Chile’s newest outdoor adventure company took members from the I Love Chile team out to Cajón Del Maipo to take in the sights and test out the latest caravans to hit Chile.
CAJÓN DEl MAIPO — They aren’t far away really. The Andes. The snow-capped monsters that loom over even the Costanera Center. I mean, when you spend so much time in the city looking up at them, they look so close. But how does one get to the Andes?
I for one was under the impression that horse was the best way. Or maybe that’s just my weird obsession of wanting to ride horses in this country…
So no horse, maybe bus? Yes, you could pay for a bus ride. Take the six-hour or so trip up into the snowy peaks, get out, throw a snowball or two, and then pack it up and ride home in an hour.
Yet it’s too short – the Andes deserve more than a short trip – so how? Well, just ask Mauricio Moure Casabianca of Chile Caravan. He’ll tell you to look no further than one of his brand new, world-class caravans.
I was asked by Mauricio to join him in one of is caravans up to a spot in the lower Andes called, Cajón Del Maipo. After he had finished laughing at my gringo pronunciation of the locale for a good five minutes, I agreed, deciding it was an adventure I couldn’t pass up.
So off we were on a sunny Saturday morning to the Andes. Geared with a pick-up truck and one of the brand new caravans, Mauricio and I cruised into the foothills while jamming to progressive rock.
Let me tell you, it was shaping up to be a good day.
As we pulled the caravan up into the mountains I wondered if pick-up truck’s were the only vehicle capable of taking this trip. Mauricio assured me that almost any vehicle can take the caravan into rough areas.
The caravan is surprisingly light, and can hook up to any car that has the proper towing equipment. Good to know! Maybe my 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe can make the trip? She works like a charm!
Higher and higher we climbed into the snow-capped mountains. These roads were gorgeous, mind you. Some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. Goats, Condors… you really can find them anywhere in this country.
Even when we climbed near vertical cliffs the caravan still chugged along. There were moments where I didn’t even realize we were towing the equivalent of a small home behind us.
Once we reached proper altitude, we found an empty snow covered field and parked. Lunch, coffee, heat, TV – it was all there on the top of a mountain. Sure, you can say, that’s not camping! You have to experience the elements! Well, go for it. Step outside and experience the cold bitter wind, I’ll be sitting in this caravan with a cup of coffee watching a movie.
But I guess that’s the beauty of these things. You can take them literally anywhere and still have a home environment to come back to.
After a day roughing it in the sweltering heat in the Atacama, hop back into the cool 14 degree AC of a Chile Caravan and prepare yourself a nice salmon dinner.
After a bitter cold excursion to watch penguins in Patagonia, warm up in a nice cozy bed with a cup of coffee steps away from Torres Del Paine.
That’s what Mauricio is hoping Chileans will understand: the dual nature that these caravans provide is unparalleled in the Chilean market.
No other travel company offers you both the flexibility to travel wherever you want and bring your hotel with you. It’s a new idea for Chileans, but it’s already shown to be successful.
As Chileans begin to take on more adventurous activities such as mountain biking, hiking and rafting their thirst for versatile accommodations will ideally follow suit.
So what exactly does a world class caravan give you? I figured it would come with a bed, maybe a toilet, and a kitchen table. You know – the essentials.
Well the caravan did indeed have a bed: four to be exact. It also came with a kitchen which included a sink, full refrigerator/freezer and a range. And a flat screen TV that swivels from inside the caravan, to outside the vehicle if that’s your preference. And heating and air conditioning.
Let me tell you, this thing is nicer than any apartment I have ever lived in…
As we wrap up our time on the top of the hill, we plow through the slush as if it wasn’t even there, and trek back down the mountain.
Now, I have been in caravans back in the U.S., but trust me, it’s not the same. Sure taking a 1970’s wood-paneled behemoth 30 minutes outside of Racine, Wisconsin may seem like the trip of a lifetime, but rest assured, it isn’t.
I’ll take the views of the Andes mountains, the Atacama Desert, Torres Del Paine or the Chilean coast 10 times out of 10. Chile Caravan is an adventure, and it’s exactly the type of adventure you need to experience the beauty of a country like Chile.