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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m traveling by myself?

No problem. We have set group departure dates that you can join (maximum 8 guests). We can also organize a departure date according to your schedule and share it on our website for others to join. Because our price policy is based on double rooms you must be willing to share a room or tent with someone of the same gender, or pay a supplement if you would prefer a single room (this option may vary by program). Alternatively, we have a few self-guided trips where we organize all the logistics and accommodation for you so you can travel at your own pace.

What is the maximum number of guests in each group?

To guarantee a personalized service we travel with a maximum of 8 people on our set departure trips. However, if you’re planning to travel with family or friends we can work with you to arrange a private tour for any size group.

What kind of accomodation do you offer?

Accommodation varies depending on the program you select. You may sleep in a dome at Chile Nativo Riverside Camp, in a tent at another Torres del Paine campsite, or in a mountain lodge, estancia/hostería or lodge/hotel.

Chile Nativo Riverside Camp: This is our own fully serviced campsite, located in the Serrano River area of Torres del Paine National Park and equipped with comfortable dome structures for sleeping, cooking and eating. There are 8 sleeping domes, each designed to accommodate 2 guests, measuring 4 meters in diameter and equipped with 2 air mattresses (double height). There is also a dining room dome, common area dome, kitchen dome, BBQ area and bonfire area. At Chile Nativo Riverside Camp, our own chef prepares all meals, and everybody eats together. Guests have access to 4 bathrooms (2 men’s and 2 women’s) each with hot water showers and plugs to charge electronic devices. You can see photos of Chile Nativo Riverside Camp here or watch a video here.

Campsites: At other campsites in the National Park, we provide first class equipment from internationally-known brands, suitable for extreme weather conditions. For comfort, we use 3-person tents to sleep 2 guests and double tents for single occupancy.

Mountain lodges (Refugios): Strategically located along the most popular hikes, Refugios are cozy with 6-person dorm rooms (bunk bed style), shared bathrooms and hot water. Meals are hearty and eaten together. Generally, when camping near Refugios we will eat our meals there.

Estancia/Hosteria & Lodge/Hotel: Estancias are converted ranch houses that offer rustic and cozy accommodation. Hosterias and Lodges are small hotels: Some might be converted estancia structures, though all have private bathrooms and are situated in beautiful locations in and around the National Park. Full-service Hotels have a greater range of available rooms. We can also arrange accommodation in Torres del Paine’s high-end hotels (such as Explora, Tierra, Awasi and Patagonia Camp) offering first class, all-inclusive services. For more detail, see the itinerary for your chosen trip or ask your travel specialist for more information.

Can I travel with my children?

Traveling with your children can be an exciting, educational and beautiful experience. We recommend you contact us so we can arrange a suitable tour for your family. For our set departure trips, Chile Nativo requires children to be over the age of 12. We understand that when traveling with children there are more moving parts. Because of this, our own Chile Nativo Riverside Camp is the perfect spot for a family camping and trekking vacation. Here, you’ll enjoy comfortable tents, a chef-created menu, beautiful surroundings and the peace of mind of a premier family program organized by Chile Nativo’s own logistics and operations team.

What kind of meals are included in the excursions?

Meals prepared by Chile Nativo are based on fresh and natural products and are balanced according to the physical effort required each day. Our famous “box lunches” (packed lunches) include ham, chicken or smoked salmon, homemade bread, a variety of cheeses, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, trail mix, fruit, coffee and tea.

When camping near a Refugio, breakfast and dinner are usually eaten there, while box lunches are prepared by Chile Nativo. On some of our excursions we’ll enjoy an authentic Patagonian-style lamb barbeque (look for the “BBQ” icon in the trip summary). We cater for special dietary requirements, vegetarians, vegans or guests with food allergies. Please let us know in advance if your group has special requirements.

What should I take with me?

When signing up for one of our trips we will send you a detailed packing list according to the type of trip you will be taking and what part of Chile you are visiting. You can also check the Trip Detail of each itinerary to see a list of what is included and what is not. As a general rule of thumb, remember that Patagonia has famously erratic climate with the possibility of experiencing “the four seasons in one day”. To prepare for everything from hot sun to cold, snow, rain and strong winds, the best strategy is to dress in layers. It’s important to have enough clothing to face the elements during the day but still have a dry change of clothes for the night. At the very least, you’ll need a thermal base layer of Merino wool or synthetic fabric, followed by a fleece jacket to keep you warm and a final waterproof/windproof layer to protect you from the elements. You’ll also need comfortable hiking pants (no jeans!), thermal leggings, down jacket, hat, sunglasses, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks (look for socks without seams to avoid rubbing and possible blisters).

Who are my guides?

For trips in Chilean Patagonia, Chile Nativo uses our own guides. Our guides live in Patagonia year-round and are periodically trained in subjects related to flora, fauna, geology, glaciology and history. Each of them has been trained to a professional standard in First Aid (WFR).

When organizing your trip to other destinations in Chile, we work with first-class professional tour operators and their guides to offer you a Chile Nativo level of service.

How difficult are your programs?

In general terms, our hiking trips are suitable for people in good physical condition who are used to walking. Fit, experienced trekkers are suited to the the W Trek and Paine Circuit (“O Trek”), while those with limited hiking experience may prefer more easygoing programs, such as our Photo Safari. Our horseback riding excursions encompass 4-6 hours of riding a day, and are therefore designed for guests with some riding experience rather than for those wanting to learn to ride. Our kayaking excursions are suitable for beginners and are instructed by professional kayaking guides. Other programs, such as the Discovering Torres del Paine and Patagonian Estancias trips, combine a range of outdoor activities with nights spent in hotels and at our own Chile Nativo Riverside Campsite. Additional information is available by checking each individual trip and its trip level rating or by asking us about our softer tour options.

What is the reservation policy?

An initial deposit of 25% of the total program cost is required to make a booking effective. Upon receipt of the deposit, a pro-forma invoice (receipt of payment) will be issued, and sent to the client. The final payment is due no later than 45 days before the trip start date. Please see our Terms and Conditions for all reservation and cancellation policies.

Do I need travel insurance?

This is essential while traveling in Chile, especially in remote or isolated areas with extreme weather conditions such as Patagonia. When traveling, last minute complications and accidents can and do occasionally occur. (These include flight delays, lost connections, misplaced baggage or injury.) Such events cause a number of inconveniences: guests may not arrive on time to begin their trip; be unable to continue a trip; need to replace lost equipment; or incur additional costs to catch up with the rest of the group. For this reason, we require that all guests take out travel insurance covering health, accident and liability for the duration of their trip. When you fill in your contact form we’ll ask you for your travel insurance information and providers contact telephone numbers.

Get your Travel Insurance with our partner World Nomads HERE.

What kind of transport is used?

We use van-type vehicles or small SUVs (depending on the size of your group) to transport our guests. Pick-up trucks are used for logistical support. All our vehicles have air-conditioning and can communicate with our main office via VHF radio.

What kind of communication is used on the trips?

All our vehicles and guides are equipped with VHF band radio equipment, allowing us to be in permanent contact with our main offices and the relevant authorities. There is currently no cellphone reception near or inside the Torres del Paine National Park boundaries. When visiting remote locations we bring a satellite phone for emergencies.

Would you recommend that we stay additional days in the area?

Depending on your program, we recommend that you stay at least one day in Santiago and/or Punta Arenas in order to be well-rested before setting off. To hear about program extension options or to arrange day-trips before or after your main program, please contact us.

How can I pay for a trip?

Payment method is by wire transfer/deposit from your bank to our bank in Chile or by credit card payment via a secure online system. See Terms and Conditions for more.

Is the water safe to drink in Patagonia?

On our programs we use water from the rivers and streams. The glacial water in Torres del Paine National Park is safe, clean and free from parasites. We have never had any problems with our guests, however, if you don’t feel comfortable drinking this water we suggest you bring water purifying tablets with you.

What is the weather like in southern Patagonia?

The weather is famous in Patagonia for producing all four seasons in one day. Erratic temperatures and changeable wind, sun, rain and snow conditions are common. In the summer months (Oct-April) temperatures vary between highs of 18-20 °C (67-74 °F) to night-time lows of 8-12 °C (45-55 °F). Summer days are long, allowing for maximum enjoyment of the outdoors, with daylight until 11 pm around the summer equinox on December 21st. In the winter, the winds die down and the weather is generally more stable, despite cooler temperatures and higher chances of snowfall. Average high temperatures in winter range from highs of 14-16 °C (55-60 °F) to lows of 3-4 °C (35-40 °F).

Do you organize private tours?

Yes, we organize private tours. You can make a set group departure date private (additional fees may apply for groups under 8) or design a tailor-made trip to suit your individual interests. We are happy to arrange this. Contact us to reserve your private group or complete our tailor-made form.

Why should I travel with your company?

We are a small company of mountain guides and professional travel experts, with a great deal of experience organizing travel itineraries. We have a passion for our country and specifically Patagonia. Our guides are inventive chefs, avid naturalists, companions in adventure and proud travel professionals. We’ve created new tour alternatives allowing you to enjoy our country in a wise and safe way. To optimize our personalized service and ensure an enjoyable experience, we lead small groups of no more than 8 guests. Most of all: our staff are friends, love the outdoors, adore their work – and it shows.

What kind of saddles are used for horse riding?

We use Chilean style saddles which are similar those used in Texas (though without the horn at the front) with closed-toe stirrups. They are usually covered in a soft layer of sheep skin for extra padding. This is a very comfortable style of saddle designed for long journeys.

What kind of horses are used?

We use Criollo horses; descendants of the Barb and Andalusian horses imported by the Spanish. Criollo horses are strong, sure-footed and highly-adapted to the harsh Patagonian terrain.

Do I need a visa to enter Chile?

We recommend checking with your local Consulate or Embassy for the most up to date information.

For most nationalities, no visa is required when you travel to Chile, only a valid passport. When entering Chile (whether by cruise, vehicle or plane), you’ll need to fill out a Tourist Card at Customs allowing you to stay for up to 90 days and enter multiple times throughout that time period. Keep this card safe: It shows you’re a tourist, therefore exempting you from paying the 19% sales tax applied to hotel accommodation, and will need to be shown at Customs when you leave Chile.

ENTRY FEE: ONLY WHEN ENTERING AT THE SANTIAGO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT There is a reciprocity fee to be paid by cash or credit card for citizens of Australia (US$117).
TAXES: Hotels waive Chile’s 19% sales tax applied to rooms when guests shows their Tourist Card and pay in U.S. dollars.