With its decent-sized airport, Punta Arenas is an entry point into Southern Patagonia for many travellers. The city might not be the most interesting place in the area (it is far nicer to go out and see the Patagonian nature than to stay here for too long), but it is pleasant enough and a good base if you want to see the penguins on Isla Magdalena.

Besides the Monumento Natural los Pingüinos, there are a couple more things to do in Punta Arenas:

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Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, often calls itself the ‘end of the world’. Yet, when we arrived here, the city had anything but an end-of-the-world feeling. It was big and lively, with shops selling everything you could possibly need. And since residents have tax advantages over the rest of Argentina, the city has grown over the past decade.

For tourists, Ushuaia has a lot to offer. We stayed for two and a half days but could easily have found something to do for another two or three days. Upon arrival, I suggest you stop by the tourist information to get a map and excellent free info brochures about Ushuaia. And then go out and check out the following sights and activities:

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El Chalten does not have a long tradition. The town was founded in 1985, as a border outpost to race Chile who was also claiming land in Patagonia. Around two thousand people live here, although it feels a lot larger with thousands of tourist coming to visit in high season.

El Chalten is known for its excellent hiking, although even for those who do not like to walk, there are a couple of things to do in the area. I have tried to put together a list of things you could do, trying to include as much of a variety as I could. El Chalten might be the capital of hiking but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more things to explore.

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I have already done one interview with a local. When I travelled to Ecuador, I met Jaime, a tour guide from Cuenca, with whom I spent an amazing day in the Cachas National Park.

Now that I have moved on to Colombia, I got the chance to meet more amazing people. Colombia is one of the most interesting countries in South America. Not long ago, it was completely off limits to tourists and Medellin was labelled as the most dangerous city in the world. It is unbelievable how much this country has changed. When I came here, progress was visible everywhere. From public libraries and free wifi at every corner to the creation of small businesses, it is obvious that Colombia has come a long way. And it is not just the country itself. I also met very progressive and inspiring people.

One of them is Juan from Medellin. He was our tour guide and was nice enough to agree on doing an interview with me.

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One of the highlights of my trip to Patagonia was the Torres del Paine national park. My friend and I had planned this trip ages in advance. We had browsed through guidebooks, looked at maps and googled information. We had posted on forums and tried to find out as much about the Torres del Paine National Park as we could. We knew we didn’t just want to go for one day. We wanted to stay overnight.

After lots of research, we decided to hike the W, which is, if you believe the internet, one of the most famous hikes in the world. There were definitely lots of other hikers. But regardless of how famous it is, it is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done.

If you want to go to Torres del Paine, too, you will need to plan in advance. Keep reading to find out five things you need to know before setting out for your hike.

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