A Rough Guide to Creating a Custom Expedition

What’s a custom expedition?

By “custom expedition,” we mean a group convened via an academic program or specific person, as opposed to our open-enrollment expeditions, comprised of interested individuals. A custom expedition offers more flexibility in terms of curriculum and route, as well as control over group composition.

Why organize a custom expedition with Chulengo?

We’ve worked with academic programs from high schools to graduate schools, as well as with outdoor brands, journalists, and groups of family and friends. We enjoy working with academic programs to build curriculum together that fits particular courses or learning objectives. As a small and young organization, we take the time to get to know each group who travels with us to build a backcountry experience that will engage and challenge all participants.

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Steps to creating a custom expedition with Chulengo:

  1. Start researching Patagonia, and Chile’s Aysén Region in particular.

    • Learn about Chile’s landmark addition of 10 million acres to its spectacular park system here.

    • Explore “Unknown Patagonia” in this e-book here.

    • Think about if Chulengo Expeditions is a good fit for your program or group. We take our partnerships seriously, and know our way of travel isn’t for everyone. Our expeditions are backcountry-based (read: wilderness camping and backpacking, remote homestays). Chile’s wild and remote Aysén Region is our home base: we cherish the beauty, ruggedness, and off-the-beaten-path character of this place. That said, other regions of Patagonia are more accessible and may be more suited to certain group needs.

    • Environmental education is core to our mission; we’ll ask you to reflect on your relationship to place and connection to nature. Read more about our pre-expedition expectations here.

  2. Still interested? Let’s talk.

    • Group: generally, we prefer working with groups of 6 or more. We can accommodate groups up to 40 participants, divided into self-sufficient pods of 8 – 12. Participants do not need to be expert outdoorspeople, and we can design an itinerary to match the groups’ level of experience. That said, given that all expeditions are backcountry-based, everyone should be excited about:

      • Sleeping in a tent every night, smiling through Patagonia's variable weather every day

      • Carrying a backpack of 30 - 40 lbs while hiking 4 - 12 miles/ day with up to +3000 ft of elevation

      • Diving into group conversations about conservation and working cooperatively with others

      • Acknowledging that backcountry travel is risky and you join an expedition at your own risk

    • Dates: our season runs from mid-November through mid-April. We’ve run expeditions lasting from 6 – 14 days. Plan for two days of travel and recovery from the Northern Hemisphere.

    • Curriculum: our approach combines personal reflection, informal and more-formal discussion, and place-based nuggets. We are environmental educators at heart, and take seriously our responsibility to take care of and learn from these wild places.

    • Itinerary: Aysén, as a less-traveled region, can be unfamiliar to those who haven’t visited. We’re set up to hear your goals for your group, and build an itinerary around those priorities.

  3. With a plan established, here’s a timeline for building the expedition:

    • 4 – 6 months out:

      • Point person confirms expedition dates

      • Point person begins preliminary expedition itinerary and curriculum discussions

      • Group members pay deposits

      • Group members, or point person, book travel to and from Balmaceda, Chile. Travel tips here.

    • 2 – 4 months out:

      • Point person continues itinerary and curriculum conversations; working with Chulengo to build pre-expedition reading list

      • Group members review and sign our electronic waiver/health form

      • Group members encouraged to start preparing, physically and mentally. Read our tips on preparing for an expedition here.

      • Group members review our gear list and decide who will need to rent tents.

    • One month out:

      • Point person confirms travel plans and expedition itinerary

      • Group members send in full payment

      • Everyone keeps up their training and starts into gear prep and expedition pre-reading

    • Final week:

      • Point person coordinates meet-up plans and final details with Chulengo

      • Group members test gear before using in the field o Everyone prepares for a week without connectivity o We take off for the mountains!

Sounds interesting? Send an email to info@chulengo.org and we can talk more!