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Thread: Chile Trip Report

  1. #1
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,410

    Chile Trip Report

    What an incredible experience!

    We had an amazing 2 weeks in Chile, splitting our time between 2 nights in Santiago on the way down, 8 nights in Patagonia then 3 nights back in Santiago before heading home.

    We flew UA from Austin to Houston then an overnight flight (thank you lie-flat seat!) to Santiago arriving at 9:30 local time (3 hours ahead of Austin).

    We stayed at the W Santiago both times and were very happy with it. Nice residential neighborhood feel and close to restaurants.

    The arrival day, we just chilled out walking around the area. Found a French Bistro for lunch and had a nice meal with the first of many, many many Chilean wines.

    The next day, we had arranged a private driver to take us to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar on the coast, about 90 minutes away. We stopped at two wineries on the way.

    We visited Matetic and Kingston Family vineyards. Kingston is a wine club only place and we loved the wine so much we joined the club. Already received the first case.

    BTW, I had read that buying bottles of wine in Chile and shipping them home was worthless because unless it's a very special bottle not available here. Even the wine tour folks told us not to buy the wine at the end of the tour. Kingston ships from California.

    On Tuesday the 26th, we had a 4:00 AM wake up for our 6:00 LAN flight to Puerto Arenas, way down south. After arriving there, the lodge picked us up for the 4 ½ hour drive to Patagonia. Not an easy place to get to!

    Once we got close, the amazing mountains came into view and it was all worth the trouble!

    It’s a cliché but pictures don’t do it justice.

    We stayed at Explora Patagonia, right in the center of the Torres del Paine National Park. This place was amazing! The lodge faces the Cordillera del Paine, which I took about 500 pictures of.

    The way the lodge works is there is a 4-night minimum and you must book in 4 night blocks. We stayed 2 “blocks” or 8 nights. Most of the other guests we met only stayed 4 nights but they we all coming from another South American location or heading to one after Patagonia.

    The main focus here is hiking and horseback riding. I hiked or rode horses everyday.

    The Cordillera del Paine is home to the famous “W” hike. A series of 3 hikes, one up the left side, one up the middle and one up the right side. I managed the left (Grey Glacier) with Lisa and middle hike (French Plateau) no Lisa. That one was a brute.

    After the daily hike, all guests and guides (amazing kids!) would meet in the lounge, grab a cocktail and plan the next day’s hike. There are hundreds of possible hikes/rides and everyday they offer about 10-15 options.

    All meals & liquor are included as are the hikes. You don’t spend a dime once you arrive.

    The food was good, not great. The location makes it very difficult to have a “chef” worthy of the room rates but we were well fed and the wine pours never stopped.

    The Grey Glacier hike culminates with a boat ride to within 50 feet of the Grey Glacier. That think is amazing up close and the shades of blue are unreal.

    After 8 days, we were just at the ready to leave point. It was the perfect length for us.

    We did a reverse drive and fly back to Santiago and stayed 3 more nights.
    This time we hired another private driver to take us to the Colchagua valley and visited Casa Lapostolle, Montes Alpha and Viu Manent wineries.

    All spectacularly beautiful.

    We took an overnight flight Saturday night arriving in Houston at 5:00 AM. If you read my post last week, you know that was a difficult day that was.

    This was truly an amazing journey and a memorable 50th for Lisa. We plan to take more “active” vacations while we can. We can lie on a beach when we’re 90! That said, we are thinking of a beach getaway for later this year. We’ll see what the year brings.

    Here’s a link to a few of the hundreds of pics I took.

    I hope you enjoy and please ask any questions you may have.

    https://chileld2016.shutterfly.com/

  2. #2
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,673
    Great photos! Thanks for sharing.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  3. #3
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,022
    Holy Moley, Menace....that looks and sounds like a trip of a lifetime (or at least the first 50 years)! Those photos are amazing...postcard worthy! Sorry Mrs. Menace had to sit out some hikes; that ankle bump looks gnarly. You mention taking a beach vacation later this year; I know a wonderful little island in the Caribbean you can visit. The food sucks and is very expensive, but the beaches are nice.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  4. #4
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,382
    What a memorable adventure. Thanks for sharing, Dennis
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  5. #5
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793
    Dennis, I'm so glad you guys enjoyed Chile so much, because I feel that since our son owns land there now, we are just a little part of that country! He lived in Valaparaiso ,when he wasn't in the mountains, doing his Avalanche forecasting.
    It really is a special place, thanks for the photos, would love to see more!
    BTW, how did you like the W in Santiago? We didn't stay there, but the rooftop bar had great views.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  6. #6
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,593
    Interesting place. Nice shots.


    Andy

  7. #7
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,285
    Another long awaited trip report
    Great pics, thanks for sharing. It wasn't really on my radar until now. What were the temps like in Patagonia? It looked like you needed to pack pretty creatively.

  8. #8
    cec1 is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,204
    Nice reporting on the trip -- all the experiences in getting there, being there, and returning are captured in ways that made me feel I was along with you. A memorable "50th," for sure.

  9. #9
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,410
    Quote Originally Posted by marybeth View Post
    Another long awaited trip report
    Great pics, thanks for sharing. It wasn't really on my radar until now. What were the temps like in Patagonia? It looked like you needed to pack pretty creatively.

    MB:

    Patagonia has very weird weather and packing was an issue. They have their own microclimate. Never too cold or too hot. However, if you are hiking in the western part of the park, it tends to be colder. The eastern side is warmer. One day we would wear a base layer, fleece, windbreaker, knit hat and the next day shorts and a tee.

  10. #10
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,410
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaP View Post
    Dennis, I'm so glad you guys enjoyed Chile so much, because I feel that since our son owns land there now, we are just a little part of that country! He lived in Valparaiso ,when he wasn't in the mountains, doing his Avalanche forecasting.
    It really is a special place, thanks for the photos, would love to see more!
    BTW, how did you like the W in Santiago? We didn't stay there, but the rooftop bar had great views.
    We liked it. The rooftop pool was great but obviously, not my kind of crowd at night.

    Valparaiso was kinda weird. very dirty, lots of stray dogs and, of course, all the graffiti "art".

    Popular with the kids, for sure!

  11. #11
    julianne is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2003 CT Posts: 3,082
    Excellent report, Dennis. Have not been to Chile but your report makes it look enticing. We like to be active on vacation and your hikes in Patagonia are appealing. What a fine way to celebrate Lisa's fiftieth!

  12. #12
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,822

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    I'm glad I stumbled down here absolutely amazing pics!
    The last of the famous international playboys

  13. #13
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Just looked in here after a long time away. Love your report, Dennis. Also JEK's trip. Wow to both!

  14. #14
    bto is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2003 Saint Louis Posts: 3,460

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Dennis, spectacular photos...what beauty in that part of the world.

  15. #15
    debd is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2005 CT Posts: 911

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Wow. These pictures are just amazing. What a beautiful part of the world.

  16. #16
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 8,044

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Ouch- that ankle hurts but the wine medicine seemed to help. The pictures look peaceful and serene but also cold, lonely and desolate. How many were there as guests while you were there?

  17. #17
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,410

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    Ouch- that ankle hurts but the wine medicine seemed to help. The pictures look peaceful and serene but also cold, lonely and desolate. How many were there as guests while you were there?

    I would answer but you'll never return to this thread.

  18. #18
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,673

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    I would answer but you'll never return to this thread.
    How can you be sure?
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  19. #19
    bto is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2003 Saint Louis Posts: 3,460

    Re: Chile Trip Report

    ROFLMAO....trust me

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