More information about what to expect on this walking holiday to Chile including group size, when to go and how comfortable you can expect to be.
When should I go?
Weather in the Atacama can change at any time. Rains come in January, February and March (Bolivian winter affects this part of Chile). Nights are cold due to the altitude of the area 2,000m – 4,000m.
The best time of year to visit Patagonia is October to April. You are likely to experience cold evenings and mornings but mild daytime temperatures.
The proximity of the Andes mean that it quickly gets cold at night. Be prepared for rainfall.
Some high altitude walking in the Atacama but these are ‘return to base’ so you can choose not to walk on these days.
Reasonably strenuous walks over five consecutive days in Patagonia but your bags are portaged, you are at sea level and distances are not great.
First class small hotels with twin/double en suite rooms throughout except four nights in Patagonia’s mixed, communal refuges.
Your luggage is portaged in Torres del Paine making the pace of this walk very relaxed and comfortable.
You will be part of a small guided group, 12 maximum. We also offer private and tailor made departures.
Who is it for?
In general this holiday attracts people in their 40s through 50s/60s, though there’s no barrier to younger and older. There is usually a 60:40 mix of couples and solo travellers.
Pura Aventura is passionate about the places it visits. To help preserve the integrity of these destinations we:
• Keep groups small to minimise environmental impact.
• Work directly with local businesses and organisations to directly benefit local economies. We use small, locally owned hotels and restaurants. We know the owners except in the large cities.
• Work with local guides so that our holidays are more interesting for clients and more beneficial locally.
• Make payment to suppliers before our clients arrive.
Pura Handmade Holiday
We have designed and deliver this holiday using our own people and carefully selected local suppliers to create a Pura Handmade holiday.
You are looked after by a Pura team on the ground in Santiago, the Atacama and Patagonia.
What makes our Atacama different?
At Pura Aventura we try to do things a bit differently.
The Atacama is a popular destination with a well-worn checklist of excursions. Whilst these are beautiful, we prefer to stay off the beaten track. We think that it’s better to be outside in the fresh air with a few people than travelling in a crowd.
Sunset in the desert
The usual way is to drive out of town to the rim of the Valley of the Moon, then walk just to the edge from where you watch the sun setting over the desert. On a busy day there can be over a hundred people sitting in a long line.
Our way is to drive out of town to the rim of a valley; walk down across a sand dune; over a short stretch of salt flat and into a narrow gorge in the salt mountains. As you follow the gorge, the air cools and the rocks crackle, with bats and owls flying overhead. Emerge into a natural amphitheatre hidden away in the middle of the hills, from where you watch the sunset.
The salt flats and lagoons
The usual way is to drive a dirt road to the large lagoons in the heart of the salt flats; have time to wander, take in the scenery and watch the large colony of flamingoes before returning by vehicle.
Our way is to ride bikes straight from your hotel to a series of small lagoons towards the northern edge of the salt flats, close to San Pedro where you have time to wander, swim and watch a smaller colony of flamingoes.
We also take you to places with nothing comparable on the usual tours. Walk down through the mountains from high oases to low villages following ancient Inca pathways. Most spectacular of all is the walk up to the heady heights of Toco volcano.
The one ‘checklist’ place we do take you to are the Tatio geysers. Whilst spectacular, you can see from the photos the sort of visitor numbers you can expect.
We really think that our exploration of the Atacama desert is different and better than anything offered by anyone else.
What makes our Patagonia different?
Pura Aventura was founded because of a chance meeting in Torres del Paine so it holds a special place in our hearts.
Torres del Paine is unique because within a relatively small area, you find every aspect of Patagonian scenery: mountains, lakes, glaciers, forests and grasslands.There is really no other place you can see such variety in such a compact area.
Our way is to follow the famous ‘W’ route which cuts across the park from glacier to grassland. In order to get close to the spectacular mountains and glaciers you have to leave behind the hotels and lodges which are in the south of the park. You have to sacrifice some creature comforts, but the guides, porters and refugios make it comfortable and civilised.
Walks are generally between four and five hours and are quite accessible for anyone who enjoys hill walking in the UK.
You stay in refuges or mountain huts during the walk. They are not luxurious but they do allow you to shower each day and to enjoy a hot meal and glass of wine at night.
You have a team of porters carrying your overnight things from refuge to refuge so that you can walk with just a daypack.
Your guides are experts in this area, and the Park in particular. They therefore know how to pace the walk, when to sit tight and wait for weather to clear and when to head out.
Rather than crossing over high passes, you are walking between the mountains and the lakes so the path is basically undulating without hard ascents and descents.
Most of Torres del Paine is just above sea level. The park is at roughly the same relative latitude as Manchester. Summer daytime temperatures are usually comfortably in the mid-teens celsius. There’s an average of 16 hours daylight in the summer months so the pace can be relaxed.
As you already know, Pura Aventura is dedicated to safe and responsible travel. The links below provide useful content and more information about Chile. Please call us of any special requirements on 01273 676 712.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides useful travel advices on Chile.
BBC News provides useful information about Chile. Read more about it.
Official Government website
Find out more about Chile, by visiting its official governement website.
Prepare your holiday
Before you go on your holiday to Chile, please ensure you have the correct vaccinations. Check out the NHS website for advices and visit your GP or a travel clinic.
For the latest information on the Chilean Peso currency, visit the ICE website.
To know the forecast in Chile, visit wunderground.
Pura’s Amazon shop
Find out our own Chile selection in Amazon.co.uk for a wide range of travel essentials, such as books, gadgets, clothing, etc. in preparation for your upcoming holiday.
If you are leaving from the UK, and want to be easy in your mind before you leave, book your train ticket or airport hotel now.
If you are going to one of our Chile self drive holidays you will perhaps need to know more about the car traffic. Maplandia provides good maps.
Have more information about train timetables and bookings in Chile.
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