Sustainable Practices at Amity Tours

It all started with a big dream: Amity Tours wants to become a Zero Waste Company. As simple as that. What might sound easy, is in fact the beginning of a long journey. A fascinating one without any doubt. Let’s dive into the beginning of this long sustainable trip.

 

Our Zero Waste Challenge

 

As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, Atacama Desert and Patagonia of Chile since 2003, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a Zero Waste Company. As a result, we are implementing several new measures: 

 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND MUCH MORE.

 

sustainability chileReduce

In order to prevent the production of waste, we have partnered up with local & organic food suppliers. This allows us to buy in bulk. Thus, it avoids the use of disposable plastics but also fuel the local economy.

sustainability

Reuse

We donate all of the remaining reusable water bottles after each operations’ season. In 2019, approximately 450 bottles were donated to local sport clubs. Moreover, we highly encourage our clients to bring their own water bottles.

sustainability chile

Recycling

At our main office we installed a recycling point. We separate Plastic, Cans, Glass, Paper/Cardboard, and of course, all the organic waste generated at our office. Our chicken at the headquarter are happy about every food waste.

During the trips our guides and drivers set up a dismountable recycling point where clients and staff can dispose the residues. These will be collected at the hotels visiting during the trip. In addition, we separate and collect the organic waste to be transformed into compost. This compost will be used for our vegetables garden located at Amity Headquarters.

We are encouraging our local partners to join the Zero Waste Challenge. Sustainable practices and waste management are important focuses by electing our accommodations and food suppliers during the trips. Our goal is it to contribute to a first Zero Waste Destination in Chile.

 

Since 2021 we’ve been forming part of the Zero Waste Community of the Fundación Basura in Chile.

 

Our chicken waiting for their food
Our chicken waiting for their food. You can see our recycling point and warehouse in the backdrop.

 

Tourism Declares Climate Emergency

 

While we were investigating about how to become a Zero Waste Company, a whole new world opened up. We learned about sustainable practices for tour operators and found great local alternatives for our previous waste problems.

During these searches we stumble over the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency website. A global community who has declared a climate emergency and came together to plan a better future for tourism. We immediately declared as Amity Tours and committed to act in order to cut global emissions in half over the next decade. We just finished our first Climate Action Plan.

Being part of the Tourism Declares Community means sharing ideas, challenges and solutions, so that together we can create a new, regenerative tourism industry built on the principles of climate justice.

 

 

climate emergency
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters) from Sollipulli volcano.

 

Carbon what?

 

During our journey we read a lot about carbon footprint, how to offset it or even how to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon offset, carbon removal, carbon capture, carbon neutral, climate positive… A complete new area for all of us, and we got a little confused with all these different terms. In a few words we would like to explain each concept in order to give you an idea about our decisions.

 

Offsetting your carbon footprint

 

Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for companies or individuals to manage the carbon emissions that are not able to completely eliminate. The emissions are getting calculated and an equal amount will be invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions.

Need an example: It is like, eating a chocolate bar with 500 calories. Afterwards you bike to the Caburgua Lake and burn the 500 calories. That is how the actual impact (in terms of calories) of eating the chocolate bar would be zero.

Now let’s apply this concept into carbon offsetting: The chocolate bar in this case would be the carbon footprint and burning the calories is offsetting it into projects where carbon is getting removed from the atmosphere (by buying carbon credits from projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy).

 

Carbon removal or Carbon capture

 

Carbon removal means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells, or long- lived products like cement. source: Tommorows Air

 

Getting Carbon neutral

 

Carbon neutral means taking action to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it. Being carbon neutral means that an organization has a carbon footprint equal to zero.

 

Getting Climate positive

 

Getting climate positive is going one step further then reaching the carbon neutrality. That can be reached by creating greater environmental benefits, than the actual carbon footprint. You can remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for example.

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions. Since the beginning of our trajectory we have been focusing on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. A fact that also gets reflected in our Conservations Tours.

 

 

sustainable chile

 

Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism

 

We love supporting projects, that are providing benefits to the local communities and environment. Here a few examples we have worked on during our 18 years:

 

Kütralkura – Chile’s First Geopark

 

An amazing example of how geo-sciences connect with local culture for the conservation of the geological and cultural heritage of this landscape in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District.

 

 

 

Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel

 

The objective of the project was to put in touristic value the heritage resource “kuel” of the valleys of Lumaco and Purén. A heritage considered by national and international archaeologists as one of the most important and unknown of the original Mapuche people.

 

 

 

Asi Conserva Chile and WWF

 

The project sought to value, through the design of tourism conservation products, private and community conservation initiatives that make up the trade association “Así Conserva Chile“.
A 100% tour operator pilot focused on conservation tourism was implemented. Where we assured in it all the skills and abilities necessary to sustain itself over time.

 

 

 

Darwin’s Route Tour in Chiloé

 

A tour where you can discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean rain forest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.

 

 

sustainable tourism

 

Route of Parks of Patagonia

 

Our most recent project is a 14-day Multisport Route of Parks, Patagonia. In this tour you will discover Torres del Paine National Park, the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park, and a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees in Conguillío National Park.

Nature, diversity, local communities and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences leaded by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!

 

Our latest inquiry ended up in a local tree planting project.

 

Wiñolfe Anumka

 

In April 2021 the platform Wiñolfe Anumka has been launched. This brand-new project is the response of the inquiry we at Amity Tours made one year ago. We now get the possibility to offset our carbon emissions on a local basis. Wiñolfe Anumka is a Mapuche Pewenche community network offering reforestation of native forests through their own nursery network.

Beginning of 2020 we contacted our local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias to discuss a solution about offsetting our not avoidable carbon emissions on a local basis. Since many years we are working together with the award winning community based project, sending clients from all over the world, to connect with the local culture. We did share with them our vision, about a reforestation project in Kurarewe, located just a few kilometers away from our headquarters. After our first meeting, we invited a forestry engineer to join the project.

Together with a local company that is dedicated to landscape management, environmental education and regeneration, we stared working on gathering relevant and scientific information. We then calculated the CO2 emissions produced by Amity Tours (approximately 50 Ton CO2), and hence the amount of native trees to be planted to neutralize these emissions. As a result we learned that we must plant at least 14 tree clusters, each formed of 20 different native especies, to be able to offset the 50 tons CO2 in the next 20 years. Together with Wiñolfe Anumka we will be working on the implementation of this great goal.

 

 

 

Local is our solution

 

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions to support the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future. Indeed carbon offsetting alone won’t fix the climate crisis. Despite that, we are convinced that each step towards a climate positive society is worth any effort.

At Amity Tours we want to make changes, share progresses and solutions. It is one of our main goals to motivate other companies and individuals to join the Zero Waste Movement and to participate actively in the big challenge of changing unsustainable habits.  We are not only a tour operator but also a consultant company and are aware of our responsibility by sharing practical knowledge.

 

 

Amity Greenhouse waiting for its consumers

Our First Climate Emergency Plan

tourism declares chile

The travel industry is responsible for 8% of total global emissions contributing to global warming that threatens these resources. Amity Tours is aware of this fact and we want to be part of a big change and improvement in our industry.

 

That is why we’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful actions to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.

As a commitment of the signature we would like to publish our own Climate Emergency Plan. Here you are:

 

Our Climate Emergency Plan 2021-22

 

At Amity Tours we already started with some significant changes in our operations. As we all know, waste and especially food waste has a big impact on the carbon footprint in general, and in our industry especially. Get more information about our Zero Waste Challenge.

 

zero waste challenge chile
Implementing the Zero Waste Challenge during the 2019-2020 summer season

 

As well as the waste management, we are working on a carbon reduction project with a local Mapuche Community. We are planning a tree planting and an environmental education program for children.

We have to be honest and don’t want to promise things we will not be able to comply. The global COVID crisis has been affecting (almost) the whole tourism industry. Amity Tours is not an exception. That is why we had to adapt our original Climate Action Plan that we were working on. Nobody knows what the future brings and that is why we are trying to set realistic goals. As a result, we created a Climate Action Plan with goals until 2022, as 2021 still will be a very different year.

Following, we would like to share with you our goals and how we believe to achieve them.

 

 

 

MEASURE

 

Recently, we joined the Fundación Basura (Waste Fundation in Chile) and got the benefit to measure our waste with the platform: Recylink. Now, we are able to calculate our exact waste during the next upcoming seasons.

Goals for 2021-2022:

  • Calculate our exact waste during the next season 2021/22 with the platform Recylink.
  • Finding a professional and confidential partner to measure our carbon footprint of our operation centre and our tours in the Lake and Volcano District (starting with the 2021/22 season)
  • Investigate if it is worth to get certified by the national carbon calculation program: Huella Chile or any international certification

 

REDUCE

 

It is very important to measure the waste and carbon footprint, but now lets put these words into action:

Goal for 2021-2022

  • Find solutions to reduce our measured waste at least by 50% by the next season.

 

Gourmet Picnic
Our famous Zero Waste Gourmet Picnic

 

ADVOCATE

 

Since we signed up at Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency we have shared the great initiative especially with our local partners. We got positive feedbacks and interest for the community. The AWA Hotel in Puerto Varas, one of our main hotel partners, already shared its Climate Emergency Plan.

Goals for 2021:

  • Create a local community in the Lake and Volcano District where different companies and organization from the tourism sector will share sustainable practices and advocate for a massive declaration.

Goals for 2022:

  • Create a Zero Waste Lake and Volcano District, where we include a big number of tourism organizations, tour operators, restaurants, accommodations and local recycling companies. Together, we will work for the first Zero Waste Destination in Chile. 

 

INVEST (OFFSETTING)

 

Together with our local partners Rutas Ancestras Araucarias and SALTUS we started working on a reforestation project during 2020. When COVID-19 hit the world we had to freeze our support for the project and focus on other things.

Nevertheless we are happy to share with you the great work of SALTUS. In this professional and scientific research they were investigating about tree species that has to be used for the reforestation project in our beautiful Araucanía region. 

Goal for 2021:

  • As soon as we can welcome fellow travelers again, we will resume our program with our local partners. The first step will be calculation the amount of trees to plant to compensate our carbon footprint of 2021.

Goal for 2022:

  • We will invest the symbolic amount of one tree for each client. The money will be used for the project. (Installing a nursery garden, capacitation to the local community, giving classes to the kids in the rural schools about the tree plantation and its positive effects for the environment and community, monitoring of the plantation and much more)

 

Each year we will be sharing our process with you. Stay tuned and we are happy about every comment, experience or recommendation! Get in contact with us!

 

 

Araucaria trees
The famous and native monkey puzzle trees. (Araucaria araucana)

 

Do you want to know more about the Tourism Declares community?

Twitter: @TourismDeclares / Facebook: Tourism Declares@tourismdeclares

#ClimateEmergency / #tourismdeclares

Trekking Mapu Lahual Chile – A Personal Experience

A beautiful summer is coming to an end in the Chilean Lake and Volcano District. It is time to remember the great adventures lived during this appreciated season. For me, the outstanding experience during the last months was the unique trekking on the Pacific Coast at Mapu Lahual.

 

mapu lahual chile

 

First of all, I would like to introduce you to the territory we will dive into during the next paragraphs.

Mapu Lahual is an indigenous parks network along the Pacific Coast of Chile, located around 1000 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile, and 100 kilometers North of Puerto Montt.

 

wwf mapu lahual
Mapu Lahual Territory (Source: WWF Chile)

 

The 60.000 hectares count with a high diversity (many of them endemic) Patagonian Temperate Rain Forests. It is worth mentioning that the area is recognized as a hotspot or world-class natural heritage (Mittermeier et al, 2004). Here, you can find the last major expanse of primary coastal forests, coastal olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum), centuries-old larches, lonely beaches and rivers with transparent waters, as well as marine and river ecosystems free of pollution.

 

mapu lahual trekking

 

Mapuche Williche Community

 

The Williche (or Huilliche) are indigenous people who belong to the Mapuche community. In Mapudungun, Williche means “people from the south”, since they are located to the south of the largest Mapuche group, which lives in the regions of La Araucanía and Los Ríos.

 

williche indigenous chile
Señora Mela and her family: Our lovely host at Huellelhue

 

The Williche were exclusively semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers until the 13th or 14th century, before they also introduced limited horticulture. The rich game population, fishing and the gathering of wild pine fruits continued to provide the most important subsistence basis.

 

williche community chile
Williche fishermen

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries, under the influence of the Spaniards, they switched to agriculture (wheat, potatoes) and cattle breeding (llama, cattle, horse). In contrast to the other Mapuche peoples, the Williche lived monogamous.

The Williche owned large canoes to cross rivers and lakes. They must also have had some knowledge of metallurgy as copper jewelry was found on them.

 

 

The ethnic religion corresponds to the Mapuche religion. According to surveys, 10 percent of the Williche still profess the traditional religion, another 10 percent are non-religious and 80 percent are officially Christians. However, the Huilliche Christianity is strongly mixed with traditional elements and the important rituals of the Mapuche still have a central meaning.

Currently, it is estimated that there are only about 20 speakers of Tse süngun, the local variant of the Mapuche language, typical of the current province of Osorno. One of them, Juan Eligio Cumigual, over 80 years old, lives in the community of Manquemapu, being perhaps the southernmost native speaker of the Mapuche language.

 

An unforgettable trekking

 

Without any doubt, the overwhelming natural beauty of the Mapu Lahual park and the hospitality of the local Williche people made this trip an unforgettable one.

We started our trip in the south, at the small fisher town of Manquemapu.

On the way to the small cove, we passed by white sand beaches, where we spot a group of Chilean dolphins. These small and curious dolphins are only found o the coast of Chile. They were jumping with the waves and gave us a perfect welcoming party! What a great beginning of this adventure!

 

Relaxing moments at the beach of Caleta Condor after a challenging hiking day

 

Manquemapu

 

Arriving to the locality of Manquemapu, we parked the car and crossed a hanging bridge by foot. On the other side of the river, a friendly women welcomed us and showed us our campground. On the walking trails we could see many blocks of larch shingles. The larch, or “lawal”, is the characteristic tree of the local forests. In this community, they still use this appreciated wood to export shingles and handicrafts.

 

On the way to the beach “El Galpón” where we saw Chilean Dolphins

 

After setting up our tents, we started a nice hike towards “El Galpón“, a hidden beach. The waves invited us to jump into the cold pacific ocean. While taking a sunbath to dry our wet bodies and hair, a family of Chilean dolphins visited us. They were jumping around in the big waves. We felt so lucky about this natural spectacle!

 

Starting the trail “El Troncal”

 

The first morning on the pacific coast welcomed us with a typical rain shower. Nothing that could minimize our enthusiasm about the upcoming trekking. Today our goal was getting to Caleta Condor. 17.2 kilometers of Valdivian rainforest, steep mountain trails, river crossings, wetland, ancient larches and beautiful lookout points were waiting for us.

 

el galpon mapu lahual

 

As the first few hours of the trekking were leading through deep rainforests, we did not feel affected by the slight rain. Then, as soon as we got to the first plain, the rain stopped and only a slight wind accompanied us.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice picnic lunch at the river side, we had to climb another hill. Yet, our big backpacks felt a little heavier with every meter, but the abundant nature and nice company were worth any effort. Almost at the end of the hike, we could catch some great views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

caleta condor mapu lahual
Looking at Caleta Condor

 

With every step we got closer to the beautiful white sand beach of Caleta Condor. The sound of the ocean filled us with energy and we run the last meters to the beach to jump into the welcoming waves.

 

Famous Caleta Condor

 

Whitesand beach, green hill, ocean
The famous whitesand beach at Caleta Condor

 

A personal dream came true! While I was traveling to Chile for the first time, I read about the cove of Caleta Condor. I was very much interested in getting to know this hidden place, only reachable by boat or foot. While swimming in the refreshing sea, looking at the small cove with its private beach, I could not believe having reached this spot six years later. Caleta Condor is well known by adventure tourists. Not only it offers an impressive beach but also scuba diving, fishing or seafood gathering, kayaking and a good local gastronomy.

 

kayak caleta condor mapu lahual
Sit-on-Top Kayaking at Caleta Condor, Mapu Lahual

 

Huellelhue Cove, “the place where you swim”

 

Local transport in wooden fisher boats

 

After a cosy night in the tent, listening to the waves, we took another swim in the refreshing ocean. Then, we got ready for our next hiking day. First of all, we took a tipical wooden fishers boat, crossing the Cholguaco river. On the way we could appreciate evergreen forests, whitesand beaches, small wooden houses, birds like great egret (ardea alba) and many others.

Our friendly local guide Lucho led us uphill, where we got spectacular views over the pacific ocean. We were walking through forests of olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum) and had to find our way through dense formation of native bamboo jungle. Here is where we appreciated our professional guide, who knew every corner of this abundant rainforest.

After a tasty picnic, we continued our way downhill. We could not believe our eyes when we reached the several kilometer-long whitesand and lonely beach of Rada Ranu. An unforgettable feeling overcame us when we drop our backpacks in the sand and run towards the smooothy waves of the pacific ocean!

 

Beach Rana Ranú
An unforgettable viewpoint overlooking the Beach Rana Ranú

 

Afterwards, we had to cross only a few more kilometers on the beach and through beautiful wetland. At the end of the day, we reached the Huellelhue river, where some friendly locals waited for us.

On their wooden boats we crossed the river and got to a perfect camping spot. Dinner was ready and we enjoyed fresh seafood in a cosy local house. Tonight we set up a nice campfire and shared funny stories.

 

Our todays campsite at Huellelhue

 

As well as Caleta Condor, the small locality of Huellelhue is only reachable by foot or boat. Huellelhue or “Weyelwe” means “the place where you swim”.

 

Course to Maicolpue

 

Enzo, our local boat driver brought us to the hiking trail.

 

Another day in paradise! This morning we woke up with a sunray reaching our tents. The river and surrounded wetland were covered with a silvery mist, which turned the area in a mystical atmosphere. Again we jump on a fisher boat and crossed the Huellelhue river for about 40 minutes. What a great way to immerse ourselves into the local way of life!

With our new local guide José, we started walking through wetland until getting to the base of the next hill. A steep uphill trail through ancient forests followed. We all felt great as the backpacks got a little lighter and our legs were already used to the efforts from the first hiking days. As a result, we reached our lunch spot faster then expected. Finally, we got to our last beach called Tril-Tril. A very small cove with only a few holiday houses. Here we enjoyed our last swim in the ocean and felt so greatful about the passed days in pure nature!

Our last night dinner was a five-star experience in a local cabin. We were attended like queens and enjoyed the homemade bread, smoked sawfish, natural juice, fresh salads and a tipical „pebre de ulte“(mix of seaweed, tomato, onion and coriander).

 

mapu lahual seafood
Fresh seafood and vegetables from the garden

 

What an amazing way to finish this spectacular experience of hiking along the pacific coast. I have been hiking along many beautiful trails around the world but this trekking was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me!

 

mapu lahual Huellelhue River
Huellelhue River

 

 

About me

 

Born and raised in Switzerland, I turned my hobby into my job and worked as a Travel Agent for many years. Always exploring hidden corners around the world. In 2014, I traveled to Chile for the first time. What started as a single-women-adventure turned into a life-changing-trip.

My objective was to travel from Santiago de Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. By hitchhiking or using public ground transportation as close as possible to the local culture and nature.

During this trip, I met my actual boyfriend and father of our little daughter. After years of living in between of two countries, I decided in 2016 to move to Chile and to start my life here. I am still very happy about this decisions, I cannot imagine a better place to raise my child. The abundant nature, wise culture and adventurous friends fill my heart every day with happiness!

Want to know more about the trekking at Mapu Lahual or any other adventure in Chile? Let’s have a chat and I will share my experiences and tips to travel around my beautiful second home country.

Best, Angela

More sustainability in the Lake and Volcano District of Chile

In Amity Tours, not only we operate every year unforgettable adventure experiences in Chile, but we also work as consultant in the local tourism industry. Today, we are currently transferring knowledge to micro and small tour operators all around the Scenic Route in the Lake and Volcano District.

 

 

scenic route lake volcano district chile

 

The Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, Chile

 

Under the name “The Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route”, we do understand a tourist product that articulates attractions and experiences with a component of scenic beauty in southern Chile. The government of Chile has been developing the Interlagos Network for 20 years. It has six circuits and more than 2,000 km of roads that transport visitors along a spectacular geography. Shaped by the force of volcanism, bathed by large lakes, upholstered by the green of the oldest forests on the planet and inhabited by ancestral cultures. This network of roads has generated connectivity between potential poles of tourist development and other consolidated in the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. The First Scenic Route of Chile, has a unique layout, unmissable for lovers of pristine nature andadventure travellers.

Amity Tours is working hard to help reaching the ambition vision of this project. “To be the best positioned scenic route of Chile in the national and international market as a singular and sustainable experience that allows the encounter with the Mapuche, colony and criolla cultures and the unique nature of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos.”

At the moment, we are transferring our knowledge to micro and small local tour operators to help generate more sustainable tourism in the destination. An important part of the content we obtained from the useful workshops ATTA has been providing us until today.

 

Step-by-Step to a sustainable tourism destination

 

First of all, we were updating the database of the micro and small local tour operators forming part of the Scenic Route. Then, we offered all of them free courses separated by environments: Water – Mountains – Conventional tourism and focusing in sustainable tour operating.

Out of the tour operators who were participating in these first courses, we formed a “Club of Experiences”. The members are getting more classes for free. So they get prepared for the important Virtual Business Roundtable we are organizing on March 2021.

The three webinars will address the following topics:

  • Preparation of Commercial Actions. Here we will talk about the different formats to approach the B2B channel. With emphasis on the virtual business conference that we will have at the end of March.
  • Preparation of Commercial Material. Here we will dive into the Manuals and Tariffs that are presented at a business conference.
  • Preparation of the Commercial Pitch. Here we will talk about what a pitch is. How it should be built and used.  Of course depending on the format of the meeting and who we have in front of in a business conference.

 

 

 

Virtual Business roundtable  

 

The final objective of these courses is to bring local operators closer to the B2B channel. That is why we are organizing the First Business Roundtable of the Lakes & Volcanoes Scenic Route. It will be held in March, between Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 2021, in a 100% online format through the Eventtia platform.

We want to bring the local operators together. As well as to transfer them valuable knowledge. That is how we want to promote our unique destination in a sustainable way.

At the same time we continue working on our zero waste concept, attending different courses and forming part of local zero waste communities. We are dreaming of a “Zero Waste Scenic Route”.

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

Experiences about traveling to Chile during COVID-19

amity protocols covid

Here we are sharing a report about traveling from Europe to Chile during COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning of November 2020 our Key Account Manager, Angela and her 2-years old daughter, travelled back from Switzerland (Angela´s birth country) to her home in southern Chile. A lot of uncertainties accompanied the travel plans. This because traveling restrictions changed frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog we would like to share some recommendations, that should help organizing your next trip to Chile.

The most important fact first: The whole trip turned out to be completely stress free and almost more pleasant than before the pandemic! All the staff at the airports, the flight attendants and immigration officers were extremely friendly, helpful and happy to be able to attend tourists again. The fact, that less people are traveling at the moment makes the whole atmosphere at the airport and the planes more peaceful.

Our trip

We traveled with a private car to the airport to avoid using public transportation. While the baggage drop-off they already asked for our health declaration form for Chile. We boarded our plane in Zurich, had to change flight at Amsterdam and enjoyed then a direct flight to Santiago de Chile. Adults have to wear face masks all over the trip, while kids up to 10 years (depending on the airline) do not have to use them. Upon arrival to Santiago de Chile, we had to pass by a control station of the National Health Department. At that point, they measured our temperature. Here we had to informe, where we are going to pass the 14-day quarantine. This is not mandatory any more (for most travelers), showing a negative PCR test. (More details about the actual travel documents entering Chile at the end of this blog)

Passing this first control we continued to the  immigration control and the baggage claim before passing the agriculture and livestock service (SAG) as usual.

Recommendations

Before you travel to the airport you should know the exact hour you should arrive. It is also good to know what to bring and what to leave at home. Everything begins with how you feel; if you have a fever, or minor complaints such as the common cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat or a mild cough, you should stay at home. Your health and that of your fellow travellers is what is considered to be the most important thing during this pandemic. That is why most airports/airlines require a health declaration form.

Icon mask man

Prepare your flight:

  • Check-in online or via the application of your airline (Many airlines allow you to check in online, which means one less interaction. Then all you have to do is drop off your baggage in the departure hall)
  • Bring enough face masks (you should change them at least every 3 hours or whenever they get humid)
  • Carry your own hand sanitiser with you in your hand baggage. The capacity of the hand sanitizer container cannot exceed 100ml.
  • Check if you need a health declaration form for the departure, transit and final destination
  • Of course you will have to bring all mandatory documents (passport, visa if required and all documents required from your transit and final destination – Check all the travel documents entering Chile here)
  • If possible go to the airport alone and/or in a private transportation
  • Get to the airport with enough time (follow the recommendations of the airport and airline you are travelling with)

icon Hand sanitizer

At the airports

Most of the restaurants and shops are open so you will always find something to refresh, eat or shop at the airports.

Throughout the flight

At the moment most of the planes are not fully booked. This allows the airlines to separate passengers from each others and give them more space. During our flight to Santiago de Chile with KLM, we could use a whole row of three seats, which allowed us stretch our legs throughout the whole flight.

Food is served almost as usual, only the snacks between the main dishes are served in plastic bags.

The airlines recommend to stay on your seat whenever possible. Whenever you need assistant, you can call the flight attendants, they will be happy helping you with your issues.

Aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters in their cabins, which remove 99.97% of particles and bacteria, including the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Moreover, the air inside an aircraft is completely renewed every 2 to 3 minutes. The airflow drags the particles from above to foot level (vertically), further lowering their concentration and preventing the air from mixing across the rows. That is why physical distancing is not decisive within the air cabins, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

All these measures, together with proper and mandatory use of face masks, make the cabins as sanitary as an operating room. (source: Santiago Nuevo Pudahuel Airport)

Nuevo Pudahuel Logo

Travel documents to enter Chile

These are the actual required travel documents for non-residents entering Chile:

  • Negative PCR test performed 72 hours before travelling. In flights with intermediate stops, this is considered from the last boarding.
  • Fill out the Traveler’s Affidavit electronically, and up to 48 hours before boarding at www.c19.cl
  • Health insurance that covers medical treatment for COVID-19 during your stay, with a minimum coverage of USD$30,000.

Between November 23th and December 7th anybody arriving from countries with community transmission of COVID-19 must go under a 14-day mandatory quarantine, even if you have a PCR (-).

Check the updated information: OMS Weekly epidemiological update

Here you can find the official recommendations about traveling to Chile this 2020.

Find out detailed information about the reopening and the Step-by-Step plan of our government.

All information without guarantee. Changes at short notice possible

Ready to talk about your travel plans? Contact us and we will be happy sharing our knowledge with you!

Women Tour in the Atacama Desert

During this unique bike and hike tour in Chile, especially designed by women for women, we will immerse ourselves into the ancestral culture of the Likan Antai people. In addition, we’ll explore the most beautiful spots around San Pedro de Atacama, by foot and by bike.

We will enjoy tasty local food, get to know local traditions. As well as discovering the open skies, and relaxing in natural thermal hot springs. Our very unique accommodation offers us perfect moments to relax and enjoy the yoga sessions and other well-being moments.

 

A tour for adventure women and nature lovers!

 

Atacama Desert
Overlooking Mars Valley – San Pedro de Atacama

 

The Atacama desert is the highest and driest desert in the world. San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by the Andes Range, the Salt Range and the Domeyko range. The main highlights are the Moon Valley, the Mars Valley, the Atacama Salt flat, the Altiplano, the geysers and the Andean lagoons (4000 meters above sea level). Thanks to the volcanic activity it is possible to find hot springs and active volcanoes such as Lascar and Putana.  It has a variety of endemic bird species and flora species that makes it a unique place on earth. The indigenous people, who inhabits the charming villages are the Likan Antai people which culture has been alive for 12.000 years.

Likan Antai people

 

Corn presentation at the Ayllus

 

The Likan Antai or Atacameños communities maintain traditional ways of living alongside the oases and streams of the Loa River and the Salar de Atacama, without losing contact with the urban centers and current Chilean society.

Upon their arrival in the 16th century, the Spanish named the Andean population „Atacama“.During the centuries before the European invasion, the Atacameños used an unwritten language to name the local geography and the different ecological landscapes. According to the first linguists and travelers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Atacameño communities used the Cunza as their main language and called themselves, along with their territory, the compound word Licán-Antai.

The arid climate limited settlements to small and isolated oases. Each village was autonomous, made up of a group of related families under a chief working collectively. These villages or Ayllus were usually located on high ground, surrounded by defensive walls. The Ayllu is a form of extensive social community originating in the Andean region.

Weather in the Atacama Desert

 

The Moon Valley

 

The Atacama Desert is commonly known as the driest place in the world. Although the almost total lack of precipitation is the most prominent characteristic of the Atacama Desert, exceptions may occur. The Invierno Boliviano or Altiplano Winter is a phenomenon, which can produce rain and abundant electrical storms and occurs in January and February. The average rainfall is about 15 mm. (0.59 in) per year. Moreover, some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. This desert is so arid that many mountains higher than 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) are completely free of glaciers. Indeed, only the highest peaks have some permanent snow coverage.

In San Pedro de Atacama, the local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25ºC to 30ºC (77ºF–86ºF) in the summer (December to February) and 18ºC to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and can reach as low as −10 °C (14 °F) in the winter.

The best season for hiking and biking in the Atacama Desert runs from mid June through mid November.

Special features just for women 

 

cejar lagoon atacama desert
Cejar Lagoon, Atacama Desert

 

During our unique Bike and Hike Tour in the Atacama Desert we will focus on the incredible nature, landscapes and take a closer look of the local culture, especially by visiting local women.

On day one for example we will first pass by Solcor, Sequitor & Tulor. Here we will make our first stop in order to visit the archeological site Tulor. One of the oldest archaeological sites in northern Chile, that was excavated by the famous archeologist Ana Maria Baron, a very inspiring woman.

Afterwards we will met a friendly Likan Antai woman and her family at the Ayllu of Coyo. She will share with us some of her daily activities and ancestral cosmovision. She has worked on emphasizing the ancestral caravan with llamas.

Then we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Coyo, where we will be able to taste typical food prepared with local products. Finally, we will bike back to the hotel, rest from the sun and get prepared four our afternoon excursion.

Local women and traditions

 

women chile
Sandra and the traditional ancestral caravan

 

The third day of our trip also includes a great visit of the local women and their traditions. We will travel south towards the Altiplanic Lagoons, gaining altitude to enter the puna highlands and surprise ourselves with its particular vegetation: wildlife, lagoons and salt flats. It is where, without any doubt, the Miscanti Lagoon stands out: the largest in the entire Antofagasta region.

Later, we visit the town of Socaire, where the indigenous community still preserves part of the traditional Atacameñan way of life. In this small town, we will pay another great woman and her family a visit. The women of the family still keep alive the tradition of weaving, carrying out the complete process, from the spinning of wool to the production of the most traditional items in the area such as clothing and others.

We will enjoy lunch at the Guest House of the Indigenous Community of Socaire. After lunch, we will go to the town of Talabre, in the middle of the prepuna. There, accompanied by a local guide (mostly women) from the Talabre indigenous community, we will walk through Kezala, one of the gorges, that connects the high Andes Mountains with the Salar de Atacama basin. That treasure’s an invaluable archaeological heritage in rock art.

Later, we can enjoy a tasting of Lican Antai products before driving back to our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.

Yoga session and hotsprings

 

Yoga women tour
Yoga session at Atacama Loft and Glamp

 

Have you ever experienced a yoga session in the driest desert of the world? If not, it is time to do so during our Women tour. We will enjoy a relaxing yoga hour with a professional teacher in a safe and protected area. It is a perfect activity to enjoy the splendid sunset and to feel the magic of the desert.

Depending on the lunar cycle we might even join a full moon women circle on one of the evenings during our trip.

In addition to the soul treatment during the yoga session we will also relax at the amazing and natural hot springs of Puritama. Immerse yourself into the unique landscape and relax your muscels in the natural pools after a nice hike.

Star-gazing and the Andean cosmovision

 

women tour atacama
Astronomic experience in the driest desert in the world

 

The night in the Atacama Desert, its starry sky and the presence of ancient fire, give life to a unique and unrepeatable experience. Here, the knowledge of the Andean cosmovision of the skies meets the scientific understanding of the stars.

We will combine traditional scientific astronomy with the ancient Andean vision of the first astronomers of the place. They have been long before the first telescope. As a complement, we will also have the possibility to observe the stars through a modern telescope.

Local handicrafts and shopping

 

atacama desert
Village of San Pedro de Atacama

Accompanied by our guide, we will walk through the streets of San Pedro. The focus will be to learn a little more about its history and formation. And to finish familiarizing ourselves with some of the challenges that characterize and influence social organization, politics and life in this place. We will visit the nicest shops with local handicrafts. That is when we will have time to find some souvenirs and gifts for our family and friends.

Our accommodation: Atacama Loft and Glamp

 

women trip atacama
Glamping double tent

 

For this unique trip we chose a unique accommodation. The Atacama Loft & Glamp is a woman owned and managed accommodation with a very special atmosphere. Just a few car-minutes away from the busy center of San Pedro de Atacama. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the spectacular views or chat with a nice pisco sour at one of the cosy corners around the pool.

 

Interested in this tour? Check out our fixed departure dates until April 2022 and contact us for more details! Don’t miss out our top travel adventures in Chile for women travelling together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¡Eclipse Solar en Chile cada vez más cerca!

eclipse 2020 chile

“Estoy sobrecogido, yo había visto un eclipse casi total, pero entre un eclipse casi total y uno total hay una diferencia enorme, porque los dos minutos de la totalidad son sublimes, son como de otro planeta. Se vio la corona alargada con unas puntas hacia arriba y unas puntas hacia abajo, y además, la luz cambió de tono, era realmente lindo y además nos dio bastante frío”. Estas eran las palabras del doctor, y rockstaen astronomía y astrofísica, José Maza, el año 2019 al observar su primer eclipse total en Chile, emocionantes e increíbles considerando su trayectoria y todo lo que ha vivido en el ámbito de la astronomía.

 

Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.

 

En términos generales, es inusual que eclipses totales de Sol consecutivos sean visibles en un mismo país. Sin embargo, debido a los 8.000 kilómetros de longitud que tiene Chile, se da la posibilidad única de observar durante tres años seguidos espectaculares ocultamientos de nuestra estrella brillante y caliente de hidrógeno y helio – el Sol.

Eclipse solar el 14 de Diciembre 2020

 

El eclipse, como ya muchos saben, se volverá a repetir el lunes 14 de Diciembre, pudiéndose observar en su totalidad en la Región de La Araucanía, más precisamente en las cercanías del Lago Villarrica, destino Lagos & Volcanes.

 

Eclipse Line over map
Franja del epicentro eclipse solar 14.12.2020

 

Y según muchos expertos, en comparación con el fenómeno del 2019, el eclipse que se producirá en Diciembre en La Araucanía será aún más espectacular. No sólo porque se observará en uno de los destinos turísticos más bonitos de Chile, rodeado de volcanes y lagos, ni por su relación con el pueblo Mapuche y su cosmovisión. Sino porque será a pleno día, con el sol justo arriba de nosotros generándose así un cambio radical pasando desde un día soleado (estamos trabajando para que esto suceda ;-)) a la penumbra absoluta de la noche por exactamente 2 minutos y 7 segundos (60 segundos si lo vemos desde el Rancho Santa Amalia en nuestro tour exclusivo).

 

table eclipse
Tiempo de Eclipse por localidad

Seguridad en tiempos de COVID

 

Las buenas noticias han llegado esta semana desde las instituciones encargadas por velar por nuestra seguridad en tiempos de Covid. Finalmente, estamos permitidos a transitar por Chile casi con normalidad. Los traslados sin necesidad de un permiso entre comunas y ciudades, se podrán hacer solo en aquellas que se encuentren entre las últimas tres etapas del programa Paso a Paso. Es decir, en fase de preparación (lugares donde la cuarentena ya se levantó, salvo para grupos de riesgo), etapa de apertura inicial (donde disminuye el grado de confinamiento) y apertura avanzada (donde se levanta la cuarentena para la población en general).

Pucón, hoy, se encuentra en Fase 4: Apertura Inicial.

 

Sello Confianza Turistica

 

Con esta extraordinaria noticia, todos quienes quieran venir a ver este fenómeno astronómico, lo podrán hacer tomando todos los resguardos necesarios. En este sentido, Amity Tours ha implementado los máximos protocolos que la industria ha diseñado, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.

 

Nuestro programa exclusivo para ver el eclipse

 

Para quienes vengan, hemos preparado una exclusiva experiencia de 5 días diseñada especialmente para familias con [email protected] que quieren venir a vivir días que serán inolvidables. Uno de los aspectos importantes que hemos diseñado es, evitar los eternos traslados que se producirán por el movimiento de gente. Para lo cual hemos diseñado los trayectos para intentar evitar el colapso vial sin dejar de vivir una experiencia única.

 

Rancho Santa Amalia
Chalet en el Rancho Santa Amalia, Lago Colico

 

Nuestro tour Eclipse Araucanía lo diseñamos en conjunto con el Rancho Santa Amalia. Lugar único en Chile, escondido en un rincón del lago Colico. Rodeado de bosques milenarios y una cancha de polo privada para quienes se animen a jugar o tan sólo montar a caballo. Ahí serán atendidos por sus dueños. Disfrutarán de la hospitalidad del sur. Pero con todas las comodidades y servicios esperados de un hotel.

¡Nuestra recomendación es que se apuren en reservar, ya que este paraíso sólo tiene capacidad para 24 personas!

 

Horse Man Boy

 

Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.

Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia Chile

Kayak Women Torres del Paine view

Are you looking for a real adventure in South America? Would you like to share it with other women travelling together? Our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia is the perfect match!

 

Women Hiking Lake Mountains

 

During this unique women-only trip in Patagonia, you will enjoy the beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park. Also you will get to know very important entrepreneurs women. And for sure, you will get connected with your spirit during the private yoga and meditations sessions.

Hike and kayak with the best views of Torres del Paine Massif. Walk through the wilderness, kayak on pristine rivers and lakes, and enjoy tracking wild horses off-the-beaten path. Be part of the positive impacts generated in the Torres del Paine National Park. On this tour you will help the Legacy Fund in a special reforestation project. The comfortable Riverside Campsite and the authentic Patagonia Bagual Camp will be your home far away from home.

This is an unforgettable Multisport adventure to entice all outdoorsy types together with other adventurous women.

Why women only?

 

Group of outdoor women

 

Our Women Tours are designed for women by women, focusing on unique experiences especially appreciated by women. We created three different women tours in Chile. A Bike and Hike Tour in the Atacama Desert. On this tour we will immerse ourselves into the driest place on earth. We will connect with the local culture through interesting entrepreneurs women. Furthermore we are very proud about the first Hiking Tour in the Lake and Volcano District only for women. On this adventurous trip we hike up the active Villarrica Volcano. Furthermore we relax in hot tubs and most important, visit many important Mapuche and Non-Mapuche women. Finally, our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia is designed for outdoors lovers. Women who want to hike, kayak, learn about reforestation and wild horses on mostly unknown tracks.

We carefully created all our women adventures to give solo female travelers or friends the possibility to explore our country in a unique way. We packed all the trips with great and relaxing moments like massages, hot tubs, hot springs or yoga sessions. Travelling in small groups is a great way to experience a country. And of course also getting to know other people from around the world. On a women only tour the focus of wellbeing and connection to the Mother Nature are the main goals we want to achieve.  Last but not least, as we love the adventure, our trips are all fulfilled with unforgettable adrenaline moments.

 

 

women tour chile
Rafting activity on the Petrohue River – Puerto Varas and Osorno Volcano

 

Some special activities during our Multisport Women Tours in Patagonia

 

Getting to know the Kawesqar women

 

basket weaving kawesqar women

 

The first activity on our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia takes place in the little town of Puerto Natales. Here we will meet the friendly Kawésqar women. These women started and initiative that responds to the need of the indigenous communities to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar.

We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sister. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil. Through weaving the artisans will take you to know in first person not only their techniques and methods to weave the jonquil, but also their personal stories and history. In the beginning the basketworks were used to transport food collected by theses nomadic canoe-gatherers and hunter-gatherers. Afterwards they were exchanged with non-perishable food of modern ships travelling through ancestral territory. Nowadays the famous baskets are sold as an exclusive piece of art and design.

 

The project

 

The cultural elements -such as: language, the cosmovision, storytelling, basketry, medicine, the collection of shellfish and eggs, fishing in the sea, the hunting of birds and mammals, together with the great knowledge of navigation, diving, the geography of its territory and the coexistence with its environment of which we are part- those who motivate this group of young Kawésqar and friends to begin this path of study, rescue, visibility, and conservation of the treasure that today possess the old and new Kawésqar. Of alive or intangible heritage, to enthuse firstly the indigenous communities themselves, other original peoples and all those who wish to know more about the Kawésqar people.

The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, it’s members, culture and the ancestral territory.

 

Collaborate with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

 

Another interesting project we will not only visit but also collaborate, is the reforestation monitoring with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.

 

Reforestation two women lake in the background
Background

 

The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund is a non-profit initiative of Sustainable Travel International dedicated to ensuring a more sustainable future for Torres del Paine National Park and its surrounding communities. Launched in 2014 in response to challenges posed by rapidly increasing visitation to this iconic yet fragile landscape, the Legacy Fund mobilizes and implements collective stewardship of one of the world’s most cherished and spectacular natural wonders. It partners with local and international businesses, municipalities, park authorities, and visitors to collaboratively raise funds, awareness, and execute local sustainability projects that:

  • Restore and protect ecosystems
  • Improve tourism infrastructure and mitigate visitor impacts
  • Promote community development
  • Diversify recreational & cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.
Facts about Torres Del Paine National Park

 

In 2018, more than 285,000 people flocked to Torres del Paine National Park, considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. This figure represents double digit annual and five-year growth rates and is not expected to abate in the near term. Such intensive use and overcrowding have placed significant strain on the region’s unique flora and fauna, aging infrastructure, insufficient resources, and local population. Since 1985, three man-made fires, all started by tourists, have ravaged almost 1/5th of the park’s area, including native lenga tree forests, home to the black woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), Cachaña (Enicognathus ferrugineus) and the endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisculus), amongst other endemic and endangered species now facing drastically reduced and altered habitats.

Naturally occurring forest fires are nonexistent in this part of the world. That means when a species like lenga is devastated by human-induced fires, it won’t automatically recover. As a result, humans must intervene to rehabilitate and revegetate these ecosystems.

In response to the fires, Chile’s National Forest Corporation, CONAF, began ecological restoration efforts to accelerate recuperation of the park’s damaged forest ecosystems. Lenga seedlings are cultivated in a nursery until they are ready to be transferred into the park. They are then replanted in small clusters, or “nuclei,” of 100 in the least resilient fire-affected areas. To date, more than 900,000 lenga seedlings have been planted in the park.

 

Our support during the trip

 

Two women working in a field of young trees

 

The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund supports CONAF’s restoration efforts by monitoring reforested lenga nuclei. A combination of volunteers and tourists, YOU in this case, will join us on field expeditions to collect data on the health and growth of the young seedlings. This collaborative citizen-science effort will help inform CONAF to improve reforestation efforts in Torres del Paine.

 

Yoga session at a unique spot with a professional instructor

 

Meditation on yoga mats on a green field

 

There is no women tour where we do not incorporate a private yoga session. On this tour a professional yoga teacher will guide us through a 1.5 hours Hatha Yoga Class. Which will be accompanied by a meditation session of around 1 hour. This experience will depend on weather conditions as it takes place under the open sky, with stunning views over the National Park.

 

Tracking wild horses in a extraordinary surrounding

 

Mountains, River, Prairie and wild horses

 

On day 5 of our tour we’ll hear a short but interesting introduction to the area’s history and the evolution and characteristics of the wild horses. With the help of satellite tracking equipment, coupled with our guide’s experience and knowledge, we’ll begin our trek, searching for the 100 untamed horses that remain isolated in this sector surrounded by mountains, lakes, and plains, in the most pristine and untouched terrain of Torres del Paine. Depending on the location of the horses, we’ll choose a place to have lunch and share our stories and experiences. The experience of tracking, observing, and analyzing the horses in such natural surroundings is incomparable. Additionally, we’ll be privy to fantastic views of Lago Stokes, the Cordillera Dickson, and the imposing Towers.

A unique accommodation during our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia

 

Yurt with forest around and mountain at the backgroundTwin Yurt inside with two mattresses The Riverside Campsite is located within Torres del Paine National Park. The fully equipped campsite is located on the shores of the Serrano River, away from the buzz of crowded Refugios and campsites. The double deluxe tents are located on raised platforms, protected against the bracing Patagonian elements. Inside, the double-height mattresses, cozy down covers and heaters do operate during the evening to ensure a warm night’s rest. Permanent, separate male and female bathrooms with hot showers are just a short walk from the tents.

Meals are abundant, delicious and shared in a dedicated dining lodge with views of the Paine Massif’s changing colors and spacious room to lounge, relax, and enjoy great company. The buffet breakfasts, design-your-own packed lunches and chef-prepared three-course dinners are a nourishing mix of local delicacies and high-energy foods to fuel our days’ adventures. Think king crab, lamb, power bars, endless vegetables, eggs, cereals, jams and local cheeses. Vegans, vegetarians and guests with other dietary needs are more than catered for with a range of alternative milks, gluten free breads, vegan cheeses and soy products. And of course, beer, Chilean wine and Pisco sours mark the perfect end to a day’s trekking.

The own hostess is always onsite to answer questions and to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.

 

Kayak with Los Cuernos background

These and many more details make our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia a unique experience! Check out our fixed departure dates for 2021-2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury Nature Tours in Chile defined by Amity Tours

Relaxing hour at Corralco Mountain Resort

 

 

One traveler’s luxury is another’s ordinary.

For us at Amity Tours, a luxury nature tour is all about the experience, the disconnection and the unique feeling of freedom in a trip throughout Chile.

We’d love to share with you our definition of luxury!

 

Altiplano

 

The philosophy of Amity Tours

 

First of all, we are proud to call ourselves a boutique adventure tour operator from Chile, where luxury nature tours are our standard.

At Amity Tours, we are all fanatics for new adventures. Our guides are living in a constant adventurous state, showing and sharing the most beautiful places of Chile to our fellow travelers. Our drivers are always on the move, they can’t stand still and love to explore new places on our scouting trips. Likewise, the whole office team spends its free time in a national park, or on a camp ground together with friends and family.

That is why one of the main cornerstones of our philosophy is ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we define “adventure” as an experience where culture and nature are the main elements.

We are specialized in active travel experiences, with biking, hiking, skiing and multisport tours. What’s more, we understand that active travel goes along with excellent service, comfortable hotels and delicious great local food, wine and beer.

 

Relaxing hour at Corralco Mountain Resort

 

Our definition of Luxury

 

As George Morgan-Grenville once said: “Luxury travel today is defined less by thread count and Michelin stars and more by access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that is authentic about a destination. There’s no denying that comfort factors still apply and high standards of accommodation and dining will always feature on the luxury traveler’s wish list. However, today’s luxury traveler seeks more depth of understanding and immersion into local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to participate. The sales process is also critical and whilst the online proposition can be an asset in terms of booking more simple arrangements, clients looking for luxury experiential travel require a deep level of sophisticated knowledge and confidence during the sales process.”

There is no better way in explaining our definition of luxury tours at Amity.

 

Mate tea with Mapuche women

 

 

We definitely do not support luxury tourism without considering the impact it might have for the natural environment. Luxury tourism should never compromise nature, such as helicopter trips over national parks or high speed boat trips on pristine lakes.

To us, comfort doesn’t come in a “heli”. The negative impact of these kind of exclusive adventures for the wildlife is huge. There are many case studies, which prove the negative impact of helicopter flights for the natural surroundings. That is why we don’t think it is worth enjoying a short flight in a fragile environment while there are so many other great ways of connection to special places in the world.

We think that the real luxury on an adventure trip are the unforgettable experiences we make during the voyage. Experiences, which will leave a mark in our memories – as we learn more about a local place and culture.

 

 

Atacama Desert

 

Here are the luxury moments you can find during our nature trips in Chile:

 

  • Reaching natural thermal hot springs after a great cycling day over green rolling hills with the view of three volcanoes. No better luxury moment than relaxing our tired muscles in the thermal waters and listening to the sound of the cold river next to us. Check out this and much more unforgettable experiences in our bike tours.

 

  • Getting to a pristine beach after hiking through a thousand-year-old forests together with local indigenous guides. After the challenging hike in an almost unknown trail, a friendly local family is waiting for you in their typical housing, and offering freshly seafood – from the sea directly to the table. Interested in their ancestral seafood gathering? Join them during an afternoon on their simple wooden boats.

 

 

Mapuche family at their local housing on the pacific coast
Mapuche Huilliche Indigenous community at Mapu Lahual Reserve

 

  • Enjoying a private Yoga session in Atacama, the World’s driest desert, with a professional instructor. After a mystical highlands tour that includes hiking around geysers, we will get back to our very special accommodation. Here we can enjoy a deep connection with the nature and our spirit. This unique Yoga session is one of the many highlights of our Bike and Hike Women Tour in the Atacama Desert.

 

Yoga on our women tour
Yoga session in Atacama Desert, the driest in the World.

 

  • Have you ever dreamed about Backcountry Skiing on an active volcano? When traveling with Amity Tours, you get the opportunity to spot lava after a challenging climb and then enjoy the unforgettable off-piste downhill skiing. A real once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 

Backcountry skiing on the Choshuenco Volcano
Summer Skiing at Choshuenco Volcano, Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

 

  • Having a private Polo field, an exclusive lake front Lodge and stables full of polo horses to choose from. Santa Amalia Ranch is one of the most exclusive polo getaways in Southern Chile. It is situated next to the pristine Lake Colico, and immersed in the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve.

 

 

Lake boat pier
Santa Amalia Ranch – Colico Lake

 

Ready for an exclusive luxury experience?

 

  • Learning how to make an ancestral recipe from a famous Mapuche chef, while collecting the ingredients as we hike in the forest.
  • Embarking with local fisherman to birdwatching among the sunken forest in Chiloe Island. Feel the untouched nature and listen to the singing of the native birds. Our Conservation Tour is full of magical moments.
  • A great dose of adrenaline during the whitewater rafting on the Trancura, Fuy, and Petrohue rivers. No better way to experience the force of the water and the importance of good teamwork. We are sure that these are one of the luxury moments during our Family Adventures.

 

 

Rafting Rio Petrohue
Petrohue River, Puerto Varas

 

 

  • Horseback ride with panoramic views of the Paine Massif in Patagonia. A truly luxury moment for every nature lover during our Multisport Tour in Patagonia.

 

Horseback riding Tyndall Torres del Paine
Horseback Riding in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia Chile

 

In all of our luxury nature tours in Chile you will experience several “wow” moments.

Our bespoke team of travel designers are experts in curating the best tailor-made luxury travel experience for you. We know how to surprise you with details that make the difference.

What about a cold local brewed beer under an ancient Araucaria tree after an Andes climb?

Or what about a five-star picnic after an unforgettable mountain bike descent on an active volcano?

Or a Chilean folk-dance lesson in bicycle jerseys just because we passed by a traditional trade fair with live music?

 

Gourmet Picnic
Amity’s famous Picnic Table

 

 

Protection of the Environment – Sustainable Tourism

 

We are not only trying to minimize our negative impacts. We even maximize benefits to the environment and local community through different practices such as:

  • Being part of the expert team while creating the first UNESCO Geopark in Chile, Kütralkura (Rock of Fire, in native language).
  • Implementing sustainable tourism practices for the local indigenous communities in Chile.

All this is part of our Responsible Travel Policy, which is defined as following:

We believe and work in the universal standards put forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (Based on the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism), and we adopted the criteria specifically in these four areas:

  • Demonstrating effective sustainable management
  • Maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimizing negative impacts
  • Maximizing benefits to cultural heritage and minimizing negative impacts
  • Maximizing benefits to the environment and minimizing negative impacts

As an organization, we formally adopted the Values Statement declared by the Adventure Travel Trade Association – ATTA – of which we are a member.

This is an organization that nurtures and professionalizes the responsible and sustainable development of the adventure travel industry.

 

 Are you ready to experience real luxury nature tours in Chile with us?

 

Hotpot La Baita Ecolodge
Hot Tub at La Baita Ecolodge, Conguillio National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about the Chilean culture

Musician Accordeon

Amity Tours offers not just a simple trip to Chile. We make sure you learn more about the Chilean culture during all our tours. We would like to share some traditions from our friendly local team.

Active explorations in remote areas surrounded by nature will free our visitors to become part of the place. Adventure trips by Amity Tours will unfold meaningful experiences. We do enable our guests to discover and explore hidden corners, meet local communities and immerse themselves in the Chilean culture. This does reflect not only in our visits to the local indigenous communities but also in our team. You will find a true friend in our experienced and professional guides and drivers. In today’s post, we would like to introduce you to our top drivers, Orlando and Bernardo Gonzalez.

People behind Amity Tours

Our trips would not be possible without the fundamental collaboration of Orlando and Bernardo. These two brothers are not only our most experienced drivers, but also the hosts of our headquarters. Trouble shooters for any kind of unexpected issue before, during and after the trips, our personal mechanics and trailer builders and most important always ready for a nice chat and laugh.

Man Hiking OutdoorMan Chile Van

Thus, both of them started working with Amity Tours in 2007 and helped our company growing during the last 13 years!

They grew up about 45 kilometers outside of Pucón, up in the mountains and far away from civilization. Surrounded by beautiful native forests and Araucarias (monkey puzzle tree). The school was located 12 kilometers away from their house. By foot or horseback, was the only way to get there. So, they spent the whole week down in the school and only got home on the weekends.

Bernardo is not only a very experienced and safe driver. But he also loves riding bicycles. During our spectacular road cycling trips, he helps out whenever there is a mechanical problem. He also jumps on a bike to accompany our clients whenever possible.

Van Sprinter Volcano Flowers

The most fun part for him on the trips is the cultural night. We try to involve a nice evening with great local artists, where we show our traditional music and dance to our guests. This is where Bernardo presents his talent for music.

La Cueca – the chilean traditional dance

In 1979, la cueca was adopted as the national dance of Chile. Its presence can be recognized throughout the national territory, varying the choreographic and musical form according to the geographical area in which it is interpreted. But always preserving a common pattern that makes it a unique and differentiated dance;

The huaso (Chilean cowboy) advances towards the girl he likes the most and offers her his arm. She gets up, accompanying him in a short walk along the hall. The initial steps are very measured, calm, hesitant. The tissue move smoothly and, suggesting the insinuating twist of the Cueca, the huaso chases the fleeing woman, and using the tissue as if it were a soft loop, surrounds her without touching and brings his tissue to her side.

At the end, the huaso begins the shoe-tapping and usually looks like a skills competition with itself until the last lap and the hug and knee land.

In the countryside of southern Chile, the traditional dresses to dance the cueca are the peasant or country dress. The lady uses floral dresses with a petticoat underneath to expand the dresses and see them in broad form, shoes with heels. The man wears trousers sleeved up to the knee, straw hat, shirt and a blanket of red, blue, white colors.

People Party Guitar

Bernardo mentioned that exactly these very unique dress codes are making the dance a real spectacle! “Otra cosa es con guitarra”. (chilean slang which in this context would mean: there is no comparison between a dance in a normal dress or dance in the traditional cueca dress)

Let’s focus on another particularity of the Chilean culture.

The Chilean Slang

You can definitely fill a whole book about Chilean slangs and their meanings. Because of that, most foreigners coming to Chile struggle trying to understand the locals, especially at the beginning! It is part of the chilean traditions, using lots of particular slangs and words while talking. Every region has its particularity, in southern Chile for example people use to talk very fast and kind of sing their words.

Would you like to learn some slangs to survive in the Chilean jungle?

Bernardos favorite one is: Güatita llena – Corazón contento. = Belly full – heart happy. Which means enjoying a nice meal makes you happy.

A word Orlando think is very typical in Chile is: Pucha! = Oops!

Furthermore, some other slangs and words that may interest you traveling to Chile:

  • Andar a lo gringo: Not to wear underwear. (We ask ourselves: Do a lot of Americans go around not wearing underwear, or is this just a cultural stereotype?)
  • buena onda! = All right!, great
  • ¿Cachai? = Do you understand?
  • Pololo / Polola = Boyfriend / Girlfriend
  • Guagua = Baby in the mapuche language

Now, you should be prepared for your next trip to our country. That is why our two top drivers would like to invite you to another Chilean custom – join a typical barbecue with a nice cup of local wine.

The chilean wine

Wine Bottle Nature

In Chile we are very proud about our wine production. Thus there is no household in our country without a good bottle of the delicious drink. Bernardo recommends trying the emblematic grape called Carménère.

Amity Tours has developed an amazing Wine Tour that comprehends 5 wine valleys on central area: Maipo Valley, Casablanca Valley, Aconcagua Valley, Colchagua Valley and San Antonio Valley; a unique experience not to be missed. Where you’ll understand and verify why Chilean wines have earned such many prices and great reputation worldwide.

Fully licensed and responsible tour operator

Last but not least, Bernardo and Orlando want to highlight some other reasons why they really like working at Amity Tours. We are a sustainable tour operator, fully licensed and certified and care about our local team not mattering which role they play inside the company’ structure.

We are looking forward to showing you the Chilean culture and the beautiful landscapes in the Lake and Volcano District!

 

 

Chile – A journey from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean

Cordillera las Raíces

Chile is about 4300-kilometers long. We all talk about the extreme diversity from north to south. But did you know that in the average width of only 177 kilometers you can find an impressive natural and cultural diversity too? We take you on a journey from the Andes to the Pacific through the Lake and Volcano District.

 

Pichillancahue Glacier Hike
Hiking to the Pichillancahue Glaciar

First of all, some facts about the geography of Chile

In Chile, there are four large strips of relief, which give the physical environment a markedly longitudinal character.

These are:

  • The Andes Mountain Range, high and wide in the north, which descends to the south.
  • The intermediate depression, with high plateaus in the north.
  • The Cordillera de la Costa, lower than the Andean heights, but with difficult access to the sea.
  • The extensive Chilean shoreline with its equal coasts from Arica to Chiloé and dismembered towards the south of the country.

The Andes mountain range constitutes an imposing wall. Whose altitude gradually descends from north to south. Starting at the heights of the Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) in the province of Atacama, reaching  the modest peaks of Darwin (2,135 m), in the province of Magallanes.

Its colossal heights on the western slope are of climatic and economic importance. It acts as a climate screen, intercepting the western humid air masses and forcing them to rise and precipitate on its slope. Thus, it is how it is transformed into the reservoir of water and snow that it generates in rivers. These cross our country transversely and serve to irrigate the fields of the intermediate depression, supply water to urban agglomerations and allow energy to be obtained through hydroelectric plants.

Chile’s numerous rivers are relatively short; they are generally born in the Andes and flow west towards the Pacific. Thus, in the northern and central regions they feed mainly by the eternal snows that cover the Andes. While most of the great Chilean lakes, including the Llanquihue, concentrate in the wonderful southern lake region.

The natural and cultural diversity in only 150 kilometers

Let us get an idea about the divers landscapes in only 150-kilometers width. We take you on a imaginative trip from east to west to our beautiful Lake and Volcano District!

 

Cordillera las Raíces
Cordillera las Raíces

The Andes Mountain Range

Starting at the Andes Mountain Range we dive into the mystical Araucaría (monkey puzzle tree) forests and connect to the millenary species around us. Therefore we hike through deep forests, cross by crystal-clear lagoons and breath the fresh air of these altitudes. Meanwhile we imagine the daily life of the inhabitants in this area.

The local mapuche communities (Pewenches) are named after the Pewen – Araucaria, being its fruit the central element of their diet. History relates that the Mapuche were mainly engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. However, the Pewenches have been noted for being gatherers and ranchers. It is argued that the Pewenche “owned herds of llamas, which made them herdsmen-farmers who used wool. As for agriculture, the vegetation provided them with herbs and wild fruits. They cultivated corn, potatoes, beans, goose and quinoa, among which the pehuén”(Acosta, 2004: 4). Today, this ancient practice of collecting the gülliw – piñion – is maintained, starting the most characteristic process today: the “Veranadas” at the beginning of March.

 

Piñion, Araucaría fruit
Piñon, Araucaría fruit

 

Before continuing our journey towards the west, we climb up one of the magical volcanoes in the area. Let us try to reach the top of the very active Villarrica Volcano. We might even spot some lava on the top! Therefore we cross a glacier and prepare ourselves for some strong winds.

As soon as we reach the top we get impressed by the volcanic activity of the Villarrica (or Rukapillan, in the Mapuche language). Moreover the scenic view overlooking the beautiful lakes, rivers and volcanoes around will take your breath away.

The countryside and its prairies

Now, as we got to know the Andes Mountain Range, it is time to visit the flatter areas. Around the lakes, like Panguipulli, Villarrica and the second biggest Lake of Chile, Llanquihue, we enjoy the harmony of the green prairies, the wide rivers and the wheat fields. Lay back and feel the calm lifestyle on the countryside.

 

Chilean Lake and Volcano District Prairie
Prairie of the Chilean Lake and Volcano District

 

In this flatter area the Nagche and Wenteche Mapuche communities settled their homes. They mostly live from the agriculture and cattle breeding. In addition to the Mapuche families, many German immigrants found their new home in the Lake and Volcano District. Around the big lakes we find many German styled houses and can feel the German influence also on the menus. It is easy to understand, why these area is famous for its great cheese and beer…

 

Getting to the Pacific Ocean

Before we reach the coast, we have to take a deeper look at the very unique Valdivian rainforest. Were we count with an unusual diversity of tree species, many of which are unique in the world. Especially the Valdivian jungle stands out for its beauty. Some species of conifers in the Chilean forest are among the longest-lived in the world, for example the larch. Therefore we can enjoy some nice walks through thousand-years old forests with a dense undergrowth. Classified as a very special temperate forest, it counts with several specimens of native animals such as the Monkey of the bush, Pudú, Choroy parrot and the Black-necked Swan.

 

Reserva Alerce Costera
Larch trees at the Alerce Costero Reserve

 

Not only the landscape changes, while we get closer to the coast. Also, the habits and name of the local mapuche communities changes: Lafkenches (people belonging to the sea) use the coast as a settlement. They have an economy and way of life closely related to the sea and marine resources (fish, shellfish, marine mammals, etc.).

 

Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche
Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche

 

Finally on the Pacific Ocean, we get impressed by the lonely beaches, the ruff shores and the cold sea. While during the migration season (sep-may) we might even observe some delfines and whales close to the coast. Without any doubt getting to the Pacific Ocean after climbing up an active volcano, crossing by the harmonious prairies and getting lost in the dense Valdivian jungle is a the jewel in the crown.

 

Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean
Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean

 

Do you want to explore the Epic Pacific Coast trails?

 

Source: www.cultura.gob.cl/estudios/observatorio-cultural

 

 

Helpful tips for an easy bike care

Mountainbike tires MAXXIS

The bike season in southern Chile just finished. We are now taking care of a good after season – maintenance to get our bikes ready for the next trips. We are happy to share some tips about a self-made bike care.

 

Mountainbikes on trailer

Bike care made easy

Those who maintain their bikes will have more fun with them! With the right care, you can reduce wear extremely. This way, you can avoid costly consequential damage and you are even safer on the road.  We show you how to do it – in six easy steps.

Prepare all you need before you start:

  • Brush, sponge, rag
  • Bike cleaner
  • Chain oil
  • small tool box (with Torx bits)
  • Air pump with nanometer
  • small torque wrench (up to approx. 12 Nm)
  • for bikes with suspension: damper pump and suspension lubrication

 

Bike mechanics bike tires men woman
Changing tires at Amity’s Headquarter

That is how it works

Basic cleaning

To start, first wash your bike with a sponge and a bike cleaner detergent. This is how you get rid of coarse dirt such as sand and dust. Then, dry thoroughly with a rag.

Caution: You should not use a high-pressure cleaner – it can damage the bearings and seals!

 

Suspensions

Clean the fork and damper with a clean cloth. You can spray a suspension lubrication on the stanchions to lubricate the scraper rings. Then, use a damper pump to check the air pressure in the fork and damper. A negative suspension travel of approx. 25 percent is recommended for a mountain bike.

Bicycle drive

Clean the sprocket, chain ring, chain and gear thoroughly with a small brush and a cleaner. Apply chain oil sparingly. Then shift through all the gears a few times and wipe off the excess oil with a rag. If your circuit is hooked, you can adjust it using the adjusting screw.

 

Bike gear yellow black mountain bike

Tires

Check the profile. Are the tires worn? If yes, new ones are indispensable as worn tires are a safety risk! Are they still okay? Then check the air pressure. Proper tire pressure lets your bike roll quickly, ride smoothly, and avoid flats. Narrow tires need more air pressure than wide ones: Road tires typically require 80 to 130 psi (pounds per square inch); mountain tires, 25 to 35 psi; and hybrid tires, 40 to 70 psi.

 

Mountainbike tires MAXXIS

 

Brakes

Check the brake pads, blocks and discs. The covering on the brake pads should be at least one millimeter thick (check the manufacturer’s instructions!). If the rubbers are worn, new ones have to be found. If your brake no longer grabs properly, it may need to be bled. Then, contact an experienced bike mechanic.

Screws

Check all screws (e.g. saddle clamp etc.) and tighten them with a torque wrench. The Nm specification is often written on the components. If not, you can find them in the official instructions.

Ready is your bike for some new adventures!

 

Cannondale road bike

 

*Please note, this list does not claim completeness and we recommend contacting a professional bicycle mechanic in case of uncertainty.

Check out our confirmed bike departure date for December 2020

 

biker volcano lake nature

 

Where to buy good bike tools and maintenance.

*Source

 

Total solar eclipse in Pucón on December 14, 2020

solar eclipse 2020

Where will the phenomenon take place?

Chile is the perfect place for star gazing. On December 14th 2020, the focus will not be on stars but on the total solar eclipse.

Pucón is going to be the center of attention during this special day. The solar event is going to last 2h 50min. The eclipse will start at 11:41am with a total darkness at 1:04pm.

This very special phenomenon occurs 884 years after a similar astronomic event in the area. The Araucanía región is the territory where mainly resides the indigenous Mapuche community.

Map Chile Solar Eclipse
Foto credit: http://eclipseschile.gob.cl/index.html

Signification of a solar eclipse in the Mapuche cosmovision

 

Mapuche Ruka Woman
Señora Rosario, member of the Mapuche community
Foto credit: Jonatha Jünge

Many centuries before modern astronomy and its sophisticated telescopes, Mapuche people were already related to the cosmos. It was an important tool to predict the weather and influences on the land.

In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language, a total solar eclipse is called “lai antü” or “lan antü”, which means “death of the sun”. This phenomenon is also known as “malonji ta antü” (they came to cover the sun or attack the sun) or “zumiñii antü” (the sun darkened).

This event is expected with respect, since the sun represents the way of understanding time. The „lai antü“has a strong content, so designating the death of the sun implies the suspension of time, a change of cycle for the star, a change in the process. Faced with this phenomenon of time suspension that affects nature.

A partial eclipse usually means a good year for the community. But a total eclipse is a bad omen for humanity, including the possible death of a dear and respected chieftain.

Despite the negative interpretation of the event by the Mapuches, in the occidental culture this natural phenomenon is a true once in a lifetime experience. In addition of being the capital of adventure tourism in Chile, Pucón will be the lucky host of the total solar eclipse 2020.

Safety recommendations during the eclipse

  • Do not look straight at the sun without proper eclipse glasses (certified ISO 12312-2)
  • Do not stair at the sun using your camera, telephone or binocular
  • Kids have to be supervised by an adult during the whole event

Pre and post travel options around Pucón

Do not miss your chance of getting to know the best travel options around Pucón. Take a look at our top travel experiences especially designed for active nature lovers.

Contact us for any group request or tailor made program.

Quetrupillan and Lanin Volcano
Quetrupillan and Lanin Volcano