Adventure/exploring Chile

Old Feb 14th, 1999, 02:07 PM
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Adventure/exploring Chile

Looking at a fall trip to Chile and Argentina. I enjoy adventure (my wife does
too, but with comforts thrown in). We are also trying to find an inn where the ice for your cocktails came from the glacier...and we do want to visit wine country. Recommendations for outfitters, inns, unforgetable places greatly appreciated.
Old Feb 25th, 1999, 08:45 PM
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We were in Chile and Argentina in November. Wonderful time to go. Thoroughly enjoyed our trip -- but one of our favorites was Hotel Salto Chico (run by "explora"). Seems to be just what you need -- an all-inclusive hotel sitting on a lake with a view of Torres del Paine (if you've done research into this area, you'll be familiar with this area of Patagonia in Chile). Everyday, they had 5-6 excursions, ranging from easy nature walks, to horseback riding, to all-day serious hikes to glaciers, etc. Spectacular scenery -- will take your breath away. At the end of each day, you can come back to the hotel and either relax in the hot tub, get a massage, swim in the pool, or just enjoy the views. Then gourmet meals. What a vacation. 100% recommended. We were traveling from Santiago, south through Chile, then to Ushuaia, Argentina and north to Buenos Aires. If you need any more tips, would love to give you more recommendations.
Old Feb 28th, 1999, 07:36 PM
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Chile's central region is wine country, so that's where you need to go for good wines. From Santiage there are many vineyards within a day's drive. For a spectacular and unique stay, check out a small hotel associated with Vina Santa Rita, near Buin, about 1 hr south of Santiago.

For scotch on the rocks with 10,000 year old rocks you have two options: go to Laguna of San Rafael. There is a good local cruise line called "Cruceros Skorpios" that has several great little ships that will offer you the adventure of sailing in pretty wild and beautiful area of the world and provide your wife with creature comforts like good food, clean rooms and excellent service. I am sure they have a web site; if not there are several good sites with tourist info on Chile.

Your other option is to sail from Punta Arenas, in the Strait of Magellan, on a ship called "Australis" that is also quite nice and comfortable.

You may also want to visit Bariloche, in Southern Argentina. Try to do the "lake crossing" from Puerto Montt to Bariloche. It can be done in one day or two. The scenery is spectacular, trully worth seeing.

So, you can fly to Santiago, do your wine thing, fly to Purto Montt and do Laguna San Rafael and then cross over to Argentina and fly home from Buenos Aires. You will see and experience one of the most beautiful areas of the world.
Old Mar 3rd, 1999, 06:12 AM
Harry Stuber
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Just got back from two week trip. Santiago--> lake district-->drove around and further south--> Santiago. Did NOT do the wine thing, basically was discouraged by what I read and heard. Nobody seemed to have a Sonoma Valley-type class act with informative tour, good tastings, advice on choices, etc. Mainly see the vines, get a thimblefull of whatever we happen to have open that day,thank you, NEXT. In two weeks we were unable to encounter a wine store in Santiago with a broad selection of wines. Mostly the stores (supermercados) had wines grouped by vineyard, not type, and you had to sort of guess by price what might be good. We got as far south as Isla Llancahue, where a launch takes you to an inn with a thermal bath deal. Very pretty and isolated, but as they had quoted me 23,000 pesos/night (~US $46) meals included, I was surprised when the bill for 2 nights was presented @ US $234! I DID have a few pisco sours, but they let me know, "Oh, by the way, that price we quoted was PER PERSON"! And like, do you expect to be able to use your VISA card on an island without roads? My advice, basically everybody's nice in Chile, but carry extra cash and watch for similar surprises. Good luck!
Old Mar 8th, 1999, 05:00 PM
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Salto Chico Hotel is a very good alternative at Torres del Paine National Park, but prices fluctuate between US$ 1040 and 1800 (3 nights), 1370 and 2400 (4 nights), 1940 and 3400 (7 nights) per pax in a doble occupancy room with all inclusive system, excursions and transport from Punta Arenas airport.
For having ice near you and catch it at the lake shore, Hosteria Lago Grey is a suitable choose, but has not the same level than Salto Chico hotel(but a good quality/price ratio).
An more economic alternative is to rest at Puerto Natales and take different tours. The excursion to Perito Moreno glacier, where you can see the ice pieces falling in front of your eyes, is an amazing spectacle.
Regarding the wine visit, from Santiago there are guided tours for visit about 6 vineyards during the day. I understand that it is not possible to visit some vineyards alone. But it is preferably to concentrate your efforts in the south (Lakes District, Chiloe Archipelago, Austral Way, Patagonia and Antarctica).
Regarding Llancahue hotsprings, obviusly that price must be per pax and obviusly in an isolated island at the end of the world you can not expect to pay with credit cards, because the installations are artisanal. I was at Llancahue hotsprings with a group of friends and they were fascinated. The visitors book was plenty of good comments from european visitors. But consider that it is not a regular trip and there are no comforts.
If you have specific qustions about adventures see CHILE/TRAVEL ADVENTURE GUIDANCE at the Latin America forum or contact me.

Old Sep 2nd, 2002, 04:02 AM
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Is a stay at the Explora in Torres del Paine worth the big bucks? Anyone been there recently?
Old Sep 2nd, 2002, 07:41 AM
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I am also trying to stay at Explora in Torres Del Paine but am not having much luck. The place seems to book up very quickly and although my stay is more than three months away, I have my choice of a waiting list for a regular room (at about $700 per night for a double) or I can reserve a suite for $1000 per night now. My fear is that if I go on that waiting list and then nothing is available that I will also later lose the opportunity to stay at Las Torres, (, the next best alternative but a far cry from Explora.
Although Las Torres advertises for $197 per night, by the time you throw in your activities, airport transfers, meals and drinks, you are well over $400 per night for a couple. Explora takes care of everything from the airport transfers to the activities, meals and drinks. It also has an indoor swimming pool and outdoor jacuzzi (with jacuzzis also in some of the rooms).
I would start getting quotations immediately. It has been very frustrating for me to get quotations as Explora either only accepts people on Sundays or on Thursdays. If you need to arrive on any other day, then you are paying for nights that you didn't get to stay.
From the feedback that I have received, Explora is definitely worth it. Although I am not swimming in money, I do like to splurge for the best vacations. I only have one other experience with a place as expensive as Explora. I spent $900 per night to stay at Singita Private Game Reserve earlier this year in South Africa ( Singita is the only place to ever receive a perfect 100 rating from Conde Nast Traveler readers (100 in food, service, location, rooms, etc.). I had no regrets whatsoever and had the best time of my life, taking some incredible photographs of wildlife in their natural habitat.
If you can get into Explora, after going so far to get there, I would say it is definitely worth it. Good luck.
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