We blinked, and 2016 is already halfway gone! Yet for those still looking to travel this year, there is plenty of time to book a trip and many destinations ideal for the October through December timeframe. Below, Craig and Kota focus on two locations perfectly suited for a trip in the last quarter of 2016: Southern Patagonia (Chile/Argentina) and Botswana.
Let 2016 be the year you travel as much as you promised you would in retirement. Book the family holiday trip you’ve always dreamed of taking. Capitalize on your unused vacation days. Embark on an active adventure in Patagonia or kick back on safari in Botswana. Let us know where you’d like to go, and we’ll take care of the rest!
Southern Patagonia (Chile/Argentina)
Recommended by Craig Beal
In October, just as winter is taking hold in much of the US and Canada, southern Patagonia is just coming into season. El Chaltén, Argentina and Torres del Paine, Chile are as far south of the equator as Winnipeg is north. This means plenty of daylight in our autumn to spend all the time you please on the trails, in some of most breathtaking hiking spots on the continent. The region has been thoroughly scouted by Travel Beyond over the past few years, and we look forward to helping you plan your trip to one of the most remote, rugged and beautiful places on earth.
For avid hikers, a comprehensive trip to southern Patagonia can be a complete vacation on its own. And, unlike many safaris, you are likely to return home a bit fitter than when you left! The Argentine towns of El Chaltén and El Calafate are the gateways to the world’s most accessible glaciers, part of the third largest ice field on earth. The remote town of El Chalten has a youthful and energetic vibe, frequently visited by young hikers from the US, Western Europe and Japan. The well-marked trails will keep you on foot for as long as you may like, with some trails being almost 15 miles long. After a day of exploring, the small town welcomes you back with fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes to refuel for what might come next. My personal favorite dinner was at Estepa.
The relatively large town of El Calafate offers access to more trails and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, as well as the Perito Moreno Glacier, which has the longest horizontal terminus of any accessible glacier on earth. Hikes are a bit less challenging compared to El Chalten, and despite its remoteness, the town offers exceptional shopping and night life. Luxury lodges like Eolo, about 15 miles outside of town, means there is no limit to the level of comfort you can enjoy when you are finished with your daily activities. On my next trip I look forward to a voyage on the Santa Cruz, which sails Lago Argentino and takes guests to the Upsula Glacier and other glacial places accessible only by boat.
Across the border in Chile is one of the most scenic national parks in the world: Torres del Paine. Combinable with Argentina or visited as a stand-alone destination this last outpost of the Americas will leave an indelible impression. You will have opportunities to see condors, guanacos and possibly pumas, and the uninterrupted horizons are a photographer’s dream. After a visit, you will be able to shut your eyes and visualize the base of the Towers, or perhaps recall looking across Lake Pehoe at Macizo del Paine to take you away from life’s everyday stressors. The scenery is indescribable and unlike anyplace else on earth.
For accommodations in Torres del Paine, Explora Patagonia is close to the geographic center of the park, has the quickest access to the most popular hiking trails (in addition to stunning views of the towers) and owns their own horses in a nearby stable. Eco Camp and Hotel las Torres are on the eastern side of the park and offer affordable accommodations for avid hikers who want to complete the iconic W trek or portions of it. Tierra Patagonia can be combined into a nice circuit with their sister properties in central and northern Chile. The comfortable yurts at Patagonia Camp offer an adventurous lodging option and a great night’s sleep! As a member of Relais & Chateaux and offering one private guide for every two guests, Awasi is setting the standard for luxury in the Chilean outdoors. It’s a fantastic option for an active honeymoon or a milestone trip.
Our autumn is a fantastic time to travel to southern Patagonia. It is early in the season, and the local markets and attractions will be significantly less visited than the time period from mid-December through February. Your Travel Beyond consultant will assess your travel style, your objectives, your budget (and your fitness level!) before recommending accommodations and an overall itinerary. We have direct business relationships with the most beautiful and upscale properties in the area, and we can quickly put your travel plans into motion.
Ken, Kayla, Jenny, Jennifer and I have all have thoroughly explored Patagonia, and we’d love to share our knowledge with you. You can learn more about Patagonia by reading our blogs or setting up a consultation.
Recommended by Kota Tabuchi
My first several trips to Botswana were during the months of October through December. The heat is settling in and the rains arrive. There’s a sense of renewal and a majestic atmosphere to this time of year. Teeming with wildlife activity, the occasional clapping of short but magnificent thunderstorms, the warm African sun and low density tourism, Botswana remains my favorite year-round destination.
The Okavango Delta remains the hero, but other destinations within Botswana start to become intriguing this time of year as well. The Linyanti, Selinda and Chobe areas remain productive, but later into the “shoulder” season, places like Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Nxai Pan and the Makgadikgadi Pans start to fill with seasonal game. Attracting masses of animals and unique desert species, the diversity in wildlife experiences available during this period is the most abundant. It’s the most underrated time of year, but my personal favorite!
Although no less spectacular than any other time of year, shoulder season in Botswana goes into a deeply discounted period. Botswana’s most coveted camps, many of them going for well over $1500 per person per night during peak season, see discounted rates of often more than 50%. Still the same level of luxury, quality of food and guiding; simply a different time of year. It transitions from the most exclusive destination in Africa to one of the more accessible. In addition to the accessibility of Botswana during this period, the diversity in experiences is also the most robust, making “shoulder” season Botswana arguably the best safari destination for your money!
Companies such as Wilderness Safaris and Kwando Safaris operate in a variety of areas throughout Botswana, making for unique circuit opportunities through their special promotional shoulder season rates. For example, Kwando offers their unique 5 Rivers program in which their camps across Botswana (including Central Kalahari, Nxai Pan, Okavango and Linyanti) offer deep discounts alongside companies like Wilderness Safaris, Ker & Downey, Great Plains, &Beyond and more. Travel Beyond partners with all upscale luxury product in Botswana that offer great value to our guests during this phenomenal time of year.
For more information on Patagonia, Botswana or other destinations in 2016 and beyond, contact us. We look forward to designing a custom trip for you!