Nature & Adventure – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 Guide to visit Pucón http://www.daytours4u.com/en/chile4u/guide-to-visit-pucon/ Tue, 28 Nov 2017 12:00:01 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11909 The small town of Pucón, located in southern Chile, is a charming place. It is surrounded by a huge lake and by the active volcano Villarica which makes it the perfect destination to relax in its warm waters, enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of the region and pushes you to try out extreme sports. Here [...]

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The small town of Pucón, located in southern Chile, is a charming place. It is surrounded by a huge lake and by the active volcano Villarica which makes it the perfect destination to relax in its warm waters, enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of the region and pushes you to try out extreme sports. Here in our guide to visit Pucón you will find advice and useful tips for planning your itinerary.

Guide to visit PucónPucón is the favorite city for lovers of adventure / Photo: Lucila Runnacles

What to do

Its biggest attraction is the Villarica Volcano. Active, imposing and with its snowy summit, it seems to greet all those who visit Pucón from above. For the more adventurous, reaching its crater is a great challenge that can be done during a day of intense hiking.

Several agencies offer the climbing trip to the volcano, which can only be done with a guide and professional equipment (snow boots, crampons, gas mask, etc). The tour starts early, before sunrise and the expected arrival time to the top is around 1:00 p.m. In total it takes about 8 hours to reach the top of Villarica and take in the incredible views of the lakes and other volcanoes of the region. Although the agencies offer this tour for all types of tourists, it is necessary to have some physical preparation to get to the end.

Other adventurous activities to do in Pucón are rafting and hydrospeed (descent by mountain rivers in a single boat) in the Trancura River, paragliding, canopy and zip-lining in the waterfalls. These activities are mainly done in the summer months (from November to February) and during this time it is common to see the Caburgua and Villarica lakes full of boats and jet skis.

Guide to visit PucónThere are more than 10 spas in Pucón to relax in its thermal waters / Photo: Lucila Runnacles

If, on the other hand, you are looking for quieter activities in the Pucón region, you can take a relaxing bath in its famous hot springs. There are more than 10 spas around the city. The most famous is the Geometric Spa, which has 17 stone pools and plenty of hot water available to visitors. This activity can be done all year round, but it takes a little extra courage to take off your clothes in the cold and soak in the warm water during the winter.

For lovers of hiking, a few kilometers away from Pucón are the national parks Villarica (10 km) and Huerquehue (36 km), ideal for long walks on quiet trails.


Visiting the City

Despite being small, Pucón has many restaurants and bakeries that offer visitors exquisite dishes. Most travel agencies are located on O’higgins Street, which is the main avenue, and there is a wide variety of restaurants on Fresia Street.

The city also has several markets selling handmade crafts. The pieces made of wood and the wool clothing are typical products and you won’t be able to stop sampling the merkén, a reddish condiment with pepper typical of the region.


When to go

Going to Pucón during in summer is perfect for those who enjoy water activities and outdoor excursions. During the months of December and January, Pucón is filled with Chilean tourists. In this period of the high season, the roads near Pucón become congested. During these months the average temperature is 22 ° C and there is little rain.

Guide to visit PucónIn any season of the year you can go hiking in Pucón / Photo: Lucila Runnacles

For its part, the winter in Pucón is a paradise for lovers of skiing and snowboarding. The main ski center, which has 12 runs, is only 20 minutes from the city. Between July and October, thousands of foreigners and Chileans fill the region to ski and enjoy the snow at the foot of Villarica Volcano. During the winter, the thermometer varies between 10 ° C and 0 ° C. The months of June and July are also the rainiest.

As this region has two high seasons (December / January and July), choosing the low season has its advantages; better prices in accommodations and restaurants and fewer tourists circulating. March and April are good months to go because the temperature is pleasant, around 17 ° C and it almost never rains. Another option is to go during the spring (from September to November), when the temperature in the city is around 14 ° C and it is also low tourist season.

How to arrive

Pucón is located in the south, 780 kilometers from Santiago, in the Chilean region of Araucanía. The nearest airport is in Temuco, 80 km away. From Santiago there are direct flights to Temuco and the trip lasts about an hour. From the Temuco airport it is necessary to use a transfer service or take a taxi to Pucón.

There is a small airport in Pucón, located 5 km from the city, that only operates during the months of January and February. It is also possible to go by bus from Santiago. Although the trip is longer, about 10 hours, the bus brings you all the way to the city center of Pucón and that way it is not necessary to pay for a transfer.

Find your tours and excursions in Chile here.

Author: Lucila Runnacles, journalist and author of the blog Viagem Cult (in Portuguese)
Translated to English by Anna Englund

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Travelling to Torres del Paine: Travel Guide to the Chilean Patagonia http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/travelling-to-torres-del-paine/ Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:24:19 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11718 Torres del Paine is one of the most beautiful national parks of Chile. Travellers who love nature and trekking should definitely consider travelling to Torres del Paine as a top priority during their time in South America. Declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the Unesco, Torres del Paine is located in Southern Chile, in Patagonia. [...]

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Torres del Paine is one of the most beautiful national parks of Chile. Travellers who love nature and trekking should definitely consider travelling to Torres del Paine as a top priority during their time in South America.

Declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the Unesco, Torres del Paine is located in Southern Chile, in Patagonia. These last few years this region has been receiving more and more tourists; thus, we will answer the most common questions travellers ask so that you can plan the best way possible to travel to this nature reserve.


– What is the best time of the year to be travelling to Torres del Paine?

Trip to Torres del Plaine

One of the best times to make be travelling to Torres del Paine is between October and April when the days are longest. Picture: Lucila Runnacles

The park is opened all year long, however, one of the best times to be travelling to Torres del Paine is between October and April, when the days are the longest and most hotels, refuges and circuits are opened.

High season is from October to April and low season from May to September. During summer (November to February), temperatures can get to 20°C as during winter (April to October), it can go down to 0°C.

This summer is high season and this is the time when most tourists come. Therefore we highly recommend you make your reservation early enough, especially for low-cost camping areas.


– How much does travelling to Torres del Paine cost?

Trip to torres del paine

If you want to spend the night in the park, you will have to pay extra for lodgings and food. Picture: Lucila Runnacles

For strangers, the price of the ticket to enter Torres del Paine during high season (summer) is around USD$32. During low season (winter) adults pay USD$17. Those are the prices for 2017 and this is the only mandatory cost.

If you want to spend the night in the park, you will have to pay extra for lodgings and food. The walks in any of the park circuits are free.


– Where can I find lodgings?

trip to torres del paine

Vértice offers the Paine Grande, Grey and Dicksons refuges as well as the camping area Los Perros. A night in a shared room in the refuges of Vértice costs about USD$30, breakfast, lunch and dinner included for USD$70 and camping areas costs USD$10 per person.

The other company, Fantástico Sur, offers the following refuges and camping areas: Torre Central, Torre Norte, El Chileno, Los Cuernos, Domos el Francés and the Serón camping. One night in a shared room in the Torre Norte Refuge costs about USD$66 and if you want all three meals, USD$144 per person.

For travellers who do not want to spend too much money, the Conaf (Corporación Nacional Forestal) offers 3 free camping areas (Paso, Italiano and Torres). However, you should book them very early, especially during high season. You can do so using this link: http://www.parquetorresdelpaine.cl/es/sistema-de-reserva-de-campamentos-1

Besides refuges and camping areas that are the simplest lodgings, you have about 10 hotels and guest houses inside the park, 4 and 5 stars luxury hotels and 3 stars guest houses that offer comfort and beautiful landscapes; obviously, the cost is much higher.


– What are the circuits of Torres del Paine?

trip to Torres del Paine

The W circuit is the most popular circuit for trekking lovers who decide to make a trip to Torres del Paine. Picture: Lucila Runnacles

The top attractions in Torres del Paine are the circuits. You can go through them in a car or enjoy short walks, but if you are into trekking, there are several mountain circuits you can enjoy.

Macizo Paine Circuit.
This is the hardest of the park circuits. 93 kilometres in a challenging land that requires physical efforts, made for experimented trekkers. To finish this circuit, it should take you about 8 and 10 days, this is why you should have an excellent physical condition.

W Circuit
This is the most popular circuit for trekking lovers who decide to make a trip to Torres del Paine. The circuit is 76-kilometre long and owes its name to its W shape. To realise this circuit you should need 4 or 5 days, according to your physical condition.

Base de las Torres Circuit
Travellers who have little time and just want to climb up to the base of the towers can realise this one-day walk that lasts between 6 and 9 hours. You will arrive at the famous picture of the park at the bottom of the towers.


– Should I bring all my camping equipment or can I rent it inside the park?

trip to Torres del Paine

Besides refuges you can also find small markets that sell gas for camp stoves, the basic camping equipment and food. Picture: Lucila Runnacles

If you want to travel light and are going to several destinations during your trip and doesn’t wish to sleep in a sleeping bag all the time, you can rent the camping equipment directly in the refuges and camping areas of Torres del Paine. So that you can have an idea of the cost, renting a sleeping bag can cost between USD$15 and USD$20.

Besides refuges you can also find small markets that sell gas for camp stoves, the basic camping equipment and food. Obviously the price is a bit more elevated than outside the park but this is a valid option if you are forgetful or wish to travel lightly.


Distances if you are travelling to Torres del Paine

Puerto Natales – 80 Km

El Calafate – 253 Km

Punta Arenas – 322 Km

Santiago – 3250 Km


Book a tour for as you are travelling to Torres del Paine:

Boat Ride to Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales: Full-day boat ride. Departures every day.

Tour to Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales: Full-day bus tour available every day with the possibility to visit magical places such as the Cueva del Milodón.

Torres del Paine from El Calafate: This tour from El Calafate to Torres del Paine is one of the favourites of travellers who go to El Calafate in the Argentinean Patagonia. You should book it with anticipation since this tour has a limited capacity and you should also use the same ID that made you used when you came to Argentina to make the crossing of the border easier. You will be able to stay at Torres del Paine and use another service to get back to El Calafate a few days later.

For more information about Torres del Paine: http://www.parquetorresdelpaine.cl/en/

Lucila Runnacles, Journalist and author of the blog Viagem Cult
Translated and adapted to English by: Grégory Noël

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The Top 10 Attractions in Santiago http://www.daytours4u.com/en/chile4u/the-top-10-attractions-in-santiago/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:00:08 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=10950 Chile’s charming capital is full of wonderful surprises that will be sure to excite urban explorers. Here are 10 of the best attractions you cannot miss.

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Santiago may not have the same hype as Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, but this charming capital is full of wonderful surprises. Easily one of the most, if not the most, organised cities in South America, Santiago will win you over with its remarkable location tucked against the towering Andes, its rich history, and the blend of colonial, indigenous and modern architecture. Here are 10 amazing attractions in Santiago that you simply cannot miss.

attractions in SantiagoPlaza de Armas is one of the top attractions in Santiago / Photo by Daytours4u

1. PLAZA DE ARMAS

Santiago’s main square is Plaza de Armas, situated right in the heart of the city. The bustling plaza is bordered by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Post Office, City Hall and the National History Museum. The square is always buzzing with activity and it is a stone’s throw away from many museums, restaurants and other interesting tourist hotspots. Explore the area with our half-day City Tour.

2. LA MONEDA PALACE

The impressive La Moneda Palace, the seat of the President of Chile, is an architectural attraction in and of itself, with its neoclassical design and immaculate grounds. It also holds an important part of Chile’s history, being a key battleground during the 1973 military coup. You can take a free tour of the palace, or visit the Cultural Centre located underneath where there are a number of exhibition spaces.

attractions in SantiagoLearn about Chile’s political history at La Moneda Palace / Photo by Daytours4u

3. SANTA LUCIA HILL

Santa Lucia Hill is a peaceful refuge in the city. Stroll up the hill through the beautifully kept park, popular for a romantic picnic, and climb up to the Torre Mirador (Tower Lookout) for incredible 360 degree views of Santiago. You can also uncover the old fort on the way up; once a key defensive location for the city. The canons today are fired to keep time, at noon every day – don’t get a fright when you hear it go off!

4. NATIONAL FINE ARTS MUSEUM

Situated next to the scenic Parque Forestal is the stunning National Fine Arts Museum (or Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes). The museum holds a great permanent collection of Chilean artists from colonial times up to the present, as well as interesting temporary exhibits showcasing local and international artists. The building is an attraction in its own right, with a glass ceiling filtering sunlight into the museum’s main hall.

5. MERCADO CENTRAL

One of the top culinary attractions in the city is the bustling Mercado Central, a large fish market. You can get all manner of fresh fish and seafood here, caught off Chile’s long coastline, or choose to eat in one of the many great seafood restaurants in and around the market. Just across the way you’ll find La Vega Central, a fresh fruit and vegetable market, if you’re looking for something to go with your fish.

attractions in SantiagoTo really get a sense of Santiago’s dramatic location, head up into the hills / Photo by Daytours4u

6. SAN CRISTOBAL HILL

The best view in the city is from San Cristobal Hill. This hill in the north of Santiago is covered by the sprawling Parque Metropolitano (Metropolitan Park). The main attraction, however, is the view. If you’re feeling active, walk up to the top (300m in vertical height), otherwise take the funicular for a scenic ride up. You’ll also find plenty of attractions on the hill, including a zoo, public pools, a Japanese-style garden, a chapel, and an amphitheatre.

7. CHILEAN MUSEUM OF PRE-COLUMBIAN ART

Santiago has many interesting museums including the National History Museum and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. One of the top museums to visit is the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino). Just around the corner from Plaza de Armas, this museum houses ten-thousand years of history from across Latin America, tracing the Pre-Columbian era with its impressive collection of artefacts and art.

8. BELLAVISTA NEIGHBOURHOOD

This bohemian neighbourhood is one of the most popular in the city as it’s in the heart of all the action and is close to many tourist attractions, including the entry point to San Cristobal Hill. Wander down the colourful streets decorated by street art, and browse the shops and artisan stalls. Bellavista is also a foodie heaven with endless restaurants to choose from. Of course what really makes it famous is the nightlife. You’ll find a party here every night of the week. You can sample the wonders of Bellavista with our Cultural Tour.

attractions in SantiagoThe bohemian neighbourhood of Bellavista is packed with restaurants, cafés and bars / Photo by Daytours4u

9. CAFÉ CON PIERNAS

One of the most unique attractions in Santiago has to be the Café con Piernas – literally translated as “coffee with legs.” Santiago is famous for this style of coffee shop where the coffee is served by waitresses in short skirts and heels. There are more risque versions where waitresses wear bikinis or lingeries, but the common chains like Cafe Haiti and Cafe Caribe are a bit more conservative. This B-Side Tour of Santiago stops off at one if you want to experience this phenomenon unique to the Chilean capital.

10. LA CHASCONA

Another top attraction in Santiago is La Chascona, one of Pablo Neruda’s houses. Chile’s most famous poet built this house as a hideaway for his mistress, Matilde Urrutia. He named it after her wild, curly hair. Like his other houses, La Chascona has the distinctly quirky feel of Neruda, as well as his love for the sea. Situated in the Bellavista neighbourhood, you can take a tour of the house any day of the week except Mondays.

By: Nicole Eberhard, travel writer and avid explorer, with a Masters in English Literature.

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Chile becomes world leader in adventure tourism http://www.daytours4u.com/en/chile4u/chile-becomes-world-leader-in-adventure-tourism/ Thu, 15 Dec 2016 09:00:50 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=10812 The World Travel Awards have crowned Chile the best destination in the world for adventure tourism in 2016.

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Incredible, diverse landscapes combined with a constantly growing infrastructure have together made Chile the best adventure destination in the world in 2016, according to the World Travel Awards. This international award, has, every year since 1993, recognised the work of every sector in the tourism industry and promoted the development of this important economic activity.

adventure tourismThe Atacama Desert is a favourite spot for adventure travellers / Photo by Daytours4u

Countries such as Japan, Australia, Thailand, Canada, the United States, Ecuador and New Zealand were also nominated in this category. However, Chile was named the winner for its spellbinding natural scenery, ideal for playing outdoor sports and perfect for intrepid activities like trekking, rafting, surfing, horseback riding, and many more.

Some of Chile’s most notable scenery includes the Torres del Paine massif, a natural wonder of the world and an ideal spot for trekking through the snow on the patagonian steppe. San Pedro de Atacama is another region of appeal for adventure tourism, a place home to more than 300 attractions around its breathtaking valleys, geysers and mountains.

Chile also boasts many spectacular national parks which are fantastically well-conserved, the magical glaciers of San Rafael, Balmaceda and Serrano, and the huge Marble Cathedrals in Lake General Carrera.

The chilean authorities have declared to both the national and international media that this title is a result of the investment they have contributed to the tourism sector, especially in terms of promotional material. In 2014, the Government invested US$6.5 billion and they hope that by 2018 it will have exceeded $13 billion.

This accolade from the World Travel Awards joins other recognitions that the country has recently received: Valle del Elqui became one of the 52 places to visit in the world, according to The New York Times, and Lonely Planet named the Atacama Desert in their top 10 regions to know.

Click here to view the best tours and activities in Chile

By: Daytours4u Content Team

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