Just back from…Chile with Mary Anne NelsonMary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
What country did you visit?
When did you visit?
How did you get there?
I flew with Iberia via Madrid. Although I missed my connection to London on the way back, I was particularly impressed with Iberia’s efficient customer service. On arrival in Madrid an Iberia representative was waiting at the gate and handed me a new boarding pass for the next flight, which was about an hour later – no queues, arguments or fuss of any kind.
Whereabouts did you go?
I went to Santiago to visit my family and then flew down to Punta Arenas for a 4-night stay in Torres del Paine National Park.
Had you been before?
Yes, several times!
If so, any notable differences?
On this occasion, I stayed at hotel Las Torres but the first time I went to the park in the early 90s, I backpacked my way around the circuit, passing hotel Las Torres en route to the famous viewpoint of Las Torres. It was called Hosteria Torres back then and it was still a working cattle ranch but they had just started receiving paying guests. Its prime location meant that visitors kept asking for lodging and eventually the owners realised this would make a good business. The main house was small with only a handful of rooms and although I would have loved to have stayed there, I was as poor as a church mouse and could only look on longingly as I continued with my heavy bag, tent and food for two weeks… Fast forward 30 years and the hotel has grown both in size and splendour, still having an incredible location and, best of all, I finally managed to stay there before walking up to the Las Torres, which I’m relieved to say hasn’t changed in the slightest.
What was your most memorable moment?
Every moment and every trek in this part of the world is different and as memorable as the next. But the sunrises are something you won’t forget in a hurry.
Were there any surprises along the way?
I was hoping to spot a puma, but, sadly, they decided to stay away from me.
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
Take your time, don’t rush and try to go for at least 4 nights. There are too many gorgeous places to visit in this park.
Is there anything indispensable to pack or prepare for?
Good – and well worn- walking shoes and layers of clothing. It’s possible to have four seasons in one day.
Any local snacks, dishes or drinks that should be sampled?
Salmon and Patagonian lamb are all local to the region and after a long day, definitely treat yourself to a Pisco sour cocktail.
If you can, try to sit on the left-hand side of the plane when you’re flying south to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales and on the right-hand side going back north. You’ll be rewarded with dramatic views of volcanoes and lakes. The alternative, is the Pacific Ocean.
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Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Maggie Wilson - Travel Expert
Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.