Patagonia holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I first traveled to Torres del Paine when we were engaged and spent a week hiking and camping. Freshly married, we returned shortly thereafter to live in Chile’s Northern Patagonia and start the journey that is Knowmad Adventures, a boutique travel company with big dreams. We never hesitate to return to the region, and every experience is unforgettable.
7 p.m.: My husband and I arrive in Puerto Natales, Chile. This town has a great vibe to it: You will find weary backpackers sitting on curbs with hiking boots unlaced, relaxing after trekking the W or maybe even the Circuit, and you can scout out creative restaurants featuring local cuisine on a gourmet level — which brings me to our next stop.
7:30 p.m.: We simply must dine at Aldea, one of my favorite spots to sip on a glass of Carménère, a medium-bodied red grown almost exclusively in the vineyards of Chile, and enjoy a wood-burning-oven-roasted lamb.
9 p.m.: After lingering over dinner and good conversation, we depart late for Torres del Paine National Park and arrive sleepy but happy to a lit fireplace and an enveloping bed at Awasi Patagonia.
6:30 a.m.: We awake to a red glow seeping through our cabana’s windows and roll over to a sunrise like no other: soft oranges and pinks reflecting off the face of the Towers peaks — the park’s namesake (and for good reason).
9 a.m.: Of course, we didn’t actually rise at that early hour! A short walk brings us to the main lodge, the definition of understated luxury. Designed by Chilean architect Felipe Assadi, the modern structure was built using locally sourced materials and features enormous windows, perfect for taking in the Patagonian view while curling up with a cortado (the Chilean version of a cappuccino). After breakfast, we fill our water bottles and set out for Cerro Serrano, a little-known range.
11 a.m.: We hike toward the summit for two hours through a whimsical forest of lenga trees and sage-colored mosses. We pile on our layers as the landscape grows more exposed and the views more impressive. We follow a ridge bordered by an old estancia fence and find cover beneath a rock cropping for a lunch of grilled pork, salad garnished with toasted mote, and lentil soup. The descent takes us through herds of guanacos, a relative of the llama.
5 p.m.: We’re met with a tabla of cheeses and artisanal Austral beers to toast a hike well done.
6 p.m.: A stoked fire at our wood-burning hot tub awaits us back at the cabana. We reminisce about our hike at the end of the world, about the wildness and remoteness of this place, about how far removed we feel from the daily bustle.
7 p.m.: After our soak, we make our way to the main lodge for a dinner of Chilean comfort food, each course with a different wine pairing. One can’t help but feel cozy and at ease noshing on pastel de choclo in the candlelit lodge draped with sheepskins — a perfect ending to 24 hours in Patagonia.