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October 24, 2012 - 17:37
What’s the best way to train for trekking the Paine Circuit? How about hiking the W Trek? If you’re thinking of booking a hiking tour in Torres del Paine National Park - or if you’ve already booked it - you’ve probably asked yourself these questions. The answer is to find whichever way to train that suits you and stick to it. After all, when the time comes you’d rather be gasping in awe at the unforgettable granite towers than gasping for breath halfway through the hike. The good news for those who struggle to commit to a fitness routine and maintain motivation is that technology can lend a helping hand. Your iPhone can’t do the workout for you (yet!) but it can help to make the training regime for your Patagonia hike more well-rounded, better targeted and, most importantly, a lot more fun. We’ve rooted out the best iPhone apps and combined them into five simple steps to help you get into shape and tackle the Paine Circuit or W Trek head on.
October 23, 2012 - 16:33
Our vacation time is precious, so when we do head off on a trip with family or friends it’s really important that we get exactly what we want. Sometimes taking a quick browse of the many tours available is all you need to find your dream trip straight away. But everyone is different, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find what you want straight off the shelf. Maybe you’re looking for something extra, or maybe there’s a tour with everything you want but also some things you don’t. Fortunately, Chile has as many different landscapes, climates, activities and cultures as there are people, so you can be sure your perfect trip is out there and Cascada knows just how to find it. Take a look at the queries below, and see if a customised tour might be the best fit for you.
October 22, 2012 - 17:53
Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia is a rugged landscape of rocky mountains, open grasslands and forests crisscrossed by fjords and rivers. As a result, the region benefits from a huge variety of birdlife, including 118 separate species. Many people choose to enjoy birdwatching as a sideline to the W Trek or Paine Circuit, or on increasingly popular wildlife safaris and with a few extra details even those with no twitching knowledge can get even more out of their Patagonia experience. This beginners guide to ten of the most exciting birds explains what you can expect to see, when and where you can see it and how to recognise it when you do.
October 19, 2012 - 17:56
Some say the word Patagonia means ‘Land of the Bigfeet’ in reference to the giants that, according to legend, once roamed the land at the end of the world. We’re not sure if that’s true, but we do know that looking after your feet during your hiking tour in Patagonia can mean the difference between endurance and enjoyment. The key to healthy feet lies in choosing the right shoe for you, but the world of the hiking boot can be a confusing place for the uninitiated. It’s always good to ask salespeople for their thoughts, but if you’re unsure of the terminology you might worry that you’ll end up being persuaded to pay extra for features you don’t need or to buy something that doesn’t fit the bill. Never fear, Cascada is here with a handy guide to choosing the right footwear for your trek in Patagonia.
October 17, 2012 - 16:22
We kick of this blog series with a review of The River of Desire by Simon Worrall, with thanks to the author for the review copy.
October 16, 2012 - 17:31
On the face of it, you might not think that hiking in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia would require a great many guidelines. After all, how many ways can there be to go for a  walk? But in fact there are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that everybody has an enjoyable, safe experience that causes as little damage as possible to the environment that they’ve come to see. Enjoyment, safety and preservation; these are the three principles that underlie Cascada’s ten commandments for trekking in Torres del Paine National Park.
October 12, 2012 - 15:58
Located more or less halfway down Chile’s length, the capital city Santiago is the ideal gateway for visitors moving on to adventures in Patagonia, the Chilean Lake District and the Atacama Desert to name just a few incredible regions. However, it’s worth remembering that it is also a fantastic tourist city in its own right. In fact, Santiago has just been named the second best city in Latin America in a survey by City Rep Trak (although we think it should be first!). Rather than heading home straight from your hiking tour in Patagonia or your trek in the Atacama Desert, why not take an extra day in Santiago and Cascada will show you how to make the most of just 24 hrs, no matter who you are or what you’re into.
October 11, 2012 - 17:12
A hiking holiday in Patagonia, the remote expanse of wilderness at the end of the world, used to be a means of leaving all modern technology behind. However, with the advent of smartphones, there is an increasing understanding of how technology can now enhance our enjoyment of our natural surroundings. Like a Swiss Army Knife for the 21st Century, a smartphone equipped with the right apps can replace multiple bulky pieces of equipment, cutting down valuable weight and enabling you to trek further for longer. There is a huge range of apps out there aimed at the outdoors sports community, especially if you’re hiking in less remote areas of North America. But what if you’re planning a trek in Patagonia, where phone signal is patchy to non-existent and only major roads are marked? Well, we’ve yet to come across an app dedicated to hiking in Patagonia, but in the meantime, here is our pick of best apps for this unique environment.
October 10, 2012 - 15:50
The jaw-dropping landscape of Chilean Patagonia is the ideal location for all kinds of outdoor pursuits including trekking and hiking. While they are often used interchangeably, the terms ‘trekking’ and ‘hiking’ are distinct but it can be hard to pin down exactly what the difference is. To complicate things even further there is also regional variation between American, Australian and British English, whilst if you’re from New Zealand you might even go ‘tramping’ instead! To help you choose the right activity for you, Cascada defines what the terms hiking and trekking mean to them.
October 9, 2012 - 16:02
Torres del Paine National Park in the far south of Chile is dominated by the Paine Massif, a spur of the Andes Mountain Range that looms above the Patagonian steppe.The dramatic landscape was formed by the collision of the South American and Nazca Plates, and has been carved and shaped over thousands of years by the force of colossal glaciers. The resulting geographical features create a spectacular natural exhibit on a scale that has to be seen to be believed. With such unique beauty on offer, it’s no wonder that hiking trails in the Torres del Paine National Park often rank highly on lists of best treks in the world. To ensure you don’t miss a trick, here is our potted guide to the stand-out natural monuments to take in on your trip.