We did a five week tour of Chile (and a little bit of Argentina). Chile is an amazing place with incredible natural beauty. The infrastructure is good and there are lots of good options for lodging and dining. The people are welcoming and helpful, but it's good to know a bit of Spanish to help things along.
Our travel agency did a wonderful job putting together all the details that made this trip a delightful experience. Just as importantly, they were only a phone call away when things threatened to go off track. While we were traveling in Patagonia, our agent quickly came up with a great Plan B when part of our trip that was cancelled due to weather, and then worked hard to get us a refund on the cancelled part. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this company to anyone!
We were blown away by the Torres del Paine national park. Great hiking and beautiful scenery and we loved having a luxury yurt to come back to in the evening.
Calafate was another beautiful place and our agency found us a wonderful Estancia for a real Patagonian experience. Riding horses on the pampas, hiking on a glacier, eating at an asado with the owner's family...memorable!
Lake country was a good place to get a real feel for Chile. It was busy with Chilean families on vacation, but there were enough places to get off the beaten track a bit. Hiking on a volcano, seeing crystal clear waterfalls, staying at memorable lodges, river rafting and kayaking, trail riding were favorite activities.
Wine country was fun too. We stayed at several beautiful wineries. So great to be able to taste wine, eat dinner in the on-site restaurant and then walk back to your room. A perfect way to experience this area.
I would skip Ushuaia. We had planned to go across the Beagle Channel to Navarino Island, but the weather kept us in Ushuaia. The town has no charm to speak of, at least when it's blowing 45kts and snowing in mid-January! And it's a long way from anywhere else. Fine for a jumping off point, but I wouldn't go there just to see the city.
Also, I would spend more time in the Lake District. Lots of natural beauty there, but distances are long and drives slow due to poor roads. I would have loved to see more of it.
Lastly, I would make it to Atacama. Talked to many fellow travelers that said it was fantastic, so were sorry hadn't included it on our itinerary. But, hopefully we will be back to Chile again!
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