AdventurePatagoniaArgentina & Chile

Patagonia Travel Photographer

This post is long overdue but hey, better late than never. Right? After 10 months, it’s finally time to show off some photos from Patagonia, our dream land. Probably any traveler’s or photographer’s dream destination.

(Btw, it took the postcards to arrive to Europe 9 months too, go figure!)

Patagonia Travel Photographer

We started our backpacking / hiking trip in February this year and after three flights in two days, we landed in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego Province (Land of Fire) and is the base point for cruise ships that sail to Antartica. No wonder people also call it The End of the World.

It was exciting to see such a beautiful landscape straight out of the airport building at 11 PM.


After arriving to our hostel, ready to take a long shower and a good night sleep, we were welcomed with cold water and a bad smell from our fellow dorm-mate. They didn’t bother to put his smelly socks outside the room, but nevertheless we were excited. Finally we arrived and were ready to hit the trails in the morning.

Parque National Tierra del Fuego

In the next few days we discovered some of the most remarkable landscapes in Parque National Tierra del Fuego. Crystal blue lakes, snowy mountains, endless trails and even wild horses running around us … we had it all!

To be a Patagonia Travel Photographer is a dream.


Accompanied with some amazing people from all over the world, we can honestly say this was one of a kind experience. Every step we enjoyed. Well except Katja, who had injured her knee in the first 8-hour hike. She experienced so much pain, she needed to keep low for a few days and just rest.

I love this photo – everybody enjoying their snacks after a long hike, not bothering about me taking the shot. Katja keeping it cool even though she was in pain, Achim from Germany, Hila and Omri from Israel and Will from Los Angeles.

Crossing the border to Chile

After Ushuaia we headed north and crossed the border to Chile. It felt like going to another planet. The border crossing was in the middle of nowhere. I mean like two hours away from a small town or a village. After a full day bus ride, we finally made it to Punta Arena and settled in for a few days.

Katja still wasn’t quite ready for a proper hike, so we took a day trip to the Isla Magdalena. It is a breeding location for seabirds, most notably the Magellanic penguin. The whole experience is kinda funny. There is only one ferry that goes to the island, once every day. It’s pretty hard to walk-in and get the tickets, we literally walked into every tourist agency and when we already gave up, we tried one last time and somehow got the last two. The ferry was packed with about 300 people, we sailed for 2 and a half hours to the island, just to spend one hour on the island, watching the penguins. But honestly, these adorable creatures are so funny and so cute, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Torres del Paine – The 8th Wonder of the world

After a few days of resting and Katja’s successful hike, we moved further north to Puerto Natales, the base of Parque National Torres del Paine. This was the highlight of our trip. 5 days of trekking around glaciers, mountains, getting back down to the sea, exploring lakes and soaking in the sun. Getting wet too.

We tried booking free camping spots at some ranger stations in the park, but the demand was so high we only got one spot on the last day. Now we know why people love this place and more and more adventurers come to explore the area. It’s difficult to explain how beautiful this place is, so you know what? Why don’t you go and see for yourself!

Patagonia Travel Photographer

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One warning though – the wind can be pretty harsh and some people say they got knocked down while walking. We almost lost our rented tent 🙂

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Want to know another fact about Patagonia? The weather changes every 5 minutes. First it’s kinda sunny…

Patagonia Travel Photographer

…and in the next 5 minutes a storm comes.

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After 5 days of hiking, sun, harsh wind and rain we finally made it to the base camp, just an hour below of the towers. We set up the tent, cooked some pasta for dinner and went to bed early. Then a storm hit. It was pouring rain, our tent got wet, sleeping bags too. In the middle of the night we ended up in one sleeping bag together. Looking back, we have no idea how we managed to pull it off. It was 5am and we got up. Still raining, still cloudy and foggy. So we skipped the last hike to the top and head back to the starting point of the trail. It was sunny again but the towers were covered with clouds. So just when the bus drove off, we noticed the clouds move and we took this photo.

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THE UPSALA KAYAK EXPERIENCE

We continues our way north and back into Argentina to stop in El Calafate. We just barely made it on time to book a kayaking trip the next morning. Really we weren’t sure what to expect, but after 3 hours of sailing to the glacier Upsala, we were blown away. Just see the photos below 🙂

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We were a little bit sore after 2 hours of kayaking so we took the next day off and visited the Perito Moreno glacier in the Los Glaciares Parque National. The glacier is famous for being one of the few glaciers that is not shrinking (due to global warming) but in fact expanding. And the most amazing part? As a visitor you can get really really close and watch large pieces of ice breaking down (a side effect of expanding, not melting) and making a spectacular sound.

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The last view on the snowy mountains

Further north we made our very last stop in the mountains, in El Chaltén. This small village was built in 1985 to help secure the border with Chile. Today it’s only purpose is to accomodate all the trekkers and climbers that visit the area under the Fitz Roy mountain every year.

Patagonia Travel Photographer

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HORSEBACK RIDING 

Bariloche was our last city to visit before heading back to Buenos Aires and flying home. It took a full 28 hours to get there from El Chalten with a bus. It’s soooo far away… so we needed to relax a bit the next day and just wandered around the town, eating of the best ice creams in the world. Well, it might be one of the most expensive too.

The following day we booked a horseback riding tour with Carol Jones. She and her gaucho picked us up in the town and drove us to her ranch in the Nahuel Huapi Parque National. Another german couple joined us and we started with another amazing adventure.

Patagonia Travel Photographer

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After riding for straight 2 and a half hours, we stopped to have lunch that Carol and Lucas prepared. The best steak we ever had!

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While others enjoyed a siesta under the trees, we played with Campero, Carol’s dog that literally stole our hearts.

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Then came the hardest part – leaving all this beautiful landscape behind and head to Buenos Aires. Even though we prefer nature over big cities, we did have a lot of fun in Buenos. We also met Emi and Hernan there, and explored the city while taking some shots of them.

Dear Patagonia, until next time!

Some of the images are also available for print. If you’re interested, just drop a quick email to info@katjasimon.com

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