Argentina Torres del Paine (TdP) General Info

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Hougaard Malan

About this spot
If translated from Spanish to English, the name of this park means Towers of Blue. This was the name given to the mountains due to the three granite monoliths visible from the East, which have a blue tone when viewed from far away. The most important thing to note about these mountains is that despite their close proximity to the Andes range, they are not related to the Andes. The Torres del Paine mountains were created by extrusive volcanism. This is when volcanic activity causes a massive ‘extrusion’ on the earth’s surface by releasing magma onto the landscape. The dramatic peaks of TdP were then carved out of the extrusion by glacial activity. The most significant evidence of this is the layer of black rock in the top of the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Blue), which is the park’s most photographed subject. In comparison, the peaks of the Andes (like at El Chalten) are all just granite. Whether TdP is more photogenic than El Chalten can be debated to the ends of the earth, but there is a major difference between the two, touched on lightly earlier in the guide; TdP offers a vast variety of fantastic foregrounds within easy walking distance of a parking lot, whereas all the best locations at El Chalten involve lengthy hikes.

TdP has countless glacial lakes with an icy turquoise shimmer and interesting shorelines. There are waterfalls, rivers, floodplains and steppe rich with golden grass and Beech Forests. Any photographer could spend a month at TdP without getting bored. It is a large park with a lot to offer and thus it is broken down into many spots.

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