Cycling above the Clouds

Riding the Andes by Bicycle

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A Magellanic penguin on Isla Magdalena

I rode out of Torres del Paine National Park and again took the cyclist’s prerogative of skirting some barriers and riding down a road that was ‘closed’ whilst being re-laid. Being a Saturday I thought it was worth the risk to avoid having to add another 10km on to the ride. The ‘Ruta del Fin del Mundo’ took me to Puerto Natales next – the capital of this wonderfully named region ‘Ultima Esperanza’ (Last Hope). It started to pour with rain for the final few kilometres so I arrived at my hostal soaking wet – always a great way to endear yourself to your new dorm mates.

I thought Puerto Natales was a really nice little town. It was originally a smallish fishing port that also traded lots of wool and yarn. There are old tin houses and cottages with quaint lace curtains in the windows. More recently it’s become the usual starting point for trekkers heading out to Torres del Paine (cyclists like to ride in the opposite direction to the trekkers because of the prevailing winds), so also has a few home comforts – outdoor shops, restaurants, nice hostals, artisanal breweries – to cater to all the trekkers passing through.

The view out over Seno Ultima Esperanza from Puerto Natales

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