There are many ways to discover Chilean Patagonia. It all depends on the kind of experience you seek. Are you traveling without time constraints? Would you like to see more than just southern Chile's main tourist attractions? Do you want to disconnect?
If your answer is yes, we can tell you about alternatives that let you travel at another pace and discover landscapes that seem to be reserved only for the locals.
Here are three ways to tour Patagonia at another pace:
Patagonia is extensive, and traveling overland can be a significant challenge. In addition to taking the correct route, you need to consider that the distance between cities is long (even days apart), and many roads require a 4X4.
Guided tours are a good alternative for those who want to explore corners that not all tourists visit or just live a more daring experience in contact with nature. These trips are made in off-road vehicles, a motor home that lacks great luxury but counts on basic amenities. Accommodation is provided in campsites and hostels. Visitors need not concern themselves with anything except enjoying the tour. This is how tourists worldwide experience the Carretera Austral, Torres del Paine, or Tierra del Fuego.
Meanwhile, traveling Patagonia by car provides more autonomy and flexibility. However, this type of adventure requires more organization and research about the destination than you might think.
In summary, traveling overland is a good option for those unfamiliar with the area, who do not have time to organize the trip, or want to experience Patagonia differently.
Bicycle or motorcycle
It is also possible to tour Chilean Patagonia by bike or motorcycle for the most adventurous. Although it takes more time and requires more physical effort, it is possible since specific stretches can be crossed by boat or ferry.
The documentary Transpatagonia gives you a taste of what it is like to do a long bike tour in Patagonia. In six months, it shows the journalist and adventurer Guilherme Cavallari traveling almost 6,000 kilometers through Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.
For this experience, we recommend that you decide your route ahead of time. It should include stopping places, gas stations, type of road, and information about repair workshops and areas where you can buy spare parts. Distances in Patagonia are significant, and it is possible not to see anyone for many kilometers.
At the same time, prepare your clothes, which should be made to withstand the extremes of the Patagonian climate.
If you plan to travel through Patagonia on 4 or 2 wheels, or on foot, sailing onboard a ferry is a great alternative to comfortably move around either way.
Navigating through the fjords and channels gives an entirely different area perspective. The Patagonian Fjords scenic route takes you on board the Esperanza Ferry, which takes you to areas and views that are not accessible by any other means. Also, it's the way locals move around, so you'll get to live Patagonia like a local!
There are two routes: the first from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales and the second from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt.
It all depends on what you're looking for in your travels!
Chilean Patagonia can be experienced in many ways. It depends on your time, budget, companions, and travel style. Independently of how you get to know the region, do not forget to make this trip suit your wants and enjoy the destination in your own way.