Thanks to the accessibility of air travel, the world has never been so easy to get around meaning that today’s holidays can easily cover the breadth of a destination or several countries with ease. But in 2019 we are discussing new concepts in travel, including what it means to be a tourist, swapping the term for conscious traveler.
As travelers, we are known for our itchy feet. We count down the hours from our office cubicles, we daydream of the outdoors on our morning commute, and we make our way down a bucket list of exotic places. Thanks to the accessibility of air travel, the world has never been so easy to get around meaning that today’s holidays can easily cover the breadth of a destination or several countries with ease. But in 2019 we are discussing new concepts in travel, including what it means to be a tourist, swapping the term for conscious traveler. Now we want to know the ethics behind a hotel, we want to hear about eco-credentials, and we want the experience to be more immersive, truer. With this in mind, we reckon that 2019 should be all about the micro-adventure – instead of ticking off as many countries as we can, let’s par it back, engage in slow travel, and enjoy the moment. Here are the top 19 micro adventures we reckon you’ll love from right here in Chile!
Chile’s 19 Best Micro Adventures
1. Feeling the whip of hair in your face, the biting cold of snow on your fingers, the howling of wind in your ears … and then the frantic race to remove the layers as the sun shines down on you! A trek in Torres del Paine will awake the senses like no other place on Earth – did we mention the view?
2. Riding downhill through a dusty vineyard slightly giddy after tasting some of Chile’s best wines. The best part? Return the bikes and start the wine all over again. Try a tour of the Casablanca Valley here.
3. Buying a fresh mote con huesillo (dehydrated peach with wheatberries in juice) and feeling the ice cold liquid quench your thirst on a blindingly hot summer’s day. Even better if you’re taking in the view of Santiago’s high rises and church spires from San Cristobal hill or the historic, Santa Lucia Hill.
4. Camping beneath the stars in the middle of nowhere with only the sound of the wind and the celestial heavens for company. It sounds even more enticing once you know that the Dientes Trek on Navarino Island (Tierra del Fuego) is literally the southernmost trek on planet Earth. Now that’s what we call an adventure.
5. Warming up your hands with a hot chocolate beside el Tatio, the granddaddy of all geysers and sacred figure in Andean mythology. A breakfast at 4000+m means high-altitude toast and epic views all around.
6. Spotting your first puma. In fairness, it was probably your guide that spotted it (our guides appear to have magic puma spotting powers) but you’ll never forget your first time. Cue tears and copious amounts of existential questions about mankind’s place in the ecosystem.
7. The strange sensation of looking up and witnessing a fully-grown Andean Condor flap past you. They are huge, you are small. Cue second round of existential questions.
8. Witnessing the waters part for a whale fin and hearing the sound of the whale’s breathing. An awe-inspiring sight not to be forgotten in a hurry.
9. Sitting on a rickety chair with a view of nothing but the horizon and perhaps a few sheep for miles around. An estancia visit is not just about sheep-shearing history, it’s about placing yourself in the shoes of old-world Patagonia when colonization was just getting started.
10. Breathing in the salt from the historical center of Valparaiso. With the whirr of the tram, the rust-laden buildings, and the tangle of sky-high cables, the city center transports you back to a time of pirates and debauchery like no other place in Chile.
11. Sipping a fresh strawberry juice from one of the terrace restaurants hanging from the hills in Valparaiso. The view of the houses, rising like an ice-cream display cabinet on all sides, makes for a beautiful view beside the sea.
12. Rising above the famous tower massif, namesake of Torres del Paine, from the dramatic Cerro Paine lookout. After an epic, hard slog upward, the view more than makes up it.
13. Walking across Patagonian pampa with no one else around. Suddenly, there! The baguales, Torres del Paine’s unique wild horse pack, are foraging in the grass, the stallions emitting careful whinnies as they watch for pumas, their only predator. Observing their behavior and noting down your findings as part of a genuine scientific mission must surely count as conscious tourism, right?
14. Skiing down perfect powder on one of Chile’s best slopes at Valle Nevado. You heard it here first!
15. Crash! The waves are pounding the sides of your raft, and you’re rising up and down faster than riding a bucking bronco. Suddenly your senses are heightened – you can see the sunlight filtering down through the trees, the drops of mildew from each tiny tree leaf, you hear the sigh of the air and the creaking of trees … Time can stand still even when you’re going fast. Check out our rafting expedition on the Maipo River here.
16. The air can be chilly in Chile but the contrast is perfect when you’re lounging in a thermal pool on the side of El Morado mountain!
17. Trying chañar ice cream and making your way through the new flavors in San Pedro de Atacama. You may still be in Chile but Andean food culture is still very much alive. Read the blog here!
18. Breathing in the crisp autumn air of Torres del Paine in Fall. Seeing the Park’s colors during this season is definitely worth a spot on the list – your eyes won’t thank you enough.
19. Laughing with people you’ve only just met but feeling as though you’ve known them forever. Nights in the EcoCamp Community Dome must surely count as one of the best micro-pleasures in Chile.
Chloe Says: I love this idea of embracing the small moments in travel! Chile is making a name for itself thanks to places like Torres del Paine, but there’s so much more to do here than just the W Trek! Why not see the Park’s quieter corners, such as on the full Paine Circuit? Or perhaps take in the length of Chile with our Best of Chile program which has been specially designed to show you the highlights (as well as some lesser known stuff) without going too fast? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy travels!