This excursion starts with a 30-minute bus ride to the airport, where you’ll board a plane for an approximately 60-minute flight from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales. Upon landing at Puerto Natales, you will travel two hours by motor coach over the pampas—an enormous expanse of flat grassland that is home to vast numbers of sheep. Only low vegetation grows in this area due to the harsh Patagonian winds. It is a very scenic drive to the famous Torres del Paine National Park, where you will catch your first glimpse of the distinct peaks (torres) from which the area takes its name. Torres del Paine National Park was established in 1959, and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park centers around an alpine massif of three imposing granite towers (torres) reaching more than 10,000 feet, together with several lesser horns, or cuernos, formed of black shale, and a variety of glaciers, lakes, and wild rivers. Your drive within the park will offer incredible vistas, including Lago Sarmiento and the intensely blue Laguna Amarga. Across Nordenskjold Lake, you will have a view of the famous jagged spires whose image is synonymous with Chile—a fabulous photo opportunity. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. Head back to Puerto Natales for your flight back to Punta Arenas. A transfer will return you to the ship in the late evening.
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