Finally, good news! Chile reopened to double-jabbed international travellers on 1 October 2021 and, from 1 November, there is no longer a mandatory five-day quarantine – instead, you’ll just take a PCR test on arrival and, if it’s negative, you’re free to explore.
Chile – like much of South America – lingered long on the UK red list. Whether it should have or not is up for debate: its Covid numbers have been relatively low and its vaccination rates high. This prompted the Latin America Travel Association to question the government’s strategy. “It is OK, even encouraged, for Brits to go to places like Cornwall, which have seen huge rates of Covid transmission, but impossible for them to visit the open wilderness of the Torres del Paine,” commented chief executive Danny Callaghan. “I know which I’d recommend as safer.”
So now that it’s finally all systems go, where better to escape the pandemic and most other people than – as Callaghan recommends – at the end of the world?
Indeed, as travel finally gets back underway, Torres del Paine could be the perfect choice for that bucket list adventure. It is one of the wildest, most remote environments on the planet; 2,250 sq km of rugged peaks, oozing glaciers, glittering lakes and puma-roamed plains. Social distancing? You’d struggle not to here.
Tucked below Torres del Paine’s mighty mountains, Hotel Las Torres reopens on 1st December. Fresh from winning a Travel & Leisure magazine Global Vision Award 2021, which recognises business that are actively developing more sustainable and responsible travel practices and experiences, Las Torres Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the national park.
The property, part of a former ranch-turned-nature reserve, delivers an authentic insight into Patagonian life. All 74 of its rooms come with huge Torres del Paine views while expert guides lead trips into the park.
It also sits at the trailheads of the W and the O, the park’s spectacular trekking circuits, which you can expect to be quieter this season. Or you can stay at the ranch and soak up the baqueano cowboy culture – watch the riders bring in the herds or explore the forested valleys on horseback, breathing in that fresh, faraway-from-it-all air.