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There is only one in Parque Inglés, called Flor de la Canela, which is at the very place where the bus from Molina arrives.
It is simple, cozy place with a la carte meals, soft drinks and some wines (selection seems to be limited), and is expensive by Chilean standards, given the small size of portions and the cost of beverages.
This is (supposedly) explained by the fact that everything, from fuel to supplies, must be brought especially from Curicó or Molina, although monopoly is a suitable explanation too.
Anyway, service is good and friendly, they take credit cards and, if you're raving for a salad, a roasted chicken or French fries, and don't mind paying US$ 3 for a Coke, this is your place to come.
The same owners operate a "fast food attachment" of this restaurant, which sells French fries, sandwiches and other take way food for a fraction of what you'd pay for the same things in the restaurant. It is also a grocery store with reasonably priced items (or, as much, slightly overpriced), and an expensive bed & breakfast.
There is a satellite-linked payphone here; it takes $ 100 and $ 500 coins, and allows to call anywhere in the world.
You cannot miss the restaurant/grocery store: besides being the place where the bus arrives, it is full of inscriptions in different languages (English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian, etc.)
Updated Aug 20, 2006
Again, it depends on what your plans are.
You can stay in Radal itself, 15 kilometres W of Parque Inglés, and have family and rustic fun, some music I guess and impromptu partying.
Or you can stay at one of the campings in Parque Inglés and set out to have any kind of nightlife you imagine: from a relaxed talk to a crazy drinking binge till you forget who you are (to do this, you do not need to wait for night-time, actually...). Bear in mind that there is no disco or anything of that sort in Parque Inglés: the closest thing to that, is the restaurant and its satellite TV.
Or you can gather next to a campfire in the CONAF camping -or at any other, if noise allows for it- have a drink or a tea, and a talk, listen to some music, or just enjoy being there, under the Milky Way and surrounded by Nature. My choice.
Dress Code: No dress code, but you better bring some warm jacket if going out, as nights are chilly in the Andes
Written Aug 20, 2006
There's nothing to buy here, but groceries at the two stores.
One, is the previously mentioned Flor de la Canela, and the other is San Sebastian store, next to the former, in front of the bus stop.
Prices are sometimes marginally lower than at Flor de la Canela, and sometimes they sell hotdogs and sandwiches to take away.
At the ranger's office (visitor's centre), there are stickers and posters related to the Chilean National Park network.
What to buy: Not precisely "special": groceries, soft drinks (Coca Cola, etc.), snacks, etc.
What to pay: About 30% to 100% more than anywhere in Chile.
Note that sometimes, ice cold drinks are subject to a surcharge of 50%.
Updated Aug 20, 2006
Luggage and bags: Backpack suitable for long hikes, and a small daypack for when you venture into further areas from your camp place. If staying at the B&B, bring a backpack anyway, as loading something else on the bus rooftop, or carrying a suitcase around, is difficult (there's no pavement anywhere in Parque Inglés)
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In SUMMER , bring light garments (shorts, T-shirts, miniskirts, etc.), plus a long sleeved shirt and trousers for the evenings, and a breakwind -ideally waterproof too- jacket. Fleece jacket (nights are chilly, even in summer), swimwear, sandals, trekking boots.
In WINTER: Trekking boots (ideal: Goretex-lined), gaiters, waterproof pants, Goretex parka, down jacket, gloves (2 pairs), fleece jacket, pants and balaclava, warm socks (several pairs), spare shoes. A polypropylene 1st layer is very useful and helps in lowering packed weight.
ALWAYS bring sunglasses (in winter, glacier-type sunglasses are the best).
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The usual: hand soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and anything you might need. The nearest drugstore is in Molina, 2 hours away.
Photo Equipment: Travel light... if you can. If using a 35 mm./digital SLR, bring: the shortest wide angle lens you have (great landscapes everywhere), the most powerful telephoto you can (lots of wildlife around), a cable release, a small tripod (not essential: you can substitute it with a pack or stone), polarizing filter, blower brush, lens cleaning fluid. Spare batteries (mostly in winter).
The last time, I carried a digital SLR, an 80-200 professional line (thus heaaaavy) zoom, a 600-mm. mirror telephoto and a 20 mm. wideangle lens, plus POL filters.
We left the laptop at home.
Osa with a digital SLR and a 600mm. miror telephoto: powerful and light enough to be carried anywhere (see the that in the other pictures for this section)
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: In SUMMER: 3-season tent, warm sleeping bag, sleeping mat, camping stove, cookware, supplies for 1 extra day (just in case), fishing line (for hanging clothes), walking sticks/skipoles.
In WINTER: The same as above, plus a 4-season or expedition-type tent, down sleeping bag, extra fuel for 1/3 more time than expected, VHF radio/SAT phone, supplies for 2 extra days, snowshoes or X-country skis, skipoles, sandals or windsurf slippers (for river crossing), GPS receiver, compass, maps.
Our TNF VE-25 expedition-type tent in Valle del Indio: a suitable tent for this place (see it in the other pictures for this section)
Miscellaneous: A VHF radio to communicate with the rangers, or a pair of them or FRS/GMRS radios (such as Motorola Talkabouts) to communicate between team members is useful.
If nervous, and doing the Guamparo/Sillabur trek, bring a satellite phone, as no cell/radio service is reliable up there.
Updated Aug 20, 2006