Highlights of Patagonia vacation

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06 Oct 2019
US $1764
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20 Oct 2019
US $1764
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03 Nov 2019
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17 Nov 2019
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01 Dec 2019
US $1797
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15 Dec 2019
US $1831
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29 Dec 2019
US $1831
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12 Jan 2020
US $1831
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26 Jan 2020
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09 Feb 2020
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23 Feb 2020
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08 Mar 2020
US $2139
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22 Mar 2020
US $2139
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04 Oct 2020
US $2139
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18 Oct 2020
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01 Nov 2020
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15 Nov 2020
US $2139
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29 Nov 2020
US $2179
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13 Dec 2020
US $2219
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27 Dec 2020
US $2219
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Highlights of Patagonia vacation

Environment

Patagonia is a remote, expansive region with many stunning National Parks to visit and trek through. Our tour leaders encourage passengers to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times by briefing them on responsible travel practices and ensuring that waste is kept on the overland vehicle. There are many educational excursions and activities offered on this tour that promote environmental awareness and also give passengers the opportunity to learn more about the surrounding environment.

We carry everything with us and dispose of any minimal waste responsibly. On tour we aim to shop as much as possible at markets, and cook or make our own lunches on travel days.

Minimal disposable plastic is used on our overland vehicle and certainly none of the one-portion food packaging that others might get from the en route shops or food stalls. With oceans of storage space we provide filtered water and discourage plastic bottles. Instead, we encourage the use of refillable water bottles throughout the tour.

Community

The tour employs educated local guides for many excursions in order to support the local community. The guides are chosen for their detailed knowledge about the region, as well as their dedication to promoting environmental and cultural and awareness in this area through their passion for their homeland. They encourage passengers to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times and Patagonia remains a pristine environment as a result of their combined efforts.

We offer pre-departure documentation which includes responsible travel tips, maps, regional advice and detailed itineraries which we share with our passengers before their departure to ensure that when they travel they are socially conscious and respectful of the environments they will be visiting.

We stay in locally owned accommodation, apart from in Torres del Paine where we camp, using bio-degradable products where possible. In other areas we stay at locally-operated hotels rather than international chains to ensure that local businesses profit.

2 Reviews of Highlights of Patagonia vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 22 Jan 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Pucon- range of activities, accommodation, general situation by lake, mountains and volcano.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for long days traveling in truck (bus). Unless you need a sleeping bag another time on your trip it is best to hire one as it is only required for 3 nights and takes up space in your luggage.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Supported local economy but did not feel there were any other benefits.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very enjoyable. Stunning scenery, variety of activities, truck was fun, driver was great. It is pity that the tour leader was not a Chilean or Argentinian national as the one we had did the bare minimum and had no local knowledge.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your comments; we are very glad you enjoyed your time in Patagonia. To further explain our responsible travel efforts, we support the local economy by staying at locally run hotels and assisting with the upkeep and protection of national parks with our entrance fees. This tour is also part of our carbon off-set program which, to date, has raised £90,000 for the World Land Trust leading to the purchase of various tracts of land in South America to protect against logging and human settlement. Our tour leaders are also trained on responsible travel procedure when visiting and staying in national parks including removing and disposing of rubbish and ensuring we use existing campsites to avoid damage to flora and fauna.

Our tour leaders in South America are a mixture of local and non-locals depending on who we find is best for the job and are generally very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Your comments have been noted and passed on to our South America regional manager, but as this tour leader is no longer employed by Tucan Travel there will be no further action.

Reviewed on 22 Apr 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing the Moreno glacier and hiking in Torres del Paine.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you have appropriate footwear (hiking boots). There is no need to bring a sleeping bag as these can be hired at the time (and they are good sleeping bags).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The only benefit to local people would be the custom of staying in hotels/eating in restaurants. We did make a conscious effort not to leave rubbish and I suppose 30+ people using 1 bus instead of various means of transport is environmentally friendly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Amazing vacation. Very varied and interesting with a good mix of people of all ages and nationalities. We saw all of the top sights in the area and good trips were organised e.g. horse riding.

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