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Hurtigruten Pole to Pole - Week 12

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

Patagonia & Antarctica Ultimate Adventure - Southern Chile, Latin America

In week 12 of our 13-week pole-to-pole cruise on the MS Roald Amundsen with Hurtigruten Expeditions, we cruise and explore the southern coast of Chile and experience the majestic Chilean fjords.

Day 78 - Castro, Chile

The dramatic change of scenery as we cruised the Chilean coast was a welcoming gift. Chile has a coastline of 6500 km. The first week was spent cruising the Atacama desert, and now we feel we are in the Sound of Music with rolling lush green meadows sprinkled with wildflowers.

We arrived in Castro this morning, a beautiful picturesque town on Chiloé Island in Chile's Lake District. You have a familiar sense of New England, surrounded by rolling green hills. It is unique, especially with the colourful wooden stilt houses that line the waterfront.

Today, we opted for 'Sal & Wayne' style, bypassing all the excursions to get lost in a city and escape the crowds. It was a perfect city to explore by foot; the city centre was moments from the pier. We enjoyed exploring and hunting down a local cafe to experiment with the coffee. Unfortunately, the first cafe scored no points, but we were impressed with the second find, a local bakery.

I continued exploring the city, catching a glimpse of the Church of San Francisco. Declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2000, it is one of the most important historical buildings in the city.

We stumbled on a viewpoint with a cascading view of the vividly coloured homes on stilts across the low tide, along with another smaller pocket on the other side of Castro.

This set us up to enjoy the waterside walk and beautiful, unique homes; unfortunately, a fire struck six homes the year prior, and they were busy rebuilding the beautiful homes. We popped in for a coffee along the way; a gorgeous new boutique hotel 'Sizigia Hotel' was now occupying the space,

We followed coffee with lunch on the deck with a view at the nearby local restaurant 'Sabores de mi Tierra'.

Settling in to enjoy the local Pisco Sours, you only needed a couple at this fabulous restaurant; let's say they were well balanced with the Pisco, definitely on the sour side, which was our preference.

The food was excellent, the freshest of fish and the atmosphere surrounded by friendly locals dining, and the magical hills and fishermen, oh and seabirds keeping you entertained—a perfect afternoon.

Some of the beautiful and eclectic homes and architecture as we wandered back to the ship, with some dancing on the pier to finish the day.

Castro is a perfect destination to slow life down. It is a very safe city, and you are spoiled with luxury boutique accommodation, high-quality dining, warm and friendly people, scenic views, and being on the Chilean Fjords' doorstep.

The late afternoon sail away was sensory overload as we cruised out of the rolling green hills, giving us a taste of what was to come as we entered the magnificent Chilean Fjords.

Day 79 - At Sea, South Pacific Ocean, Chile

Enjoying the scenery and views as we approached the Chilean Fjords, the misty weather provided a beautiful backdrop.

Today was a great excuse to take the time to have one of those much-needed chill days; who doesn't love one of those? Especially when you have the scenery below as you enjoy a lazy lunch and dinner in Lindstrom.

Part of the day was also spent in the open ocean, so we did experience some rocky waters, which is always best to spend motionless to avoid sea sickness.

Day 80 - Puerto Eden, Chile

After navigating through the channels and fjords, our first destination in the Magallanes Region was Puerto Edén. It is a Chilean hamlet and minor port located on Wellington Island and considered one of Chile's most isolated inhabited places, together with Easter Island and Villa Las Estrellas.

Puerto Edén is hidden deep in the Chilean fjords, off the beaten path, with a tiny community of 170.

We were on the first excursion, and the climate change reminded us we were getting closer to Antarctica, and the skies were open, which is very common to Puerto Edén.

A resident guided us through the perimeter of the small village; they had a neat walkway from end to end with a few lookout spots as we strolled with the skies of Mother Nature, learning about village life.

A bit further south, you will find Brüggen Glacier, the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica, and unlike most glaciers, it has been growing.

The afternoon was spent navigating the channels southbound for Patagonia.

The vast amount of waterfalls as we cruised was a sensory overload. Never have we seen so many waterfalls cascading from the melting snow; they were scattered along the magnificent coastline as we exited this beautiful scenery.

Day 81 - Torres del Paine, Chile

Welcome to Puerto Natales, a port city on the Señoret Channel in Chile's southern Patagonia. It is the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park.

As we opened the blinds this morning, we were surrounded by snow-capped mountains and couldn't wait to be whisked away on our full-day excursion.

The Pole to Polers was first up, and we were eagerly waiting as we headed to Torres del Paine, the UNESCO national park listed in 1978 and the 8th natural wonder in the world to visit the Gray Glacier.

It was about a two-hour drive to the entry, and we all enjoyed the magnificent scenery along the way and hearing all about the juicy details of the region from our very knowledgeable guide, Gabriela.

Upon arriving in the park, we were transported about half an hour deep in preparation for our boat cruise across the lake to get up close and personal with the Gray Glacier.

We all settled in for a speedy lunch at the Gray Hotel, where the bar and restaurant overlook the glorious mountains and glaciers. Wayne and I even squeezed in a Pisco Sour on a mission to try as many as possible in Chile. They only improve as we go, especially when ordering sugar/syrup-free.