Travelling to Chilean Patagonia’s famous hiking hub Torres del Paine National Park with the family or that one special someone works fine for many people. Some people can pack up the kids and the significant other and head off into the wilderness to hike for weeks at a time surrounded by nothing but smiles, enthusiasm and the great outdoors. Some families work great together on the road and enjoy facing new challenges, tasting new foods and seeing new sights together. And then again, some don’t! It’s actually not as unusual as you’d think for couples to have hugely different interests and for kids to want to do their own thing. So what do you do? Do you give up altogether on your Patagonia hiking vacation aspirations? Do you take the plunge and travel solo? Or do you read our guide to why and how to travel with friends in Torres del Paine National Park?
Kaleidoscope Travel Blog
Travel news, holiday tips, Chilean culture & history, how to travel in style and be eco chic along the way! The kaleidescope features interesting vacation and fun facts which can help you with your travel plans or give you an insight into something fresh. Any ideas you'd like to see written about please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're keen to get kaleidoscope updates subscribe to our Feed or via Email.
In many parts of the world, the very mention of street food would have us breaking out in a cold sweat and rummaging through our bags for the hand sanitizing gel. Fortunately, in Chile street food is generally okay on the hygiene front, although personally we’d warn visitors away from buying sushi from the guy with a cooler outside the Metro station, but surely that’s just common sense! Aside from that, Chile has a wide range of savoury and sweet street treat options for when you’re too busy exploring to sit down for a meal.
Here’s the good news, ecotourism is booming in Patagonia and throughout the world. In fact, it’s estimated that the ecotourism sector is growing around 5% each year, which is just what’s needed in the ecologically delicate environment of Patagonia.
Now here’s the bad news. The rise in popularity of green tourism has caused some of the less scrupulous hotels and tourism suppliers to take advantage of this global trend by simply slapping the eco-friendly badge on their products without doing the legwork to ensure that they truly are environmentally friendly. In other words, they’re all talk and no composting toilets. There’s even a name for this dubious practice which has come to be known as ‘greenwashing’.
Unfortunately, that means it’s no longer enough to book a vacation in Patagonia with a supplier sporting an eco-friendly label and then forget all about it, assuming you’ve done your bit. These days, you’re going to have to get savvy if you want to be sure you’re making a difference in the right way. That’s why we’ve put together our six steps to help you dodge the eco-pretenders!
The South Andean Deer or huemul (pronounced way-mool) is a true icon of Chilean fauna, appearing alongside the condor on Chile’s official coat of arms. Yet it is also endangered and threatened with extinction, with around 15,000 individuals left in the wilds of Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia. This week however, there was a small ray of hope for the gentle huemul, as a new study from Cambridge University reported an increase in the huemul population of Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins’ National Park. To celebrate this small step forward for our hoofed friends, we’re taking a look at where to spot a huemul in Chile!
Patagonia is usually seen as a place of monumental landscapes, uninhabited expanses of grassland, forests or glaciers, a land devoid of human influence. Yet if we look a little closer we see that Patagonia has a complex human history that stretches back far into the unseen past, a history that we can still find traces of today. When the first European explorers reached the far south of the Latin American continent they found large footprints and saw tall figures on the shores, dubbing them the Patagon giants. Unfortunately, although many of the region’s indigenous peoples were only contacted by Europeans for the first time in the late 19th Century, most disappeared before it was possible to learn and record much about them. However it is still possible to find clues to their existence tucked away in the vast wilds of Patagonia.
If you’re wishing the days away dreaming about your next wild hiking vacation then you need to take a look at our selection of videos showing hiking adventures in Chilean Patagonia’s world famous Torres del Paine National Park. We’ve got videos to excite your imagination whether you’re a solo traveller, an adrenaline addict, or just a bunch of friends looking for their next adventure. But be warned, no matter who you are, we guarantee that once you’ve watched these videos you won’t be able to rest until you’ve booked your own hiking tour in Torres del Paine National Park!
Now that EcoCamp's 2012/13 season is over we're looking back at some of our best photos of the season! We brought you our Top 10 Patagonia group photos EcoCamp 2012/13 highlighting the best photos from our group contest which ran throughout the season. What did you think, any photos missing we should have featured? This week we bring you the Top 10 Patagonia Romantic Moments EcoCamp 2012/13! Patagonia itself is a mystical place with a certain romantic allure and these couples show us how to do romance in the wilderness!
The Atacama Desert straddles Chile’s northern borders with Bolivia, Peru and even Argentina. It’s known as the driest desert on Earth, but if that conjures up images of miles and miles of empty wasteland, it’s time to take a fresh look. Although some areas of the Atacama Desert are indeed parched - and are all the more fascinating for it - the landscape of the Atacama Desert is so rich and varied that you’re always surprised by something new. Steaming volcanoes, choppy salt flats, sky-high lakes and gurgling geysers are all within reach on your Atacama Desert tour. Here’s our pick of what not to miss!
A visit to the Mylodon’s Cave in Chilean Patagonia is often billed as a way to break up the long overland journey from Punta Arenas airport to Torres del Paine National Park. The shallow cave was the site of the 1895 discovery of a large piece of what turned out to be giant sloth, or mylodon, skin. Today, the cave is preserved as a monument to the discovery of the mylodon but since most of the remains are no longer within the cave itself, is it really worth the visit? And rather than thinking of the cave as a stop-off on the way to Torres del Paine, does it deserve to be seen as an attraction in its own right? We went to find out, and the answer was a resounding yes!
The sun may still be shining brightly here in Chile, but winter in the southern hemisphere is just around the corner. The winter months of June to August will soon be upon us, but if you’re planning a Chile tour for 2013, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until September to get moving. In fact, Chile’s extraordinarily varied landscape means that there’s as much to do in Chile during winter as at any other time of year. We’ve picked out our very favourite Chile tours for winter!