Just back from… Chile With Kathryn Rhodes
Travel Consultant Kathryn tells us all about her recent trip to Chile.
What country did you visit?
How did you get there?
We flew out with British Airways and back with Iberia via Madrid, both in Business Class which I can't recommend enough if you want to be able to have a good sleep on an overnight flight!
Where did you go?
Have you been before?
I'd been to Santiago and Valparaiso, but not to the extreme north and south of the country.
If so... any noticeable differences?
Valparaiso didn't seem to have changed at all in the few years since I was last there. It still has the same charm and character.
Which was your favourite...
Place: Atacama really surpassed all of my expectations, which were already pretty high. The scenery and colours are really striking, and I'm convinced that no photo could ever do it justice!
Hotel: Explora Atacama. It's a real haven in the desert and the staff and guides are really friendly. It was a wonderful place to come back to after a day of walking or horse-riding and either jump in the pool or enjoy a pisco sour on the terrace!
Excursion: The French Valley hike in Torres del Paine national park . The route passes right underneath the Paine massif, past lakes and through forests. It was a moderately challenging hike but a lot of fun. We had a great guide with us who managed to point out interesting things along the way as well as keeping us all entertained with local anecdotes and folk stories.
What was your most memorable moment?
En route to our hotel in Torres del Paine national park our driver suddenly pulled up and pointed out two puma on a hillside about 50 feet away from the car. There are lots of them in the park but it's really rare to see them, especially so close, so we were very lucky!
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destination?
If you like the great outdoors then Chile is the perfect place for you. Across the country you've got great options for walking, trekking, cycling and even horse-riding so there are plenty of ways to get out there and experience it all. There are also lots of first-rate hotels and lodges, so you've always got somewhere comfortable to go back to at the end of a busy day.
Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?
It wasn't as cold as I'd expected in Torres del Paine - we were there at the very end of September so just before the season really kicks in. Wear lots of thin layers that you can easily take off, especially if you're going on a hike. on the other extreme take a light, long-sleeved t-shirt if you're going to Atacama to protect you from the sun.