Expedition & Adventure | Chile | 09.02.24

Iconic Itineraries: Conde Nast Traveler’s Adventure In Patagonia

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The tempestuous magic of Chilean Patagonia: Condé Nast Traveler’s Lale Arikoglu journeys to Chile with Plan South America.

March 2023

“There is something about this part of Chile that hooks people and won’t let them go.”

LALE ARIKOGLU – CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER

In April 2022, Lale Arikoglu took a tailor-made journey to the veritably pole-to-pole selection of land, climate, and lifestyle and that is Chile’s share of Patagonia. When she reached out to us, she had her sights set on what all those who have experienced it would agree on a taste of a place where no two stays are the same. “The pair of invisible hands ushering me there belonged to Plan South America, a specialist travel company run by Harry Hastings that focuses on Latin America and Antarctica. Hastings has spent the best part of 20 years knocking around South America, and his love and respect for the continent are evident in his itineraries: Guides and on-the-ground contacts are hand-selected and local; properties are places that don’t automatically populate on your Google map; and the twin pillars of community and conservation inform the route.”

“Hastings set my sights on somewhere like Futaleufú: a virtually inaccessible kayaking and rafting playground that is, he promised, still not even on most Chileans’ radars.” Lale was to anticipate Pata Lodge, her home for the first three nights.

“To get there you drive through centuries-old forests buttressed by glacial peaks and crisscross over fjords before reaching the Futaleufú River, which empties into the Yelcho Lake. I arrive at night with the expectation that I’ll just shower and collapse into bed in my cabin, where a wood-fired stove has already been lit in anticipation of my arrival. But Schaffer (Pata’s co-owner) thrusts a glass of Chilean red into my hand as his two dogs, Poncho and Balu, circle our feet inquisitively. Before I know it, I am seated at dinner with his family, Ajl, and a Brazilian couple enjoying their final evening. We’re fed bitter greens from the farm and creamy risotto topped with morel mushrooms picked in the forest earlier that day. It feels like a night spent with old friends. After fumbling my way back to my cabin in the dark—to save energy and allow guests to better see the stars, there is no outdoor lighting—I roll into bed full and happy.”

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