In part 1 of this interview with Torres del Paine guide Nibaldo Cvitanic, you read that Cvitanic leads hiking trips on many of the national park’s trails including the famous “W” and “O” routes. Hikes range from several hours to several days depending on the interests of the participants.
Alcorn: How expensive are guided trips?
Cvitanic: Guided trips aren´t too expensive. [I work with various agencies and] the companies provide beds, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the tourists. [They] make the reservations for the buses, refuges (campsites) and also a guide. Reserving is important because in the high season we have about 1,600 people a day in the park!
Sometimes if you need it, they can provide sherpas as well. The typical circuit is the “W” circuit and it costs somewhere between $430 per person to about $900 per person–depending on what services you want included.
Alcorn: How large are the groups that you guide?
Cvitanic: I have taken groups of two to eighteen people. When you have a large group like that, you get accompanied by a few other guides.
Alcorn: Have you been a guide for long?
Cvitanic: I´m almost finished with my second season of guiding here in the park. I have led some more extreme trips when I was working on the cruise ship. We would travel through Cape Horn and the Drake Passage, extremely rough seas!!
Alcorn: Do you have a favorite experience you could tell us about?
Cvitanic: One night at the Refuge Torre Central, Lucas, a fellow guide, [and I] had just finished eating a Pichanga (french fries, tomatoes, sausage, chicken, avocado, onion, cheese, etc. etc.–very delicious). When we stepped outside for a bit, it was about 1 am. So I was looking around and saw one pair of bright blue eyes staring at me!
I stood still for about 10 minutes then saw another pair! I was trying to get the attention of Lucas, but for some reason I lost my voice that very moment!! What I was seeing was too short to be a horse but too big to be anything else, I stood still and discovered it was a female puma and her cub!! This was so overwhelming seeing them both in the wild, it´s what we as guides dream to see!
Alcorn: Any plans for the future?
Cvitanic: I have learned so much and hope to one day have my own hostel here. If you [readers] ever get a chance to come to Torres del Paine National Park, try and look for me. I will try to share that same feeling and experience that I first had in this place. I want people to enjoy an unforgettable moment with me.
To teach them about how this place was formed, all its hidden wonders. Take them on hikes and explain everything we see, from the flowers to the towers. To simply share a glimpse of what I see every day. Be their teacher and mentor for some time. Giving them the gift of what I hold dearly.
[Sent from] Torres del Paine National Park, My office.
Alcorn: Thank you; I wish I were going on a hike with you tomorrow!
To read part 1 of the interview, click here.
Contact Nibaldo Cvitanic via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Patagonia including Torres del Paine, click here to read Alcorn’s article, Backpacking in Torres del Paine.
To read a review of Susan Alcorn’s new book, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine, visit FiftySense.com.