South America - 2 hrs enough time to make int'l-to-dom connex at SCL?
Dec 9, 11, 1:56 am
Hi, just wondering if anyone can tell me whether two hours is enough time to pay the visa fee, collect bags, clear customs, etc., and make it from an int'l flight from N.Y.C. to SCL (arriving at 7:45 a.m.) to a domestic flight from SCL to Punta Arenas on Sky Airlines (departing at 9:50 a.m.)? The flights would be in early Jan. 2012.
Our other option is a noon flight out of SCL to Punta Arenas (arriving at 4:10 p.m.), but it's not clear whether the hotel shuttle at the other end (from Punta Arenas to TDP) will wait for us that late...
Dec 9, 11, 7:58 am
At 2 hours it's doable but you'd be cutting it close. I've had times where my bags were ready and waiting after immigration but others where I've waited 20+ min in addition to the the 20+ at immigration and then 15 in customs. Also, the lines at Sky for check in can get very long. Security to get into the domestic terminal shouldn't be a problem. I've never waited more than 6min in it.
There's lots of buses that will take you to P Natales if your hotel wont wait. From there you can grab another shuttle or convince your hotel to get you from there. Where are you staying in the park?
Lastly if your fit and want a good hike with incredible views I'd highly recommend the Ferrier (sp?) hike that starts right next to the car park/ranger station to lago grey. It was harder, due to vert, for me than the hike to the towers.
Dec 9, 11, 8:13 am
Thanks so much, obiwan9, for the airport guidance -- and for the good hiking tip.
In fact, if you have suggestions for other places to stay in or near the park, that would be helpful too. We are close to reserving with Hotel Las Torres, but I haven't heard back from them, and I'm getting antsy to lock something down, since the trip is drawing near...
Dec 10, 11, 4:51 am
It's Chile, things don't move very fast down here, plus it's a holiday weekend. I've found calling works much better than emails.
The issue with staying in the park is you have to decide which things you want to commute to as its quite vast. I stayed at Lago Grey, parents have been at Explora, and a friend just got back from Las Torres. No one said anything bad, but each has draw backs.
Discounts on the boat tour but long commute to torres and french valley. If you go stay in the newer rooms with lake views, ideally #'s 910+. The higher the better as there's a few trees in the way of the lower rooms. Also the dinners are mediocre, I found better value eating sandwiches in the bar. Bring your own wine and an opener as well for better selection/price.
Explora: Only draw back is its $$$$. Food incredible, guides incredible, view incredible, etc.
Hostelria Torres: I only went in after our towers hike for a beer. Nice open center area my friend who just got back last week had no issues. A "better" location as you only have to commute to lago grey to hit the big three. But if I remember you have to get up very early to make it to the boat for the glacier ride.
If you lay over in Natales, Mesita Grande had good pizza and oddly good service for Chile.
Lastly, I'm not sure if it's open but taking the boat to monumento los pinguinos is 100% worth it in Punta Arenas. Once on the island bolt for the light house, the penguins aren't going anywhere, and then you can work your way back slow without the crowd.
Dec 10, 11, 2:28 pm
This is so helpful. Thanks a million for the great advice. I really appreciate it.
We're going with Hosteria Las Torres in the park, and def going to check out the penguins!
Dec 18, 11, 4:33 pm
Figured I'd offer an update.
Came into SCL today and if your in the front of the plane you shouldn't have issues with a 2 hour layover. Six folks in the immigration line in front of me, bags were quick off combined with a short customs got me in the cab from DL147 at 9:05. About 40 min in all.