Group Tours Manager Jim shares his experiences of visiting three contrasting regions in Chile.
Which country did you visit?
Where did you go?
It was a quick trip, but got to see the contrasting regions of Atacama, Torres del Paine and the capital Santiago.
How did you get there?
I flew on the direct service to Santiago with British Airways. It is a long flight but not having to change planes made the journey feel much shorter than normal. The plane is a brand new Dreamliner as well so fantastically modern and comfortable.
Have you been before?
Yes, but not for many years so it felt like going to a new country.
If so…did you notice any differences?
Santiago continues to flourish into a destination in its own right, and has some really fantastic hotels, restaurants and upcoming areas such as Lastarria. The new roads connecting the airport and downtown mean that you can whizz into the city in about half the time you used to. Despite Chile’s growing popularity the beautiful scenery in the Atacama and Torres del Paine hasn’t changed in the 15 years I’ve been visiting which is great to see.
Which was your favourite:
Place: Torres del Paine. Still one of most spectacular places on earth!
Hotel: Tierra Patagonia – modern and sleek with fantastic service and beautiful views.
Excursion: all day in Torres del Paine – driving to beautiful viewpoints throughout the park. Getting out for short walks and wondering at the sheer beauty of the landscape.
What was your most memorable moment?
I was visiting outside the main peak season. Weather is less predictable but chances of seeing wildlife improves. I was amazingly lucky to see 4 pumas in Torres del Paine. And even more excitingly for my guide, a family of 4 huemals, the extremely rare deer which is national animal of Chile.
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
Although the peak season in Torres del Paine is October through to March you can visit outside this time. I was there in May and this meant the park is far quieter and you have a great chance to spot some elusive wildlife. You also get to see the amazing autumnal colours.
Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?
LATAM who operate the majority of flights within Chile offer a free entertainment service on board. You have to download their app so bring a mobile or tablet, login and watch the latest films.
Sum up your trip in a sentence:
From the desert of Atacama to the peaks of Torres, Chile wows with its landscapes.