Chile Trekking & Hiking Guide
There are subtle differences between hiking and trekking, although they are often put into the same category and the same meaning is assumed. Hiking requires minimum physical effort; you just need the ability to walk from one place to another. Trekking in contrast, is a bit more technical and you need food, camping equipment, and sometimes even a guide. Usually trekking is a hike for several days.
The trips involve hiking and simply walking. Sometimes it can be difficult and you face steep roads, climbing on the other hand, requires much more experience and preparation. When making a trip, you can hire local guides, or study topographic maps well before leaving. You can also arrange everything through tour operators which will make the walk much easier.
Hiking for Beginners
A beginner should start with a well marked trail within a national park or a short walk through local nature. There are routes flat, short and easy many in the country. All of Chile is open to beginners for hiking, even in the Andes there are easy paths that even a 90 year old grandmother could do. The beginner, however, must not leave the previously defined path, but still, you can find great views, enjoy the unique wildlife, and get a good workout.
Going with an iTravelChile local guide can be a good training method, and the ride will be less stressful. When beginners know little about walking, it is better to start with a tour operator to guide the walk and provide the right equipment. In some packages, they even Cook high up in the mountains and introduce you to the local population.
Hiking / trekking - Advanced
Hiking and advanced hikers usually prefers steeper slopes, higher altitude and longer trips. These adventures are often exhausting and intense, and often head into isolated areas and where you will spend weeks away from the modern world in the virgin land of nomads. These are often the advanced expedition hiking and trekking targets. The further away and more remote, the better. There are a variety of items for advanced hiking such as GPS, maps, compasses, ultra-light aircraft and equipment.
Usually, advanced hikers go exploring without a guide and enjoy the thrill of survival in wild places and getting to know nature’s conditions. For such excursions, experienced guides are needed who know about the altitude, equipment, type of food, and wildlife of the area.<< Back to the top
In the mountains the weather can change from brilliant sunshine to clouds, wind, rain or snow in a matter of minutes. Even in summer the weather can be quite unpredictable. You need to prepare for all weather possible conditions, by including clothing and equipment.
Walks can be a very effective way to get fit, burn lots of calories and add significant muscle mass. A one day excursion to the mountain can be a great exercise. The steep hills require more effort and develop the calf muscles. The flatter trails however are also good exercise, especially for blood circulation and the heart. If you are not properly prepared for hiking in extreme situations, you may experience muscle aches, blisters, nausea, dizziness, or altitude sickness. Some may reach a point where they feel too tired to continue or return.
Food and Water
The conservation and constant recharging of energy is one of the most important aspects of hiking and trekking. It is essential to have enough food and water for the entire trip. Some may know how to live off the land, but most do not, and there will not be a McDonald's in the desolate stretch of a national park. Taking foods containing high doses of carbohydrates Is recommended. Cereal bars are ideal for hiking trails. Rarely can you take enough water for a long journey, so be sure to bring a filter or iodine tablets to purify water from rivers, streams, and melted snow.<< Back to the top
Hiking trips require great physical effort, while the circuits for beginners are much quieter and you can enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
There are many ways to train and prepare. Walking and jogging are the best ways to get fit. Exercise machines available at gyms like the stepper and the elliptical are also very useful. The most important thing is to improve leg strength.
The better your physical condition, the longer the walk. The purpose of these trips is to explore new territory and to test the limits of your strength.
When you go on a high altitude hike, you should spend a day or two acclimatizing. Otherwise you could feel the effects of altitude sickness - nausea, headaches and vomiting.
Hiking and trekking luggage
On a hiking trip without horses, mules, or alpacas to carry your luggage, it is best to take the least weight possible and that the heavier the package, the more tiring it will be. New technologies have developed lighter and warmer equipment that can be of great relief on the trip. Today, you can find quality walking products worldwide, but prices tend to be higher outside the Western world.
The backpack is very important on the trip. It should have everything you need to survive. Shoes or hiking boots are equally important. Ideally, they should be water and cold resistant. If you are hiking in tropical conditions, where torrential rains are frequent, you must have a good pair of sandals. The tent depends on the climatic conditions of the area, in tropical areas is advisable to take a musketeer. The sleeping bag has to be warmer than outside conditions.<< Back to the top
In the north, 100 km from San Pedro de Atacama is the lagoon bleach. From here you can start a 25 km trip at an altitude of 4,000 meters with 11 viewpoints from which you can see volcanoes, mountains and the stunning Laguna Miscanti. You can also scale the Miscanti Volcano (5,600 m).
In the central area, one of the main trekking circuits is La Campana National Park. A walk through this Biosphere Reserve allows you to enjoy Chilean palm trees and an eight-hour trail reaches the summit of Cerro La Campana and offers a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean and the Andes.
Also near Santiago, is the El Morado Natural Monument, which is a great place for hiking. There are guides in the area that can help you climb to the Mirador del Morado (4,320 m), Cerro San Francisco (4,320 m, including ice climbing) and the Cerro Morado (5060 m, very difficult climb).
Another good option is to explore Easter Island, where several hills overlook the sea and you can climb up the volcano.
In southern Chile, you will find Las Trancas in Chillan Valley, where the Nevados de Chillán complex is situated, which has a ski resort and hot springs. The resort is offering tours at different levels of difficulty.
In the heart of the Andean Region of Araucanía, is Huerquehue National Park, with large lagoons, pine and beautiful views of Lake Caburga. It is an excellent choice for trekking, as is the ascent to the cone of the volcano Villarrica volcano.
Further south, on the Chiloé Island is the Chiloé National Park and the Tantauco Park, which offer walks through the well-preserved, extraordinarily beautiful forests.
Finally, in the extreme south of Chile, Patagonia is the most popular trekking destination in Chile and South America. The walks in Las Torres del Paine are considered one of the best hikes in the world, and every year thousands of travelers flock to the area to spend the summer among the glaciers and lakes. There are a number of trekking circuits, but the best known are the "O" (7-9 days, medium to high difficulty) and the popular "W" (4-5 days, medium difficulty)<< Back to the top