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Chile in August/September

Chile in August/September

Old Apr 23, 18, 2:59 pm
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Chile in August/September

Looking for some recommendations for Chile in August/September. We are going down to Patagonia for six nights (yes I know it's winter) and staying at Explora Patagonia. I have another six nights to plan before our return trip out of Santiago. I was looking at Puerto Varas for three nights and then spending three nights in Santiago. Information seems to be very limited, especially for visits in the winter.

Not sure how much outdoor activites we are going to want to engage in after Patagonia as our intent is to hike most of the 'W' in Torres Del Paine, weather permitting. However if there are some spots we should check out please send our way. Neither one of us ski so we don't want to do that. Also, not terribly interested in going to the desert in the north, I'm just not a desert person. Any recommendations?

We do like wine, food, museums, and outdoor activities.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 5:44 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperDudley View Post
Looking for some recommendations for Chile in August/September. We are going down to Patagonia for six nights (yes I know it's winter) and staying at Explora Patagonia. I have another six nights to plan before our return trip out of Santiago. I was looking at Puerto Varas for three nights and then spending three nights in Santiago. Information seems to be very limited, especially for visits in the winter.

Not sure how much outdoor activites we are going to want to engage in after Patagonia as our intent is to hike most of the 'W' in Torres Del Paine, weather permitting. However if there are some spots we should check out please send our way. Neither one of us ski so we don't want to do that. Also, not terribly interested in going to the desert in the north, I'm just not a desert person. Any recommendations?

We do like wine, food, museums, and outdoor activities.
3 nights in Pto. Varas is a long time, especially in the rain. It is a tiny picturesque little tiny (did I say tiny?) town. So are the nearby towns of Pto. Octay and Frutillar. Valdivia (not tiny) would also not be a fun place in the winter. I suppose the termas at Puyehue could be nice, even in miserable weather. Road conditions should be good in all but the most miserable weather. Nonetheless, I'd go stircrazy bored out there for 3 nights indoors, steaming hot water or not.

Even though you're not a big desert fan (and I'm not going to recommend the more famous, and farther, desert locations), you might consider the short flight hop up to La Serena and drive out into the Valle de Elqui. Odds are very good that you will have clear skies, and the scenery (mountainous desert and you'll be in a narrow river valley) is spectacular. The northermost wine (generally) is grown there, most of the country's pisco grapes come from there, and it is the home of many of the southern hemisphere's great telescopes. Consider a couple of nights out at a cabaņa in Cochiguaz. If there's a new moon, you'll see billions of stars.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 9:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
3 nights in Pto. Varas is a long time, especially in the rain. It is a tiny picturesque little tiny (did I say tiny?) town. So are the nearby towns of Pto. Octay and Frutillar. Valdivia (not tiny) would also not be a fun place in the winter. I suppose the termas at Puyehue could be nice, even in miserable weather. Road conditions should be good in all but the most miserable weather. Nonetheless, I'd go stircrazy bored out there for 3 nights indoors, steaming hot water or not.

Even though you're not a big desert fan (and I'm not going to recommend the more famous, and farther, desert locations), you might consider the short flight hop up to La Serena and drive out into the Valle de Elqui. Odds are very good that you will have clear skies, and the scenery (mountainous desert and you'll be in a narrow river valley) is spectacular. The northermost wine (generally) is grown there, most of the country's pisco grapes come from there, and it is the home of many of the southern hemisphere's great telescopes. Consider a couple of nights out at a cabaņa in Cochiguaz. If there's a new moon, you'll see billions of stars.
Wonderful recommendation. Thank you. I'll look into it.
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Old Apr 24, 18, 10:50 am
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I spent a winter (July/August) in Puerto Varas a few years ago, so I can speak to that.

The town will be dead. A lot of the restaurants and shops in town (and perhaps some hotels as well) are closed in the winter. That said, the hotels that are open are generally not terribly expensive. It will be very sleepy in the region, but the natural beauty is still there. I took the ferry from Petrohue to Peulla, and it was gorgeous. Another good option in the south is Chiloé - a beautiful island with charming, small fishing towns and historic wooden churches.

Keep in mind that the weather will likely be moderately cold (30s-50s) and could also be quite rainy. Also, central heating there is not really a thing, even in many hotels, so don't be surprised if your heat comes from a wood-burning stove in the hallway that's turned off overnight.
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Old Apr 24, 18, 4:50 pm
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Don't forget about Easter Island. Three days there is enough, and there are a variety of active options.

La Serena is a good option, I agree with that. Also, keep in mind that Sept 18 & 19 are national holidays with lots of things closed. Sounds like you'll be gone before then, but thought I'd be sure you were aware.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 8:53 am
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We are going to fly into La Serena and spend three nights in the valley. Thank you all for the recommendations.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 9:46 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperDudley View Post
We are going to fly into La Serena and spend three nights in the valley. Thank you all for the recommendations.
I like it out there. You might want to stock up on bottled water and snacks in a supermarket before you head too far out. It isn't that you'll starve or go thirsty, but options are limited. Also, there's a great place in Vicuņa for a Pastel de Choclo (a baked corn pie filled with meats, egg, etc.) - it is close to the town square. I've eaten there a few times, but couldn't tell you the name, or even if it is still there. (Also, you can even stock up at the gas station right off the highway in Vicuņa.)

Note that you do not pump your own gas - known as Bencina (for gasoline) or Combustible (for fuel) - and if you want a full tank ... "hasta full."
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Old May 1, 18, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I like it out there. You might want to stock up on bottled water and snacks in a supermarket before you head too far out. It isn't that you'll starve or go thirsty, but options are limited. Also, there's a great place in Vicuņa for a Pastel de Choclo (a baked corn pie filled with meats, egg, etc.) - it is close to the town square. I've eaten there a few times, but couldn't tell you the name, or even if it is still there. (Also, you can even stock up at the gas station right off the highway in Vicuņa.)

Note that you do not pump your own gas - known as Bencina (for gasoline) or Combustible (for fuel) - and if you want a full tank ... "hasta full."
Great choice, I was just there about mid month last month during ht new moon. Stayed in Pisco Elqui in a comfortable modern-rustic cabin with a small pool.

Vicuņa has the last major chain supermarket, a Unimarc, before proceeding further inland. We stocked up at the Jumbo in La Serena and there is also a Hyper Lider (Walmart) a couple blocks away from the Plaza de Armas. There are various local buses that can you take you to Pisco Elqui and as far as Horcon (limited service to Horcon, perhaps only 2-3 times a day). A taxi or private transport will not be cheap. Try the local pan amasado, queso de cabra, if you are a carnivore cabrito (goat), and the pisco of course and the various pisco sours using local ingredients to flavor them.

There is a one man tourist office in the plaza where the old church is in Pisco Elqui. There are also various agencies in town that rent bikes and sell tours and various outdoor activities.

Bring your binoculars and a good small flashlight.
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Last edited by Viajero Perpetuo; May 1, 18 at 9:30 am
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Old Aug 18, 18, 3:39 am
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We are going to Explora Patagonia in November. We decided that we probably would rather do trips to other places after this instead of go back to chile so we thought it would be best to see the capital of santiago in conjunction with Explora. To only go to chil once and see patagonia and atacama, or patagonia and valparaiso, etc but not see santiago would feel incomplete i believe.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by YKF View Post
We are going to Explora Patagonia in November. We decided that we probably would rather do trips to other places after this instead of go back to chile so we thought it would be best to see the capital of santiago in conjunction with Explora. To only go to chil once and see patagonia and atacama, or patagonia and valparaiso, etc but not see santiago would feel incomplete i believe.
We had an amazing time at Explora. Make sure you bring lots of layers as the weather changes really quickly. We had a pretty good snow storm just a few days ago and were hiking knee deep in snow. The staff is super accommodating however you really need to push them if you want to do harder hikes right away. They usually test you out and make sure you're fit enough for them.

We are currently outside of Vicuna. Unfortunately it is cloudy so not much we can do to see the stats. We are off to Pisco Elqui today.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperDudley View Post
Not sure how much outdoor activites we are going to want to engage in after Patagonia as our intent is to hike most of the 'W' in Torres Del Paine, weather permitting.
Please check this before deciding what to do. I just came back from Torres. I doubt the refugios would be open at all. All the staff that I had spoken to only works during the summer/tourist season. Each refugio was re-supplied daily. I can't believe they do that under bad winter conditions. I'd assume most of the paths are closed during the winter as well.
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