There’s only one thing harder than knowing where the Chilean Patagonia starts: to describe it. As a result of the “sinking” of the Andes, the landscapes are so special, so complete and so different that it’s impossible to compare it to anything else, unless, of course, you’ve been to the Argentinian side… With more than a million square kilometers, it’s the widest region of Chile and one of the most interesting places in the world.
Islands, fjords, glaciers, mountains, lakes, volcanoes… the variety of sceneries is endless but they all have something in common: the serenity they transmit and their undeniable beauty. Here are some of the best Patagonia excursions to get the best out of this Chilean treasure:
Get lost in the unbelievable Torres del Paine
It goes without saying that the centerpiece of the Chilean Patagonia, a main attraction of the country and one of the most amazing places of the world is the national park Torres del Paine. Once you get there, you’ll understand why. Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978, it’s the perfect place for experienced hikers and climbers who need new challenges or simply those who want to get lost in remote trails, between granite peaks. Discover its rich flora and fauna (look out for guanacos!), enjoy the magical views of the mountains by trying adventure sports, touch and observe the huge rock formations, admire authentic natural works of art like the Grey Glacier or the Pehoe lake… The possibilities are infinite. The place? Just one.
Mingle with penguins in Isla Magdalena
Only two hours by boat from the hustle of the city of Punta Arenas –the starting point or “central base” for those searching for adventurous Patagonia excursions– awaits a natural spectacle on Magdalena Island. The place is home to the largest penguin colony of the country: over 120,000 live there. Imagine becoming an intruder and watching them bathe, sleep, play and feed their offspring in a protected and absolutely wild area which has been left untouched by human kind. Unmissable for animal-lovers.
Navigate between fjords and glaciers
One of the best ways to explore the stunning ice and water formations of the Chilean coast is to jump on a boat and let the magic of nature lead you….the options are endless. The national park Bernardo O’Higgins is a stunning combination of channels, fjords and islands definitely worth seeing! A cruise from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt (over 2,000 kilometers) with Patagonia excursions and formative talks is perhaps the perfect way to discover one of the most fascinating secrets of Latin America. The reasons? Amazing rivers and fjords, endless mountain ranges, isolated villages and unbelievable species like the “tonina” dolphins or the “lost” whales…
If you want to see, feel and almost touch the breathtaking glaciers, many expeditions start in Puerto Natales and travel for days between this incomparable ice formations like Amalia, El Brujo, Bernal or Herman. Most of them let you disembark and walk up to their front in order to admire them in their purest state. Do you think you can top this?
Heal yourself with the sight of stunning lakes and volcanoes
The most adventurous ones should approach the lake district of Chile, which is almost a mirror of the Argentine one. Horseback riding, bike tours, trekking, climbing and endless activities can be done just an hour south of Santiago. Twelve huge lakes and many smaller ones create the charm of a hypnotic region that combines these crystal wonders on the base of the Andes with plenty of volcanoes like the Villarica one which is 2,450 meters high. Everything surrounded by snow-covered peaks and eternal mountain ranges… Who gives more?
Discover the magic of the most southern town of the world
Located on Isla Navarino in front of the Beagle channel is one of the last 24 virgin regions of the planet: Port Williams. In the village live over 2,000 people who dedicate their life to the navy, tourism or investigation. The constant fog, freezing winds, hostile cliffs and greyish waters add even more mystery to the stories that the residents have to tell between small houses and streets with no name. If the world ends somewhere, it must be here, so what about finishing your trip in the southernmost village of the continent?
Written by Irene Valiente