We arrived into Puerto Natales on a very cold and dreary day. This small town was surprisingly run-down and shabby, far different from the previous Patagonian towns of Barliroche and El Calafate. Many tourists visit this town as a base for the near-by Torres del Paine National Park or to board the north bound Navimag that sails through the Chilean fjords.
Our intentions for visiting Puerto Natales were to hikle the famous W trail; a 5 day trek in the Torres del Paine. However after much deliberation we decided to pull the pin. The weather was looking dodgy and we simply were not equipped for the hike which would have meant hiring and purchasing the essential items. This combined with the high park fees it would have cost us over $1000, a little out of our range at this point of our trip! Disappointing, but we may return some day to do the hike, and then will have the ability to bring all the required gear with us.
The next day we jumped on a bus and headed back across the border to Rio Gallegos, Argentina. After this 6 hour journey we had a few hours lay-over at the bus station and boarded our next bus on an overnight journey, heading northwards along the coast. We had finally come across the bus companies which we had heard so much about. Full service that included meals (albeit partially edible), cama seats and just generally a better standard of service than we have had on any other bus journey. Twenty hours later we arrived into the sunny sea-side town of Puerto Madryn.
Traditionally Puerto Madryn is a tourist destination primarily to view the right whale migration from June until December. Unfortunately we missed out on this but instead spent our two days taking in the sun and wandering the beachy streets; stretching our muscles in preparation for the next journey ahead. Wednesday evening we board yet another bus and head 20 hours further north to Buenos Aires.