From the west, the long lines of Lombardy poplars flanking RN 7 offer a dramatic approach to Uspallata, a crossroads village in an area that, thanks to its resemblance to the central-Asian highlands, enjoyed 131 minutes of cinematic fame as the base for French director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s movie (and Brad Pitt vehicle) of Heinrich Harrer’s memoir Seven Years in Tibet. Annaud airlifted in yak extras from Montana for the filming, which journalist Orville Schell chronicled in his Virtual Tibet (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000).Destination:Activities:
Local folklore says Walt Disney’s cartoon feature Bambi modeled its forest after the arrayán woodland at the tip of Península Quetrihué, a former estancia that became a national park in 1971. With their bright white flowers, the eye-catching red-barked forests of Myrceugenella apiculata do bear a resemblance, but a Disney archivist has pointed out that Bambi was in production before Walt’s 1941 trip to Argentina and that he never visited the area.Destination:Activities:
It’s not unusual to meet cyclists riding their way down the Transpeninsular Highway, often as part of longer coastal journeys from Alaska all the way to Panama. While we understand the attraction of this epic cycling tour, we believe the dangers of riding along the highway have been downplayed for too long.Destination:Activities:
In a secluded coast range valley on the border between the Metropolitan Region and Region V ( Valparaíso), northwest of Santiago, the village of Caleu has attained a certain rustic chic among Santiago’s elite—including ex-president Ricardo Lagos, who owns a weekend house here.
Perhaps because it has avoided the more garish aspects of Chile’s economic transformation, Caleu is widely regarded as symbolic of a simpler past, with its modest artisans’ market and November’s equally modest Feria Artesanal y Gastronómico (Crafts and Food Fair).Destination:Activities:
Just before the road begins its final ascent to the major ski resorts, it passes the entrance to Yerba Loca, one of Santiago’s best hiking and mountain biking options. Even in winter much of this scenic high mountain area remains snow-free. Donated to the comuna of Las Condes by former fundo owner Hans von Kiesling and now under Conaf management, this national monument gets far fewer visitors than it deserves.Destination:Activities:
Barely an hour southeast of downtown Santiago, the Río Maipo has cut a deep canyon through more than 70 kilometers of the Andean foothills before it meanders onto the plains near the town of Pirque. Once the border of the Kollasuyu, the Inka empire’s southernmost limits, the Cajón del Maipo (Canyon of the Maipo) is one of urban Santiago’s great escapes, barely an hour from the Plaza de Armas.Destination:Activities:
At the foot of ominously smoldering Volcán Villarrica, 25 kilometers east of the town of Villarrica via Ruta 119, Pucón (population 13,837) has gained a name over the past decade as the destination for hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, windsurfers, and white-water rafters and kayakers.Destination:Activities:
Parque Nacional Puyehue consists of three distinct sectors: Aguas Calientes at its southwestern border, Antillanca at its southeastern border, and Anticura, mostly north of Ruta 215.
From the Termas de Puyehue junction, a paved road leads four kilometers south to Termas Aguas Calientes (tel. 064/331710), where the highlight is its namesake thermal baths, open to hotel guests, campers, and day-trippers alike. Under the same management as Termas de Puyehue, its rates are more affordable.Destination:Activities:
Room 2308, Bldg. 2, 2918 Zhongshan Beilu, near Caoyang Lu
HOURS: Daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
COST: ¥500 day trip, ¥1,300 overnight trip
METRO: Caoyang Road (Line 3, Line 4)
Escape the city with a BOHDI Adventures trip. Dedicate a whole day to cycling in the bamboo-groves of Moganshan near Hangzhou or spend an afternoon exploring a water town on foot or by bike. If you want to get out of town overnight, sign up for a two-day visit to a nearby mountain or lake.Destination:Activities:
Antigua’s mountain terrain and the variety of trails traversing it make mountain biking a popular recreational activity.
Old Town Outfitters (5a Avenida Sur #12C, tel. 5339-0440, www.adventureguatemala.com, $35 half day) is a highly recommended outfitter offering rides for all skill levels. Half-day options include easy rides in the Almolonga Valley or in and around a coffee plantation to edge-of-your seat single-track rides careening down volcanic slopes or along narrow mountain ridges with fantastic views. Its equipment is top-notch and well cared for.Destination:Activities:
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