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Whereabouts did you go?

Me and my group started off in the Chilean wine region around Santiago, then went up to the Atacama desert, then down to the other end in Torres del Paine and finally the Lake District region.

 

Had you been before?

I had been backpacking in Chile about 15 years earlier, which was definitely a contrast to the luxury lodges I stayed in on this trip. This was also my first time going further south than Santiago, and Chile almost feels like another country when you head in that direction!

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What was your most memorable moment?

Hiking for about 3 hours through a canyon valley in the Atacama taking in the beautiful landscapes. We then arrived at Puritama hot springs, one of the local area's attractions - as we were staying at Explora Lodge, we got exclusive access to the top one. We were quite sweaty after the hike so the dip was nothing short of refreshing, and then we were pleasantly surprised with a spread of cold drinks and churros and chocolate dips!

 

Were there any surprises along the way?

The stargazing tour at Explora Atacama was amazing and I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so incredible. Being able so see Saturn in all her glory through the high-power telescope was pretty special!

 

What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?

Torres del Paine is an incredible destination and the hiking in the stunning landscapes there is something I won’t forget in a hurry. It is pretty tiring though, with early starts and days packed with activities. Aim to stay four nights instead of three if you can manage it.

We then had a couple of nights in the Lake District and I highly recommend visiting this region. There is soft adventure here with kayaking, e-biking and volcano visits, though there was also plenty of time to relax with beautiful lake views and some good Chilean wine. Definitely what we needed before starting the long journey back home!

 

Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?

The weather down in Torres del Paine is very unpredictable - it can be lashing down one day and then a warm sunny day the next. So definitely bring a good windbreaker and layers to ensure you enjoy all the wild adventure TDP has to offer!

 

Any local snacks, dishes or drinks that should be sampled?

The menu in Explora Atacama has been designed by famous Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez and it shows - the imagination and flavours are out of this world. They use local ingredients like chañar and cachiyuyo to explore the Andean region’s unique flavours and bring the dishes to life. Chupe de coliflor was my favourite food, washed down with a pisco sour for my tipple!

 

Any restaurant or bar recommendations?

All our meals were in the lodges' restaurants since they did all-inclusive and we were out on excursions so often, but nonetheless each was a hearty delight. Every meal in Explora Atacama was incredibly delicious, nutritious and colourful, and Casa Real in the Maipo wine region was a wonderful place to enjoy some wine in their extensive grounds and terrace.

 

Sum up your trip in a sentence?

A Chilean adventure from north to south exploring vibrant desert landscapes, star filled skies, stunning mountain hikes and beautiful volcano backed lakes. And plenty of wine along the way!

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  • Alex
    Alex Walker - Travel Expert

    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

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    Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

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    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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