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01 Front Cover final.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel

01 Front Cover final.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel

Chile by road Typical

Chile by road Typical road, northern Chile As well as the 4,300 kilometres of coastline, Chile’s unique geography also creates some wonderful opportunities for road travel, either with a driver on some of the more challenging terrain, or driving yourself. Independent selfdrive in South America as a whole is not always the easiest thing in the world, even for experienced independent travellers, because of undeveloped roads, a lack of ‘road etiquette’ and sparse road signs. Chile, however, is an exception and offers fantastic opportunities to explore under your own steam. The romantic notion of driving from top to bottom of the country is actually an impossibility though, as the Southern Patagonia Ice Field bisects the country, and the roads cannot cross it. The North One of the most spectacular overland trips in the world is between southwestern Bolivia and Chile’s Atacama Desert. This is a trip where you definitely need to be a passenger and let an expert who knows the area do the driving, as much of it is off-road amongst the Salar de Uyuni salt flats (see page 30), volcanoes and colourful lagoons. The scenery is breathtaking, from seeing the curvature of the earth when standing on the dazzling white salt, to the descent into the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. The Explora hotel (see page 107) arranges a travesía (‘journey’) from its property in San Pedro up through this area, in incredibly luxurious style considering the remoteness of the terrain. There are also other less expensive options for those not staying at the Explora. These trips stay in simpler places with less creature comforts, but all use sturdy 4x4s, a pre requisite for the region. The Centre Driving yourself from Santiago down to the Chilean Lake District is a wonderfully relaxing few days along good roads, via some of the best wine-producing regions in the country. Once in the Lake District, you will find some of the best self-driving opportunities in South America, with good roads that skirt by emerald green lakes, wind around volcanoes and pass through small picturesque towns. To the north of the region you will find the town of Pucón nestled under the Villarrica Volcano and as you travel south from here you enter one of the most indigenous parts of Chile. The Huilo Huilo Nature Reserve lies on the other side of the volcano, and is full of ancient woodland, remote lakes and a deep sense of history and tradition rooted in the Mapuche Indian past. Driving south you enter a region that was heavily populated by German immigrants in the 19th century. This is the most commonly visited part of the region, focused around the town of Puerto Varas. Having a car here allows you the flexibility to explore the region at your own pace. Driving over into the Argentinian Lake District is possible, but one of the quirks of the hire car set up is that it can be prohibitively expensive to return a hire car to a different country, so we would recommend looping back into Chile. For the more adventurous there is the option of driving further south, down into the Aisén region. Mainly on unpaved roads, and with the need for some ferries, this can be a challenging trip, but it is through some of the most pristine areas of Chile, much of it national parks. There are lodges along the route, which becomes more rugged as you travel south. Finally, you can go no further, the road stops at the settlement of Villa O’Higgins as the Southern Patagonian Ice Field proves an impassable barrier. The South Below the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, roads start up again, and exploring this end of Chile by road is all about long journeys across wide open expanses of Patagonian steppe. Driving yourself around Torres del Paine National Park is an interesting way of seeing the magnificent scenery at your own pace, giving you a little more flexibility to explore on your own rather than being in a group. www.audleytravel.com/chile ● 01993 838 640 ● Chile 111

Torres del Paine National Park Torres del Paine National Park The most famous national park in Chile and all of Patagonia, Torres del Paine is remote, rugged and windswept. While this makes it lengthy to reach and demanding to explore, its seclusion is the very essence of its appeal and it is undeniably worth the effort. Unless crossing into the park by road from Argentina via El Calafate, you will arrive by air into Punta Arenas; Chile’s southernmost city, a bustling place of multi-coloured houses that resonate with pioneer spirit. You may wish to stay a night here before or after your time in the park itself, in order to break up the long journey. To get into the park you will travel through the Patagonian steppe for 300 kilometres Explora en Patagonia 112 to Puerto Natales, and then on another 100 kilometres to the park itself where your first sighting of the eponymous torres (towers) and the uniquely smooth and twisted cuernos (horns) of the Paine Massif will be unforgettable. Once there, the incredible landscape is waiting to be explored, either by foot, boat, bike, horse or vehicle. We particularly recommend an afternoon’s sailing on Lago Grey to approach the glacier of the same name, navigating through vivid blue icebergs on the way. However you choose to explore you will marvel at emerald and turquoise lakes, waterfalls and grazing guanacos. For those who fancy some trekking you can take a hard day’s hike to the base of the towers, or a longer circuit involving camping and up to six days’ walking. EXPLORA EN PATAGONIA, TORRES DEL PAINE Sister to the Atacama hotel, the Patagonian Explora may be wildly different in terms of setting, but its design, facilities and service are equally outstanding. All public areas and the Scandinavianstyle bedrooms have views of the lake, mountain range or the Salto Chico waterfall. Some rooms have Jacuzzis, but there are also open air pools, saunas and hot tubs. As in the Atacama, all your transportation, meals and excursions are included, and the expert guides will share with you their knowledge and love of Chile’s most famous national park. REMOTA, PUERTO NATALES An ultra-modern, environmentally-friendly building on the water’s edge to the north of Puerto Natales, Remota has comfortable and stylish rooms, and large public areas dominated by open fires with spectacular views of Seno Ultima Esperanza. The hotel aims to show visitors more of Chilean Patagonia than a traditional visit to Torres del Paine National Park may offer by organising trips outside of the main park areas. PATAGONIA CAMP, TORRES DEL PAINE Located on the shores of Lago Toro, an hour from Puerto Natales and an hour from the famous towers of Torres del Paine, Patagonia Camp accommodates its guests in ‘yurts’ or wooden tents with central heating and en suite facilities. Each yurt has fantastic views and a private balcony and a skylight in the roof so you can see the stars while you lie in bed. Patagonia Camp

01 Front Cover final.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel
01 Front Cover final.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel
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01 Front Cover final:Audley brochure ARTWORK ... - Audley Travel
01/144 front and back cover.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel
01 Front Cover final.qxd:Audley brochure ... - Audley Travel
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Audley brochure ARTWORK templates (Page 1) - Audley Travel
Audley brochure ARTWORK templates (Page 1) - Audley Travel
Calcutta & the East - Audley Travel