Dramatic mountains, active volcanoes, walkable glaciers and icefields, geothermal pools and a practically endless coastline – welcome to Chile! If you are looking for one of the best places on earth to experience adventure then a trip to the longest country in the world should be added to your bucket list. Stretching along South America’s western edge, with more than 6000km of Pacific Ocean coastline to the west and the magnificent Andes mountain range to the east. Chile stretches over 4,300 km (2,670 mi) north to south, but is only 350 km (217 mi) at its widest point east to west and is among the longest north-south countries in the world.
The diverse climate of Chile ranges from the world’s driest desert in the north – the Atacama Desert – through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south. Chile within its borders hosts at least ten major climatic subtypes. The flora and fauna of Chile are characterised by a high degree of endemism, due to its particular geography. In continental Chile, the Atacama Desert in the north and the Andes mountains to the east are barriers that have led to the isolation of flora and fauna.
Are you considering a trip to Chile and looking for some inspiration. In this weeks blog we will offer some ideas that you can add to upcoming Chile adventures. Keep reading to learn more…
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places in the world as well as the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts. The Atacama Desert may be the oldest desert on earth and has experienced extreme hyperaridity for at least 3 million years, making it the oldest continuously arid region on earth.
In a region about 100 km (60 mi) south of Antofagasta, which averages 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in elevation, the soil has been compared to that of Mars. Owing to its otherworldly appearance, the Atacama has been used as a location for filming Mars scenes, most notably in the television series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets.
Eco Camp Patagonia
Immerse yourself in the stunning world of Torres del Paine National Park. Located in the heart of it all is the world’s first dome hotel, EcoCamp Patagonia, which is modelled on the ancient shelters of the region’s ancient inhabitants. If you enjoy spending your days exploring then this fragile paradise with trekking, multi-sport adventures, and wildlife watching is a dream come true.
Eco Camp’s design was inspired by the traditional Kawesqar (the ancient inhabitants) hut resembling an igloo and a dome at the same time, designed to conserve natural energy and heat. Between the low-impact design of the domes, the use of composting toilets, micro hydro power, wind power, recycling, the minimisation of garbage and waste means there is no trace left in the park.
Vina Santa Carolina Winery
Chilean wine has a long history for a New World wine region, as it was the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonised the region. Vina Santa Carolina is one of Chile’s oldest wineries. Established in 1875 by Luis Pereira, Vina Santa Carolina is a renowned producer and one of Chile’s most prestigious traditional wineries.
Located just outside the Santiago CBD is this oasis of tranquillity and history. Surrounded by gardens, water features and original buildings but the one thing you won’t see is the grape vine fields as the vineyards are not located onsite any longer. Why not take part in an engaging guided tour which will include the parklands, colonial manor house, old winery, and the large cellar built using the method of mixing limestone and eggshell together, a technique popular in the late 1800s.
Take the perfect road trip to the end of the world. The Carretera Austral is the name given to Chile’s Route 7. The highway runs south for about 1,240 kilometres from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins, passing through rural Patagonia. Carretera Austral provides road access to Chile’s Aysén Region and southern parts of Los Lagos Region and is a one of a kind scenic route in the world.
Glacial waterfalls, tropical plants, dolphins, marble caves: Patagonia’s remote Carretera Austral is an explorer’s paradise. Make time to stop in Puyuhuapi, a small fishing village tucked in a fjord alongside dense forests, misty mountains, and thermal springs. If you are looking to get off the grid then stay awhile at Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa. Discover the rain forest, hike the Queulat National Park, sail between islands and fjords of Patagonia.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.