Just Back From… Chile With Luke Blezard
Marketing Communication Manager Luke Blezard tells us about his recent trip to Chile...
How did you get there?
Flew Business Class direct from London to Santiago with British Airways.
Have you been before?
I have been through Santiago before, but never explored the capital. I had previously visited San Pedro de Atacama many years ago as a backpacker, and had explored the Argentine side of Patagonia in 2016. Apart from that all the other destinations were new to me.
If so…any notable differences?
San Pedro de Atacama was much the same as i remember it; astonishing lunar landscapes and incredible excursions.
Which was your favourite…
Place? As a keen mountaineer and advocate of the big outdoors, Torres del Paine really struck a chord with me. The scenery was quite spectacular and we were blessed with some great weather which made the views and experience all that bit more enjoyable.
Hotel? This is a tough one as all the properties we stayed at had their own charm and character which makes it difficult to choose. The service was excellent at Alto Atacama, but the magical setting of the yurts at Patagonia Camp along with their excellent staff made this my top hotel.
Excursion? The hike up to the iconic towers in the Torres del Paine National Park was quite breathtaking and my personal highlight. It was a picture-perfect day and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so we simply couldn’t have asked for better conditions to experience one of the regions’s most sought after treks.
What was your most memorable moment?
Trekking up to the Ferrier Lookout with views over Grey Glacier; to then enter a winter wonderland forest and see two huge condors fly metres overhead. It all happened so quickly that unfortunately by the time I had my camera out they were long gone!
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
I would recommend visiting Torres del Paine in the shoulder seasons. September to October is Patagonia’s fresh glacial springtime, while March to April offers dramatic autumnal scenery with golden and crimson foliage. At this time of year there are less people on the trails, maximising your enjoyment of the treks. I would definitely try and do the Tower Trek but also mix up some time outside the national park, as there are many beautiful places to explore. Patagonia Camp is excellent for this as they are based just outside of park on a private reserve.
Matetic Vineyards is a great alternative to spending a night outside of Santiago, if you don’t like cities or have already been there. Depending on traffic it’s a short 45-minute drive from the airport and is set in beautiful grounds.
Is there anythingindispensable to pack or prepare for?
Chile has many different climates and environments, so essentially you will need to layer very well. San Pedro de Atacama is at altitude and can be windy and cold, and in Torres del Paine there can be extreme weather conditions including rain. Pack for all eventualities and you will be better prepared and enjoy your trip even more.
Sum up your trip in a sentence?
A fantastic experience of Chile’s rich culture, beautiful landscapes and captivating destinations. When can i go back?
Provide an expert comment:
When heading to Easter Island i would recommend completing the online entry form before you get to the airport. It’s compulsory to do and as of August 2019, they have a new online system. The WIFI isn’t reliable at the airport so i would do it at your hotel with a good internet connection.
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Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
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