International (Europe/Japan/Southern Hemisphere) 2021 Chile Trip Report

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Mattadvproject

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Some news from Chile..... firstly, the not so good news. The Chilean government has pushed the reopening of the border back another 2 weeks to the 14th of July (https://chile.gob.cl/.../ingreso-a-chile-desde-el-exterior). I really thought this was going to be the last extension but sadly I was wrong. I'm not sure why they keep pushing things back 2-weeks at a time and what they are waiting for? The COVID infection rate continues to decrease in Chile (4,639 weekly infection rate) and the vaccination rate continues to increase (currently 52.3% fully-vaccinated).

As you can see, the mountain is looking glorious! They had plenty of new snow from the last storm (no word on snow totals yet). They have been making snow down low as well (snowmaking is new for this season at Nevados de Chillan). Most of Chile moved back to stage 3 COVID restrictions (businesses can open 7-days a week now). Biobio and Nublie regions are included in this list. That means Nevados de Chillan can now open 7-days a week. 90% of Santiago is back to stage 2 restrictions (ie. they have moved out of total lockdown).

Another round of heavy snow is in the forecast for July 1st. Looks like Nevados de Chillan is heading for a strong start to their season!

 
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Nevados de Chillan announced they are opening on July 1st! Great news. Come on border, that's all we need now!
 
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Mattadvproject

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Looks like Nevados de Chillan got some decent snow out of the last storm. Hopefully they will be opening more terrain up high soon. 2 days to go till the current border closure is due to expire (July 14th). There has been no update yet on an extension. Typically we've been getting a week's notice before an extension, so this is surprising we haven't heard anything yet.

I know there is concern about the Delta variant in Chile and since the two positive cases a week or so ago, Francisco tells me they now have at least 30 confirmed cases. Given our experiences here in the US with Delta, it's inevitable that it will become the dominant COVID strain, there's no hiding from it, but we'll have to see what the reaction is from the Chilean government. If we have no news today or tomorrow, then we should definitely have news by the 14th July. I'll keep you posted......
 

chris_the_wrench

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That uncertainty makes it pretty hard for most international folk to plan travel.
Agreed Chris, I don't know what they are trying to achieve here with the constant 2-week pushbacks. People need time to plan as you say. The Chilean government has given no indication of why they keep pushing the border reopening back; it must be because of Delta. I think the other problem here is it's an election year in Chile, so they are being extra careful/sensitive to what might happen. Chile has also been vaccinating the majority of their population with the Sinovac vaccine and there's been questions about it's efficacy, especially with the newer mutations (Delta especially); even though they have one of the highest rates of vaccination at over 60% fully-vaccinated. Are they concerned that Delta could cause another wave of hospitalizations, even for fully-vaccinated people and that would cause political uproar? I don't know, that's speculation on my behalf; I wish the government was more transparent and explained what their plan is, so that there would be no cause for speculation......

The other concern is going to be when/if they reopen the border, what will the procedure be? Will you have to quarantine on arrival? Will fully-vaccinated people be allowed in without restrictions or perhaps testing prior to departure and/or on arrival? If you have to quarantine on arrival if fully-vaccinated, then I doubt many would want to go. The only saving grace I have going for me right now is that at least our accommodation is on hold so I don't need to worry about that. I personally could go at very short notice if the border reopens and if the US airlines are able to quickly resume their flight schedules to Chile..... I think for me, I will hold out till the end of the month and if they extend again, then that's it for me. I'd rather just forget about the season and be ready for 2023. We'll see what happens in 2-weeks time.
 
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Pinto region moves back to level 4 restrictions, so that's great news (level 5 is the lowest stage). The border closure is due to end on July 25th and that's only 6 days away. We should have an update on that any-day now. The infection rate is lower now then when the Chilean border was open previously! New research in Chile has found that the Chinese vaccines have been working well in Chile. What else do we need for a re-opening??!! Snow is forecast for Nevados de Chillan this weekend......
 

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Grrrr..... the border closure has been extended another 2-weeks until July 25th - https://chile.gob.cl/.../ingreso-a-chile-desde-el-exterior. This is really frustrating! I don't know why they keep extending for 2-weeks at a time? What's the point? It seems like they don't have a plan......
The two week extension period seems to be designed specifically just to keep hopes alive and then crush them. I see no other benefit to doing it this way.
 

jimtransition

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Looks like the latest restriction update allows vaccinated Chileans to travel overseas, but no inbound tourism permitted, so I think that's it for the season, any further updates won't arrive in time :(:(:(.
 
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Mattadvproject

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Frustratingly, that's a wrap for Chile 2021 for me and my crew..... the borders have reopened for Chileans to come and go (but apparently they need a valid reason to leave) but with a 10-day quarantine period when they come back - https://chile.gob.cl/chile/en/ingreso-a-chile-desde-el-exterior. My partner in Chile tells me that the government is very wary of the Delta variant spreading. If they do eventually let foreigners in, then if there is a 10-day quarantine period, then I don't see any "casual" tourists wanting to wait that long, so effectively for us, that's a no go. I can only hope that we can try again in 2022. Another summer with all my income lost...... The focus now shifts to the northern hemisphere winter. I hope this winter can pick up the losses from the last 1.5 years. At least the borders to North Macedonia, Uzbekistan and Georgia are open and I can take trips there currently. Fingers crossed.......
 
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Sorry to hear that Matt... best of luck with the coming northern hemisphere season. I always enjoy your trips, and hope to see some neat places!
Thanks David, I appreciate the kind words. Hopefully my travels/business in 2022 will lead to North Macedonia in January with some cat skiing groups. Mid-Feb will hopefully be to Uzbekistan (really excited for that one) and then March will see a couple of sessions in Georgia. I'm hoping to get out to Georgia a little early and do some exploring around the lower Caucasus in early March. If all those trips go ahead (borders are currently open) then I will be a very happy chappy! That will help greatly. Japan and India are in the mix but I'm not hopeful that any of those countries will be accessible to us. We'll see. I just need a few trips to happen and then the situation will be greatly improved. Cheers mate!
 
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Bummer. Sorry to hear the effect on your business.
Thanks James, I appreciate the kind words. I know there are many people in the same boat, likely many people on this website are in a similar situation doing it tough with international travel slow to resume. Hope things turn around soon or else I'm going to have to find another profession. No idea what that would be. Fingers crossed it doesn't have to happen...... hopefully 2022 gives us some options and then all will be well again. Cheers!
 

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