Subject: Re: New Toronto member seeks Chile tips
Hi Annette,

I went to Sothern Chile in Feb 04 for 3 weeks and also had a few days in Argentina.

A few brief points, if you want more info email me and I'll send it to you - I have quite a lot. A good geneeral site to start with is - I didn't spend much time in Santiago and missed out on the north which I'd like to visit another time. Have a look at to get a flavour of what's available in one popular spot there.

- Dec/Jan is a good time to go south but the weather is more like Scotland or Ireland (or Canada I suppose) so be prepared for rain and wind - although it's not really cold

- To enjoy S Chile I think you need to enjoy outdoor activities - wildlife, scenery,hiking, mountains, the sea etc. You don't have to be youthful (I'm over 60)but I think it would be a miserable place for trendy sophisticates who want to hang around the pool at fashionable resorts

- If you're going down to Torres del Paine Nat Park (and you should) consider the Navimag ferry if you like ships. It's a commerical truck ferry with passenger accommodation, definitely not a cruise ship, but it's very comfortable by my standards and you'll see plenty of seabirds and other wildlife and meet lots of interesting travellers. It takes 3 nights but you're only on the open sea for about 10 hrs so it's not rough for very long. See

- Two specially interesting things I did were, first, to visit the Parque Nacional Huerqueue near Pucon and stay at a wonderful place called Refugio Tinquilco run by a Chilean environmentalist called Patricio Lanfranco. See website While there I met a lot of very interesting Chileans who took me on some great walks. The surrounding area is the volcano and lake district and has beautiful scenery. The second really interesting thing I did was to go on a 3 day whalewatching trip based on a camp on a very remote island (Isla Carlos III) in the Magellan Straits (you travel from Punta Arenas). See It's expensive but worth every peso. Of course you can see whales in plenty of other places in the world but this is very special - it's a joint enterprise between a local entrepreneur and some academics who tag and observe the whales at their feeding ground in the Straits. You'll see a lot of other marine life too. I found sitting quietly in the camp in the evening listening to the whales was one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had.

I can send you recommendations for places to stay (upmarket backpacker standard) if you want them. I also visited Ushuaia.

Also consider combining Chile and Argentina, especially in the south - you'll miss a lot if you don't. And Buenos Aires and the Iguazu Falls are not to be missed.

Good luck - I'm sure you'll have a great time.

Michael from Sydney