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Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

Arlington, MA
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Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

We are headed to Chile From August 30 morning arrival (at Santiago) - Sept 9 (evening departure out of Santiago) for our delayed honeymoon and are super excited! We are looking for some advice on things to do/where to stay. Chile is so large and has so many amazing features, we just can't decide. We're hoping you may be able to help guide us on some itineraries. We are a very active couple (rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, etc) and we'd definitely like to see Patagonia as best as possible (the key points) and would like hikes/adventures to challenge ourselves but also get us to see the park. It may be nice to throw in a winery tour one day if need to fill in a stop somewhere, or a day or two of skiing. On these notes- can anyone suggest any itineraries we can do on our own, or tour packages? We'd prefer to stay in places that aren't too pricey as we are budget travelers (rooms up to $125ish a night preferable), and we are even willing to consider hostels or backpacking in the park if need be. Please help us get the best out of Chile during or stay!

Thanks in advance for your advice and tips!

Santiago, Chile
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1. Re: Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

Your main problem is going to be lodging inside the park. Most of the refugios, shared accomodation, will be closed until mid-September. These are the opening dates for the Fantastico Sur refugios and campgrounds:

fantasticosur.com/en/…

The other refugios are owned and run by Vertice. I believe Mountain Lodge Paine Grande stays open all year. Otherwise your options are reduced to hotels, some of which close and all of which are quite expensive. Contact Vertice. The other option is to stay in Puerto Natales and do a couple of day trips to the park, but it is a couple of hours each way, or more depending on where you want to go in the park.

Treks may be limited due to snow in the higher spots but there are always treks available. The park can be visited all year but it takes a bit more planning out of season.

Arlington, MA
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2. Re: Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

Thanks for the information dancingmolly. I think we're going to book Mountain Lodge Paine Grande for one night at the end of the W trail. We'll backpack in and just find a place to set-up camp each night in the general areas that people would usually camp at during the in season. Do you think that will be a problem at all? My husband is trained in mountaineering and has experience with winter hikes/backpack trips so I don't foresee this being too out of his realm especially since this is towards the beginning of your spring! For me it will be a new experience though :)

Here is our skeleton itinerary. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc… Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. I know it's tight some days with traveling but we're used to that when we travel as we try to do as much as possible! Towards the end of the week we allow for a slower schedule to relax a bit and enjoy Santiago:.

Thanks so much for the advice and help!

Edited: 11:21 am, July 17, 2013
Santiago, Chile
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3. Re: Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

You are only allowed to camp in designated areas and if the campgrounds are closed you can't use them - and the park takes this very seriously. There is no independent camping in Torres del Paine. So I am not really sure how you can do the W but suggest you contact Vertice and ask. There may be some campgrounds not attached to refugios which remain open, perhaps Italiano. I don't really know, but I suggest you find out before you go so you are not disappointed. When you enter the park you give them your planned itinerary and if there are any trails closed they tell you then.

Have a look at the winter itinerary on this tour to give yourselves an idea of what is possible.

erraticrock.com/expeditions/…

Erratic Rock also does an afternoon informational chat in Puerto Natales, at 3 pm, open to all, which should give you an idea of current conditions in the park.

Santiago, Chile
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4. Re: Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

For skiing, Portillo is a trip you will never forget, but is a 2 hour drive or more depending on the truck traffic (mountain road). Go early, and note there is nowhere stay nearby aside from the hotel, but if your want to spend the night, there is a cheap option, the "Inca Lodge", check it out at www.skiportillo.com. Second day you could go to the three valleys, which is only one hour from Stgo by transfer and has oodles of lifts and runs with different vistas. You will be drinking wine everywhere, so no need to take a day off and go tour vineyards. There are nice walks around Stgo if you are interested, let me know.

5. Re: Help us plan a Patagonia Experience to remember!

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