This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Tailor made holiday
This trip is run by a company which specialises in only Central and South America holidays. It can be tailormade to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. The length of stay, standard of accommodation and even the itinerary can all be amended and tailored to suit your preferred style of travel and budget. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips.
Responsible tourism: Patagonia family holiday, glacial lakes and mountains
Introduce your family to the natural and cultural richness of Chile and Argentina, with visits to protected wildernesses and sensitively renovated city neighbourhoods.
In the two capitals, you will learn about the city’s historical heritage and may visit a few of the well laid-out urban parks.
In the south, this family adventure holiday visits two exquisite national parks: Torres del Paine (Chile) and Los Glaciares (Argentina). The administrative bodies of these protected wilderness areas of outstanding beauty, with their glacier-stubbed cobalt lakes, needle-sharp mountain peaks and wind-buffeted grassy plains, takes management of tourist visits extremely seriously. Torres del Paine gained national park status in 1959, and in 1978 was declared a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Neighbouring Los Glaciares was created in 1937, and gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1981. By paying the entrance fee to visit these parks you are helping contribute towards the preservation and conservation of these fragile regions.
You will visit the popular Perito Moreno Glacier, where you can get up close to the towering wall of ice. In order to maintain its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the administration of the Los Glaciares National Park has adopted a programme fulfilling the Restructuring Plan for the Moreno Glacier area, necessitated by the impact of the increase in tourism. This restructuring includes road improvements, planning of visits through a new walkway system and services for visitors such as restaurants and toilets: all instated to enhance the site’s protection and the quality of the visit. While visiting the glacier’s site, you are helping to ensure the continuation of this policy, and your actual visit is guaranteed not to have a negative impact on the location.
The hotels we use in this holiday are mostly small, where possible constructed in keeping with local architecture traditions. Your hotel in Santiago, Atton el Bosque, and the Ecocamp in Torres del Paine National park have attained the highly valued “Sello S” status recognising the properties’ adherence to the principles and practices of sustainable tourism. The “stamp” is awarded to members of the Sustainable Tourism programme, a public/private initiative coordinated by the Chilean government which ensures that its members conform to legislation regarding both employment and environmental sustainability.
You’ll stay for several days within Torres del Paine National Park itself. You’ll be accommodated at EcoCamp. The Chilean proprietors have a long-standing, highly commended approach to responsible tourism. EcoCamp is a great compromise between staying in a hotel room and camping: its long-term impact on the landscape is minimal; the eco-domes blend harmoniously with their surroundings. Electricity is solar-powered and waste is disposed of by a compost system. There is no central heating - Patagonian blankets are provided to keep you snug at night and heating is by low-emission wood-burning stove.
In an environment as fragile as the Atacama desert, with its scarce water resources and necessarily basic infrastructure, your eco-friendly hotel Casa Atacama has a recognised sustainable tourism ethos, manifested in the solar panels generating electricity and heating water, as well has having its own water treatment plant. Waste is recycled. Guest rooms were designed to harmonise with the environment, incorporating natural light, recycled native wood and locally made textiles. Excursions are led by guides well-versed in the conservation of the desert environment.
As is the case with all our private journeys, we adopt the services of locally recruited guides and drivers in each location in order to promote local employment. This also ensures that you have face to face contact with people who are intimately familiar with their environment and community, and have a vested interest in protecting it so as to ensure the future of tourism in their region. This will help to put a brake on the current tendency for people to leave their homes to seek work in the large urban centres, which harms the socio-economic viability of the countryside and smaller settlements and puts pressure on the infrastructure of the larger cities. EcoCamp, for example, has a stated policy of prioritising the employment of local Chilean naturalist guides whenever possible.
Your family holiday starts in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, a city where contrasting historical quarters are fused together to create a living historical narrative and unparalleled cultural variety. Explore the conserved colonial centre, Bohemian district San Telmo and La Boca, where attempts are made to retain the Italian artist colony heritage. These neighbourhoods have many locally owned retail, entertainment and food and drink outlets where your financial contribution will help the localities maintain their character and thrive.
In Santiago, the Chilean capital, we encourage you to visit the arty Lastarria quarter which since the 1990s has adopted a policy of restoration to preserve its traditional Bohemian character and the striking Spanish colonial façades. Hotels, restaurants and arts and crafts workshop outlets are creating a culturally significant neighbourhood with a strong sense of community and in 1997 it was declared an official Zona Tipica.