- Friday, 20 January 2012
Choosing the correct time to travel is one of the most important factors in planning a trip. It becomes even more vital when travelling to parks in unfamiliar territories, where information can be sketchy to nonexistent. Get the timing wrong and you could end up visiting parks during their off season, when they could revert to opening weekends only or, in the worst case, be closed outright. It can be a difficult (and expensive) experience juggling parks around to come up with a plan that covers all variations on irregular park schedules. Playing safe and nullifying this issue, we choose mid-January when the summer holidays are in full swing in that part of the world (Northern hemisphere's winter is the Southern hemisphere's summer).
A few weeks before the trip, we learned that Mampato Padre Hurtado would be closed during the summer months. It did come as a surprise, but we assumed they were closed for refurbishment. Nearer the time of our trip, Mampato Las Vizcachas changed its schedule to weekends only. Now, this got us scratching our heads. How could two of the Mampato parks not be fully operational during the busiest time of the year? It all became crystal clear once we got chatting with a friendly manager at Mampato Lo Barnechea. She explained that during the summer holiday period, the good people of Santiago leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and head over to the beach to spend their vacation time there. The beach resorts get extremely busy during this period, so from a business point of view it made sense to transport the rides from the city parks to the Mampato establishments on the coast. With time on our side, we decided to do what the locals do: Head to the beach.
The El Quisco beachfront, a ninety-minute drive from Santiago.
Happy Mountain coaster.
The train lost momentum during the ride, so it was coasting back and forth. Ride staff called upon more staff members to give the train the push that was needed to continue to complete the course.
George is happy because he knows he will get this credit.
Other rides at the fair.
To be fair to the fair [Pun intended], it looked more like a park than a funfair. Staff were all in uniform, rides were placed nicely and there were no visual cues that told you that this was a temporary affair.
The other Mampato establishment at El Tabo is much smaller than it associated site down the road. It has one powered coaster named Zum Zum.
We also found another fair by the seafront. It was closed at the time we were there. It had one coaster called Himalaya. Staff members told us the fair opens from morning until late afternoon while the two Mampato fairs open in the evening and stay open late into the night.
The rides at this fair looked fairly antique and on their last legs.