The global pandemic is changing the way we plan a vacation. Now it is not only the destination that matters but also how to get there and travel safely.
Many ask today how to keep social distance and travel at the same time? Here are some beautiful travel experiences in Chile that let you do just that.
Chile is full of beautiful, safe destinations for you to visit, some of which are perfect to avoid large crowds of people and where keeping the distance is part of the experience and small groups are desirable. Also, many of them control the number of visitors.
These are some of the tourist attractions in Chile where you can keep physical and social distancing:
Enjoy a road trip
Why not hop in the car with your social bubble, friends, or family, to travel part or all of the eight great routes crossing Chile.
You could start visiting the most extreme routes in the country. There's the Desert Route in the north, between the Arica & Parinacota and Atacama regions, where you see the wonders of the Atacama desert and avoid large crowds, according to tourism website Fedetur.
Meanwhile, the Route at the End of the World takes you through remote areas on Patagonia's Argentinean and Chilean sides, says the World Atlas. You can visit destinations like Magdalena Island, Torres del Paine, Rio Verde, and attractions such as the Milodon Cave and Lake Pehoé.
If you are looking for a middle ground, you could ride or bike through any of the 70 Heritage Routes, part of the Chilean National Heritage ministry's program.
Travel one of the longest routes in the world
Chile's Patagonia Parks Route deserves special mention. This ambitious project seeks to protect the local wildlife along its 2,800 kilometers between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, which cross 17 national parks between Aysén and Magallanes regions and link three existing routes; the Camino del Sur, Canales de la Patagonia, and the Ruta del Fin del Mundo. Check the map on the official website for more information.
Hikers, bikers, and bikers can do the entire route (which takes at least a month) or do part of it if time is limited.
Much of the route is by road, but a good chunk is by sea, and several local ferry services help you cross those stretches. A different way to travel is to take the Patagonian Fjords route on the Navimag ferry between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales. This experience shows a side to Patagonia that is unknown to many, where extraordinary channels and fjords provide a unique and memorable landscape.
Escape the summer heat in Torres del Paine
Virtually all guidebooks recommend visiting Patagonia between December and February when it is warmer. But it's a different kind of climate there; you can experience all seasons in a week or a matter of days, even in summer.
Torres del Paine National Park is the ideal attraction for its large size and particular microclimate; it rains almost all year round, with clear or semi-clear days in the summer.
We love this destination, and we share our tips whenever we can with travelers who take the ferry route to Puerto Natales, a city that is only 115 km from the Torres. You can find our best tips to make the most of your stay in our blog!
Suppose you are looking for a colder location in summer where they control people's access. In that case, you could sail along a glacier, such as Balmaceda and Serrano, which is ideal for visiting with the family, or go ice hiking on the Grey glacier if you like extreme sports.
Experience Chile through a glass of wine
Mainland Chile has wine routes throughout its length and breadth. According to Go Chile travel portal, the northernmost course is the Elqui Valley, and the southernmost is the Malleco Valley. Check out this interactive map by Wine Paths of the vineyards in the country and the videos that Chile es Tuyo made about the different valleys.
You'll get to taste exquisite grape varieties on these tours, see some of the oldest vineyards in Latin America and discover part of Chile's history and geography hidden in cellars and barrels.
Going on a wine tour is safer than participating in a grape harvest because the groups on these tours are small, and the trips are scheduled in advance to make the experience special, says Chile Travel.
Besides, all the wineries in the country are taking precautions and preparing for the next high season. For now, you can prepare yourself with online tastings organized by the #ElVinoNosUne campaign from the organization Vinos de Chile.
Getting close to the sky from a volcano
To avoid large crowds of people, ascending a volcano is an alternative. And there are plenty to choose from; Chile has the second largest volcanic chain in the world, according to Chile Culture.
It would help if you had more than a lifetime to climb them all; there are more than 2,500. Some are legendary for their challenging climbs and beautiful panoramic views of the Andes Mountains and Chilean valleys. There are those with ascents so complex that only trained mountaineers can climb to those accessible with half-day hikes for the whole family.
To the north are Payachata and Ojos del Salado, and the Osorno and Chaitén just to the south. Stay informed about the requirements and status of the volcano you want to climb at the National Volcano Surveillance Network. Also, the National Emergency Organization (ONEMI) recommends that you notify the national force Carabineros or forestry agency CONAF if you visit a nearby area or climb an active volcano.
Stargazing in the open air
Chile is an Astrotourism destination by nature. Its large extensions of territory without light pollution and open skies from north to the south make it one of the favorite places for professional and amateur stargazers to set up their telescopes. No wonder it won the European Astronomical Observatory (ESO) competition to build the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in the Atacama Desert, an Astro-tourism destination par excellence.
You can study the stars outdoors at night in the Antofagasta and Coquimbo regions or have dinner with your partner or friends by candlelight at the Pailalén Observatory in the Metropolitan Region for more comfort.
Meanwhile, check out this beautiful video about Chile's astronomical appeal by Marca Chile.
Travel Chile's secrets on foot
If trekking is your thing, take any of the trails duly marked by the government's Senderos de Chile initiative, which set out to protect as many of the walking routes that cross several tourists and natural attractions.
There are also routes that other hikers have identified, among them the Sociedad Geográfica de Documentación Andina (SGDA), which has mapped trails unknown to many through its Andeshandbook app.
All the trails are beautiful and appeal to different types of hikes, from the most gentle to the most intense. According to TrekkingChile Foundation, the most beautiful are:
- In Nahuelbuta National Park, Piedra Águila is renowned for its route marked by ancient araucarias.
- In Queulat National Park, the Bosque Encantado route has its landscapes out of a fairy tale.
- Cerro Castillo National Park competes with Torres del Paine in beauty.
For these and other places you want to visit, remember to check the access requirements on the websites of national parks and tourist attractions. Chile's National Tourism Service provides daily information on the status of each destination.
Start planning your trip!
You can plan your next vacation considering the new safety and health conditions. Start by checking the videos and online tours that some of these destinations have on their websites.