To all who have gone on the Patagonia trip, is this the Condor walk? I'm trying to get a visual of the level of difficulty:
(I hope it is ok to post this.)
Can't say for sure, but kinda looks like it.
Here's one of my pics at the top:
Beautiful photo. But I was hoping for the journey and not the destination.
I did the trip in 2018. If you're in decent shape, you should be fine. As I recall, there was one steep section. The guides were patient, not rushing anyone. The guide in front took the faster paced group and a rear guide stayed in the back. There weren't any sections particularly technical or challenging.
BKMD in the video, starting around 35 sec, the trail (if you can call it that!) gets very narrow and slanted to one side. Physically I could probably manage most of the hike but I'm prone to vertigo, and slippery downhills make me nervous. Obviously need to wait and see what the weather conditions are when we get there, but I was just curious. If the trail looks a lot like the video, I might opt for a different activity. 20,000 steps of city walking is no problem but hiking is another story for me. Thanks. PS the Singular Patagonia lists the Condor Hike as "intermediate".
We just did the hike this February and I am fairly certain the video is of the same hike.
I agree the guides were very patient. One of the members of our group was not keeping pace with those at the front and stayed with the second guide. She had a great time, also making it to the top after we descended by taking an alternate route. They even ran into a wayward guanaco on their trek.
It is an intermediate hike and more challenging than longer walks in a city. The hotel provided walking poles and they were used by everyone. Dress in layers - it was cool near the bottom, then we all stripped off layers as we worked up sweats, then toward the top was extremely windy and cool again and were shrugging on hats and windbreakers. There are steep parts, but we took plenty of breaks on the ascent. The areas near the top were steep but steady ground/rock: more like taking a big set of stairs. We ran into more difficulty on the descent where you get on the wide trail which has loose pebbles - I slipped on my rear a few times.
If you do plan to do the Condor hike I recommend relaxing in the afternoon and not trying to pack in a second activity. Its a lot of physical exertion. I enjoyed doing the hike in the morning then relaxing with our complementary massage and enjoying the beautiful pool in the afternoon.
Wan - I don't recall that narrow, angled stretch, but for me, it was 5 years ago, and something like that wouldn't be memorable for me. I live in Colorado and do a lot of mountain activities. I do recall not using walking sticks, but having to keep my distance from some people who did, but didn't know how to use them.
Yes that could be it. When we did it, the guides set a very fast pace. What I found was a pain was the changing temperatures and wind. I hate being hot so I was stripping layers off so fell behind a bit. I decided not to go completely to the top as there were plenty of condors to see at that level. My husband went to the top and it was snowing. This is a great tour
Thanks everyone. Yes, it is the descent that always gets me, especially loose stones. I missed out on the "mountain goat" gene, unfortunately.
I've contacted the hotel about suggestions for easier hikes. Quick Internet search shows quite a few easy and scenic hikes in the area or further away by car. Let me know if any of you have any experience booking your own excursions through the hotel. Thanks.
Wan, if I remember correctly the hotel is very remote and one of the most amazing hotels we have ever stayed in. It was originally a meat processing factory and all the original machinery is still there behind glass. The machinery is over 100 years old and made in the UK. It is absolutely fantastic. So I’m sorry I can’t be sure there are other things tovdo in the area.
Your room will have an entire wall of glass. The alternative thing to do instead of the Condor hike, I can’t recall but people found it disappointing. As I have said, if I can take this tour again I would. I think it is a great alternative to going to Antarctica and much better value for money, lots of glaciers and icebergs and a better variety of wild life. Maybe since we did the tour, there’s has been requests to make the Condor climb slower paced, or not go to the very top as you will likely see Condors at the lower elevation. Hey, I’ve seen five or six Condors on my US tour this week!
Hi British, I do see that the hotel is in a remote location, so I was already thinking we'd have to go by car. If Tauck cannot come up with alternative hikes, there might be a small group I can gather and we can hire our own guide. Tours by Locals also runs customizable hiking tours in the area. I'm not too worried.
There are a few alternate activities. They have the sloth caves hike/walk, which is comparatively easy. In 2023 they introduced another walk, I think called Pioneers, which has an opportunity to see some birds (not condors) and stretch your legs without climbing a massive hill. Horseback riding was another activity as was being dropped off in the town for half a day. You can choose one activity in the morning and one in the afternoon. Your tour director will be able to advise when you make your selections.
One couple in our group arranged a private guide to take them fly-fishing. You have the entire day to yourself to spend on excursions or otherwise, so if you want to arrange something private if you like. There are plenty of options in the area.
Thanks, PGH, all that is very reassuring. I saw those other activities on the Singular Patagonia website. I'll see what else the hotel can do on a customized basis. I'm not wishing to spend a fortune, but in the grand scheme of things...and seeing as how we will likely not be returning...….One other thing for anyone considering doing customizable tours that I learned from the School of Hard Knocks is that any non-Tauck activities may not be covered under their trip protection plan. I'm glad I didn't lose too much money finding this out.
Wan. Can you clarify about the insurance? Insurance is insurance surely unless you are doing something that requires a waiver. But maybe you know better from your experience, we certainly have signed a lot of waivers on Tauck tour activities these days. Does that mean the insurance Tauck has does not cover even those activities or is it a waiver for just the sub contractors?
British: I don't know the details of Tauck waivers. What I meant was, if I were to book with a tour contractor outside of Tauck, say I found a tour guide to take us to a hiking area away from the hotel, I don't think Tauck would cover any injuries that happened to us on that private/personal excursion. It would be something for everyone to clarify as needed.
Recently in Italy I had paid $150 for a guide to meet us the day of the start of a Tauck tour. We had to cancel the trip in advance and Aon did not cover that $150. I was told anything outside of a Tauck activity was not covered. I don't know about coverage for privately booked tours while a Tauck trip is in progress.
I'm not saying that people should get extra insurance, but only to be extra aware if you do buy the Aon package of what it may and may not cover, and plan according to your needs.