Summer 2012: Recommended destinations

A New Year starts, holidays are already here, and as it is always amusing to make lists, our team of experts at GoChile gives its own recommendations for you to visit the best places this summer.

First destination: Carretera Austral

By Héctor Gatica, Sales Manager
“I recommend visiting the Carretera Austral because the weather during summer is perfect for traveling around its several assets, and unlike other touristic destinations in Chile, it is not full of tourists. You’ll have the opportunity to gaze at the wonderful Carretera Austral, to visit and go around lakes, rivers, mountains and other touristic attractions of the area such as the Catedrales de mármol (marble cathedrals), glaciers, the General Carrera Lake, and Caleta Tortel (Tortel cove) among others, experiencing the customs, traditions and the culture of the locals.”

Recommended product: Caleta Tortel (Tortel Cove) program
“I suggest this program because Caleta Tortel is an amazing place in the Patagonia located between the Northern and Southern ice fields with more than 8 kilometers of footbridges tha t reach every corner. In this program you can also visit great part of the Carretera Austral and important natural attractions such as the Capillas de Mármol, the Baker river and the General Carrera lake, the biggest lake in Chile and the second in South America. Apart from this you will be able to go to quaint towns as Murta, Cochrane, the above mentioned Caleta Tortel, and the city of Coyhaique, the starting point to visit the whole Carretera Austral, northen and southern.

This program has the flexibility to be booked as a regular tour, with more passengers or in a Self drive where you can rent a car (which we can include) and so you can make your own itinerary, at your own pace, stopping where you prefer to, but always being oriented and guided by our local operator”

Destination 2: Regions of Araucanía and Los Ríos

By Catalina Zuñiga, sales executive
“Personally, I really like the Araucanía. In summer, Pucón is one of the most entertaining places in the South. You have plenty of lakes and the variety of activities to do there is amazing, from hiking in the National park Huerquehue, Conguillio or Villarrica, rafting, kayaking, visiting volcanic caves, horseback riding ,tours to indigenous communities, climb the Villarica Volcano, and of course, a lot of nightlife. Every city in this region has its own special feature. Valdivia is a very beautiful city, but you have to put up with the rain any time of the year. A must is a stroll along the Calle Calle River and a visit to the Kuntsmann brewery. This region is a green paradise where you can breathe purity.”

Recommended product: Baobab Hotel
“For lovers of pure nature, I recommend the Huilo Huilo Reserve where you can find 5 stars hotels, cottages, flora and fauna, and a clear connection to Argentina which makes it easier to cross to the neighboring country from there. The Baobab hotel has an original architecture and decoration which tries to emulate millennial African trees. It also has a spa, indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs in the middle of the forest. It also offers entertaining activities and snow all year, where passengers can do activities with children. Another feature is a small brewery, where you can sample and buy beer. I cannot miss the opportunity to highlight the fact that the hotel gives the passengers the chance to see the huemules (type of deer), they have them in a protected environment, ideal to help in their conservation process.

The hotel has a wide variety of menus and Chilean wines as well as a varied delicious breakfast, very southern like! The rooms have a rustic style, always warm and with nice views of the forests (the hotel is in the middle of the Patagonian forest). For those who are looking for a good place to rest, this is it!”

Destination 3: Chiloé

By Alfonso Hartard, General Manager.
“I recommend visiting the island of Chiloé. Summer is the best time of the year to do it, because during this period most of the traditional celebrations take place, especially in February— Castro’s traditional celebration, the minga ( moving an entire house from one place to another), among others. Apart from this, it’s a destination that is emerging with a renewed hotel offering, and there is a great deal of activities that take place in the island, such as sailing through the fjords, the Mare Australis sails from the island to the San Rafael Lagoon, or you can take a ferry to go to the Carretera Austral. In addition to this, there are about 15 churches declared to be World Heritage which along with other natural attractions comprise a destination that little by little starts to stand out as a touristic highlight in our country.”

Recommended Product: Espejo de Luna Hotel
“This hotel is located close to the town of Queilén, in a privileged natural environment that can be discovered through paths that have been created to integrate outdoor spaces to the guests’ experience. The cottages are very cozy and you can tell the hosts care about the details: the fireplace is always on, a champagne bottle with two glasses, a full breakfast taken to the cottage, and in general, great interest in making sure you feel good.

It has a restaurant open to all public that simulates a “chilote” ship, in general I recommend it for those who want to rest and at the same time enjoy the benefits of the island. I think a two-day stay is enough here, and the rest of the nights in hotels with more facilities like Hostería de Castro. From both hotels you can arrange different types of activities to do.”

Destination 4: San Pedro de Atacama

By María José Lizama, Marketing and products executive
“I would choose and recommend San Pedro de Atacama. The experience of being in the driest desert of the world attracts a lot of people; Young people and adults want to visit and venture into a place where you share not only share with locals, because San Pedro has become a very cosmopolitan town and you can find people of different nationalities performing any type of work.

There’s a lot to visit and to do. Apart from the well-known Moon Valley, Tatio Geysers, and Atacama salt flat, there are also a lot of other cultural and recreational activities: trekking through recently discovered valleys and paths, watching petroglyphs, among others.”

Recommended product: Tierra Atacama
“I was in Tierra Atacama personally, a 5 stars hotel that mixes luxury with rustic features of the area. It has great facilities and transportation that takes you to the several excursions offered. There are highly qualified guides and high quality gourmet food. Besides, the hotel has bicycles with unlimited use for its passengers. This is very useful, because the hotel is a little far from the town.”

Destination 5: Río Puelo

By Pablo Dutilh, Product Manager

“The Puelo River borns in the namesake lake in Argentina and crosses all Chile to flow into the estuary of Reloncaví, in the area of the town of Puelo. The valley of this river has consolidated historically as a natural crossing border and integration point between Chile and Argentina; this has allowed the colonization of the area from the other side of the Andes range. The river attracts a lot of interest by itself, not only because of the beauty of its course, the color of its waters and the mountains that go along it, but also because it has been positioned as a world class fishing destination, where unique trout species can be found. Another highlight of this destination is that its southern bank, by means of its tributary River Ventisquero, adjoins the Pumalin Park. The park is a private protected area, very beautiful and well administered. Therefore, Puelo is a destination that offers plenty of activities: mountain crossing, natural parks, fishing, gazing at nature and interacting with the local culture. All this makes Puelo a summer destination that any traveler in Chile cannot miss.”

Recommended Product: Martín Pescador Lodge
The Martín Pescador Lodge is located in the town of Llanada Grande, 46 km upstream from the town of Puelo, along the shores of the lake Totoral, very close to the main road. It has very good access and is known by its structure made of rustic wood and welcoming environment, like a real mountain refuge that gives an experience of comfort mixed with the natural environment surrounding it. From there, several activities can be done, trekking, kayaking and horseback riding, to the touristic spots of the area. Some highlights are sailing and bird watching in the Totoral Lake, hiking to the Azul Lake, and sailing (by motorboat) through the Puelo River to the area of the footbridge, where the river narrows itself forming a zone of turquoise rapids. The Martín Pescador Lodge is an ideal place to rest and switching off from the world in a family environment, surrounded by a wonderful nature and attended by kind local people.”

Destination 6: Puerto Varas

By Claudia Rivera, Sales executive
“This beautiful city, one of the most popular in the South among tourists, is also known as the city of volcanoes and roses. It is located in the region of Los Lagos, and stands out because of its wonderful landscapes and the variety of excursions that can be done in its surroundings, like a simple walk along the lake, enjoying the beach in summer, trekking excursions and horseback riding through the adjoining national parks. This city is characterized for have been colonized by Germans who gave it that special feature that makes it so special. In the past years, it has developed a growing hotel offering which along with its great gastronomic level and cultural activity have make of it an excellent option as well as for local and international tourists.”

Recommended product: Cabaña del Lago Hotel
Cabaña del Lago, is a traditional hotel whose quality-to price ratio is a very good one. With a classic and family style, the service is dedicated and focused on the costumers. It has a restaurant, a bar, an indoor heated pool, a billiard hall, bikes, yoga classes, among others. One of its advantages is that it is far from the downtown (its noise), but it is easy to get there walking in no more than 10 minutes. The passengers can enter through a special gate that goes to the coastal road, and all the bedrooms have excellent views to the LLanquihue Lake and the Osorno Volcano.”