We arrived in Puerto Natales after 4 days aboard the Navimag ship and it was refreshing to be on land once again. Unfortunately along with a couple others, we had booked our hostel online and failed to record its name outside of the confirmation email so our first hour was spent looking for somewhere with Internet so we could look it up. I can’t imagine that was a problem travelling many a year ago!
Puerto Natales is best known as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. For the most part, the whole town survives on the business of tourists visiting the park and you would be hard pressed to bump into someone who isn’t “about to do the ‘W’” or “just finished the ‘Circuit’”. That being said, it is a quiet and cute little town with a handful of nice restaurants and a great microbrewery – so small that on our first night we drank them entirely out of their own beer!
Our second day consisted of getting ourselves organised for hiking the ‘W’, named due to the similar shape you follow as you trek through Torres del Paine. We attended a briefing at Erratic Rock, which is held daily to prepare and somewhat intimidate avid hikers and afterwards we joined the numerous backpackers at the supermarket buying our packets of pasta and instant mash – fuel to survive the 5-day trek.
At our hostel – Backpackers Kaweshkar, owner Omar prepared us with all of the essentials: tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, cooking utensils and most importantly, what was most likely going to be my saviour – hiking poles! By the evening we had checked most things off of the list, unfortunately physical fitness wasn’t as easily determined but satisfied we had one last hearty meal and were off to bed.