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This is a very low-key tour. There were only four of us in the vehicle, which made for a pleasant experience. It consists of a drive, with photo-op stops, up the canyon to a ski resort, some time walking around the resort more photo ops, including condors, and then a stop on the way down the canyon for wine and cheese. We went in late summer March, there was no snow even at the ski resort. Our only complaint is that the contact phone number supplied via Viator was inoperative, which was a bit of an issue since the driver was held up in traffic and we tried to make contact to verify that he was coming.
We opted for the morning tour. Our guide, Nicholas, from Andes Explora Expediciones, was waiting for us in the hotel lobby, and drove us up through the mountains to the Valle Nevado ski resort. Nicholas's passion for the mountains, and his great knowledge and love of the flora and fauna, were evident as he identified the wildlife around us, named the mountain peaks and told us some of their history. At the ski resort we walked through to a vantage point over-looking a deep valley, where Condors were usually sighted. Unfortunately we were out of luck. On the return down the mountain we suddenly went off-road to a secret spot where Nicholas set up a buffet of wine, cheese and olives. This was the highlight of our entire South American vacation soaking up the tranquility, drinking wine and eating olives and cheese whilst watching a condor and its young soaring below us, and, behind and above us, a caracara was teaching its young to hunt. Magical.
Tomás and Nicolas gave us the most amazing trip into the Andes Mountains. Not only were they really friendly, they had so much knowledge and information to share with our family. This is a complete experience that can be enjoyed by all ages as our party ranged 11 to 76 year olds. We were picked up on time from our hotel and whisked away into the mountains where we saw the geological features, Condors circling the skies and the most beautiful wild flowers. The trip ended with a great surprise location for our top quality local wine and cheeses where we had more opportunities to learn about Chile from our amazing guides. I would recommend this experience for anyone who wants to enjoy the Andes with interesting, entertaining and knowledgable guides - this tour has it all.
This excursion with Coigue Expeditions is a wonderful half-day into the foothills of the Andes winding through a beautiful landscape up to the ski resort of Valle Nevado. On arrival there we were greeted with the sight of Condors resting on the rooftops. A small hike to a viewpoint was rewarded with not just stunning glaciated scenery but condors flying gracefully above us and in the valley below. Clearly such viewing is not always guaranteed but it does appear to be a hotspot. On the way back we stopped at another impressive isolated viewpoint for a wine and cheese picnic. With the great food and drink supplied we were watched over by an inquisitive caracara. Our friendly driver and guide Nicolas shared his knowledge and local insights to enhance our experience of this natural environment, stopping frequently for photo opportunities. Usually limited to no more than 6 people this is an excellent personalised, comfortable and enjoyable way to escape from Santiago and see the Andes if your time is more limited.
The drive to Valle Nevado was incredible. Our driver was also the guide and he knew the area well. He kept the information flowing through those sixty turns to the top. The cheese and wine time was memorable sitting on a rock outcropping watching condors soar above the canyon. Despite the smoke and pollution it was an outstanding trip.