Discuss Trips by Region
Thinking of doing trip. Have some issues on hiking up/downhill due to knee replacement. How many hikes like this are there? Are they required or optional. Look like only one or two days when this might be an issue.
edited July 2017
Hi, we are taking this tour next year and are very excited about the scenery we will see. From reading the itinerary it seems that there is one big hike mentioned that is optional and another day some short hikes, again, I think they are optional. But the tour is descrbed as a level 3 for activity and level 4 for pace. The first thing I would ask you, is how much walking are you able to do. We walk almost daily, certainly 5 out of 7 days a week for 4 or 5 miles each morning and swim every day from May to October. One of the regulars, Alan, on the forum, mentions that to get ready for specific tours they get in shape by starting extra exercise regimes several weeks before their trip, which is an excellent idea to get ready for any of Tauck's fours. Sometimes, just standing around a lot while listening to tour guides at tourist stops can be just as tiring on your back and legs. The same with weather, we generally avoid going to places when it is an extremely hot time of year, or extremely cold time, choosing comfortable temperatures we know we can cope with that adds to our stamina/ length of time we can walk or stand and indeed know our clothing will not require laundering after one wear.
I hope my suggestions might help you figure out how you might manage, also, talk to your doctors and to Tauck. I do have an acquaintance who has been to Patagonia, but not with Tauck, but I don't know when I will be seeing her to ask anything more specific. For us, this trip will replace the Antarctic tour that although it appears to be a Tauck favorite, we don't think for us, it is worth tolerating the cold and rough sea passages. We hope this will be a fabulous alternative.
Ken from Vegas
We did this trip in 2016. Activities may have changed since then. On this trip, changeable weather may modify your plans on any day. The are a number of hikes, almost all of them short and flat. All of them are optional, you can always stay behind. Your tour director will give you information to make up your mind in each case. Here's what I remember:
On day 3, there is a short hike from the boat to the Serrano glacier. Maybe 1/4 mile each way to see the glacier. Further, if you want to get up close. Trail is level, but uneven and, the day we were there, muddy. We didn't do Punta Jamon on our trip. Your itinerary says there's an optional short hike there.
On day 4, there was a hike at Torres del Paines. It was level on smooth trails and a rocky beach, but we had fierce winds (a bus - not ours - got blow over on its side that day). People had trouble staying on their feet and the hike was cut short. Many people skipped the hike altogether and sat on the porch of a nearby lodge.
On day 5, you have a choice of activities. You probably want to avoid the condor hike. We did not do this, but it was apparently quite a climb. We went to the caves. This involved a short walk with a little up and down (not too steep) on good trails.
On day 7, there is a short walk over rocky and uneven ground to the overlook at the end of the 4x4 ride. You should try to do this, the view is spectacular!
On day 8, there I an optional hike at the Perito Moreno glacier. You walk from the upper parking lot to the lower lot (about 1.5 miles, if I remember right). You can also do a short walk to see the glacier at the top and then ride the bus down. The paths are wide paved at the top, going to raised metal walkways further on. Most of the up an down is handled by stairs on the metal walkways.
All in all, I would say the with the exception of the condor hike, none of the hikes are difficult. However, you will need to judge for yourself. Happy Travels!
edited July 2017
Ken, great review, we hear this is a windy destination and not good for tennis shoes.
Ken from Vegas
Thanks, British. I did a full review of this trip when we got back. Look for it in this forum. Definitely windy, waterproof sneakers (like Keens) would be fine.
edited July 2017
Just reviewed your tips Ken, we did not know we would be going when you wrote that. We go next year in November, so it is a long way off. Newly retired, we have four more tours booked before this one, never booked so many in advance before but tours sell out earlier and earlier these past couple of years. Trying to space tours out and be mindful of when we need visas so can't book tours while without passports getting those visas. We are on a US road trip at present, first one we have done here in the US for a while, not having to get up too early and discoverinf unexpected delights you could only dream of seeing in the good old USA. Will read you info again nearer the time and keep looking at the forum as usual.
Were the optionals on the free day in Puerto Natales the ones offered by the hotel, or were you choosing from some other list of operators?
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