Explore the South of Chile

The Redwood of the South

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
The Redwood of the South

When residents of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada take a Patagonia vacation, they often feel surprisingly at home, because coastal Chile is, in many ways, a mirror image of their own home region.

To cover all possible comparisons would make this article ten times longer, but one feature that makes me feel at home – as a longtime California resident – is northern Patagonia’s forests of coniferous alerce trees. Standing in a grove of alerces is like being in a forest of California redwoods.

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The Country of Kuchen

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
The Country of Kuchen

As the departure for a Patagonia travel vacation approaches, travelers eagerly anticipate the lakes, forests, mountains, fjords and other wildlands of this scenic, thinly populated region. Until they actually arrive, though, they don’t usually give much thought to the food that will sustain them – except for Argentine beef and Chilean seafood, the cuisines of both countries have a low profile, but be ready for some surprises.

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Mapuche Brews

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
Mapuche Brews

Whenever I’m on assignment – I never really have a “Patagonia vacation” as such – I have the opportunity to revisit places that, for most others, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In mid-January, for instance, I was driving north on Chile’s Carretera Austral and stopped in the tiny town of La Junta to visit the Hotel Espacio y Tiempo – the best place to stay and dine in a long stretch of graveled highway that’s presently being paved. Screened from the highway by a corridor of mature conifers and other evergreens, it offers the sense of being an isolated mountain lodge.

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The Huaso and the Rodeo

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
The Huaso and the Rodeo

Visitors who book a Patagonia ferry itinerary expect to see Argentine gauchos, but few are even aware of their Chilean counterpart – less celebrated than the Argentine gaucho, the huaso resembles him in many ways but differs in others. Both, of course, are horsemen, but the gaucho arose from a background of fierce independence on the Pampas, while the more subservient huaso originated on the landed estates that dominated economic and social life in colonial and republican Chile.

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In Chatwin’s Footsteps

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
In Chatwin’s Footsteps

When the wandering Englishman Bruce Chatwin headed to South America, in the early 1970s, he wasn’t on a typical Patagonia vacation, but his ensuing narrative In Patagonia (published in 1977) established the region’s modern literary credentials. Many of the places he visited – such as Butch Cassidy’s cabin in the Argentine province of Chubut – have become offbeat pilgrimage sites.

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Ice Cream or both

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
Ice Cream or both

Everyone who travels the Patagonia navigation routes while on vacation looks forward to seeing the great glaciers of Chile’s Fuegian fjords or the massive southern icefields that culminate in Argentina’s Moreno Glacier. There are other cool treats that await visitors, though – on their palates, in the form of ice cream (or gelato, if you prefer). Some of it is found in Patagonia itself, but it’s also popular in gateway cities like Buenos Aires.

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Kuchen from the Kitchen

May 3, 2017 in Patagonia Specials
Kuchen from the Kitchen

When overseas travelers land in Chile for a Patagonia vacation, they probably don’t expect to be greeted by Germans, and they’re usually not. That said, there’s a palpable and positive presence in the cityscapes and dairyscapes of southern mainland Chile. In particular, they’ve left a visible imprint on cities and towns around scenic Lago Llanquihue, a glacial remnant lake just a short drive from the ferry port of Puerto Montt.

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