forward to a warm shower like a child to Christmas, you obviously landed in Patagonia. It gets even more exciting if you go – like us – without any in-advance planning.

Read here how we travelled the Torres des Paine National Parc with hand luggage and for what reason we were queuing at 3 a.m. in the Andes mountains.

Natural beauty and history in Chile

Our trip to Santiago de Chile 

I can’t sleep in busses – that would have been my answer right before my world trip. After having travelled South America mainly by night busses I can meanwhile sleep everywhere at any time – almost. A night time border crossing from Argentina to Chile via a snowy Andes mountain road was absolutely not my favorite place to fall asleep.

After having passed the passport control at 3 a.m. like zombies, queued for the luggage inspection and having the bus checked by a fruits and drug detection dog, we were allowed to head forward to Santiago de Chile. Thanks got that this was finally the last night bus on my trip and absolutely worth it.

Sightseeing and museum in Santiago de Chile

Santiago was presenting itself as a pretty non-touristy city with a few old colonial buildings, which survived the numerous earthquakes, tons of museums, a few hipster-areas and sights to stroll around for 2-3. Would probably have been nice to do a semester abroad over here and learn a bit more about the country, its history and the mentality of the Chileans. Looking forward to come back after our Patagonia trip.

Memorial for Spanish conquerers in Punta Arenas


My travel buddy Alex already told me, that Patagonia will be everything else than a Sundays picnic and needs a bit of preparation. Great, cause my luggage mainly consists of shorts, tops, jeans, leggings and two sweaters. My warmest jacket – the rain jacket I had to buy after our robbery.

Perfect, as there is not so much warm staff available to pack and I can travel with hand luggage and save some Pesos. Will regret this later on.

Penguins at Isla Madgalena

Arrived in Punta Arenas we were finally lucky to see the very last penguins at Isla Magdalena.

Penguins at Isla Magdalena

Facing the storm sea and rain at our arrival, 15 more animals were already heading towards the ocean to travel to warm Brazil. Honestly, I was kind of jealous as we were soaked and froze to death after 3 minutes – it’s definitively shopping time 🙂 

Equipped with a new down jackets and new thermal stuff we are heading towards the big hike towards Torres del Paine National Parc.

National Parc Torres del Paine – the “W-Trek”

“O” or “W” – so the big or small course – 8 oder 4 days out in the Chilean autumn with quickly changing mountain weather.


Well – for time reasons (of course only because of this ;-)) we were just going for the “W” this time.

First night at the W-Trek

As the dormitories at the mountain huts were for real 95 USD per night per person, we were going for sleeping in a pre-setup tent but spoiled ourselves with the freshly cooked warm meals of the restaurants. The right decision as we both could eat a whole pig after the long hiking days.

Lago and glacier Grey and “Toblerone” mountain

But it was worth it. We were passing beautiful mountain lakes, frozen beaches, magic fairytale woods and stunning panoramas. Unfortunately we also crossed numerous burned trees caused by a huge fire from a stupid tourist burning a huge area of the National Parc.

Beautiful countryside

Having arrived at the actual mountain lake of Torres del Paine, we were just happy to have made it: 4 days and numerous kilometers with luggage on our backs.

Arrived at Las Torres

With a bit more training, preparation and warmer temperatures I am sure that we could have managed the “O” as well. For now I am just happy to be able to relax at Santiago.

At the capital I feel really lazy and – besides a few museum strolls – I just chill at the really comfy hostel. Somehow I am a bit tired of travelling around. About 5 month in South America were enough for me and I am really looking forward to New Zealand – my last travel country.