Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Suits: Punta Arenas, Chile

Post by Marisa from an internet cafe in Ushuaia, while Gilbert consulted his credit card company about foreign transaction fees.

Coyhaique, Chile apparently isn’t on everyone’s destination list, so Sky Airlines cancelled our outbound flight on Tuesday and instead booked us flying into Punta Arenas a day early. This robbed us of one more day with Marìa Inès and Joksan, and meant that we were going to have to pay for a hotel in Punta Arenas.

The fantastic thing about lodging complaints in South America, though, is that the corporate suits do something about it – we ended up spending a night at the posh Hotel Cabo de Hornos in the plaza of Punta Arenas. A free drink apiece in the sushi bar, complimentary bottled water and fruit, and unlimited internet and printing in the business center? We reveled in these creature comforts before our trek to Torres del Paine.

We also took advantage of the free time to visit Seno Otway, a penguin colony an hour north of Punta Arenas. The colony is inhabited by 10,000 Magellanic penguins, who use the beaches and dunes as their breeding grounds in the spring and summer. While we missed seeing the bulk of the colony (they were out to lunch) we couldn’t enough of the penguins that had stuck around to tend to their young. Penguins are every bit as hilariously adorable and personable in the wild as they are on television.

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