5 excursions to live Patagonia like a local

May 17, 2018 in Travel Activities

 5 excursions to live Patagonia like a local

Chilean Patagonia is a unique place where you’ll want to immerse yourself in the customs and traditions of its inhabitants.

So, make sure to take your time to explore and try new routes.

If you have already visited Patagonia’s main attractions or you’re looking for new corners and experiences that are not in the standard travel guides, take note of the following excursions. They will make your trip a memorable one!

 

1-Hike to Laguna Verde

The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the leading attractions in Magallanes region and Chilean Antarctica. Its blue peaks draw in tourists from all over the world. Nonetheless, the area is home to many other magical places and activities.

Among them is the hike to Laguna Verde. This circuit is low difficulty and crosses the Paine Mountain Range. The Toro hill is surrounded by lakes and valleys.

The hike starts in the Estancia Lazo and its spectacular views of the Sarmiento Lake and its intense blue waters. From here you’ll be able to see the southern face of the Paine Mountain Range. As you continue walking southwest, you can appreciate the incredible Green, Onda and Calafate lagoons.

The south-west face of the Torres del Paine National Park is characterized by its lakes and rivers in pristine conditions.

This hiking is quite soft, and the entire tour takes a full day.

 

2- Riding the Dorotea Hill

This mountain is a natural border between Chile and Argentina. The horseback riding to its summit offers different experiences every time. From the top, you can calmly watch the entire landscape, especially the city of Puerto Natales, the Almirante Montt Gulf, and the Ultima Esperanza Fjord.

This tour takes about 3 hours and is led by a local horse riding expert or gaucho.

If you are looking for a local experience, this is a perfect way to approach the life of the horsemen at the end of the world. The Magellan horses are used to the hostile Patagonian climate and the obstacles on the way. That’s why it makes the ideal tour for the whole family.

 

3- The Religious Procession

There are other exciting places around the city of Coyhaique, besides the Marble Cathedral. In particular, if you want to know how the locals live their traditions, the Religious Path is an excellent example.

The walk starts towards the West on Route 240, delimited by the Simpson River on the side (paradise for those who practice fly-fishing). Your path will cross grasslands that are lost on the horizon until you reach a passageway between hills and mountains surrounded by small forests of Lenga and Cypress trees.

The first stop is after 30 kilometers approximately at the shrine of San Sebastian, where many believers thank or ask the local saint for favors. This is a quiet and cozy that doesn’t get that many tourists.

There’s a second place of worship towards the city of Puerto Aysén: Grotto of the Virgin Mary. The waters of the Virgin Waterfall fall on the side, which forms a sort of crown around the structure. Here, on every February 11, the faithful come together to pay tribute to the Virgin with offerings and ceremonies.

 

4-Ascending the Calbuco Volcano

Puerto Montt is not only a stopover city to take the ferry to Puerto Natales. It also hosts several tourist attractions in the surrounding area. For example, for those who love mountain climbing, The Calbuco Volcano offers a significant challenge.

Although less standard than the Osorno Volcano, this hike is of medium difficulty and requires specific skills. Along the way, you will appreciate the evergreen forest and the consequences from the last eruptions.

The summit is more than 2,000 meters above sea level. The top offers a superb view of the Llanquihue Lake, the surrounding valleys and the Puntiagudo, Tronador, and Osorno volcanoes.

And if you need some rest, about 1,100 meters into the climb there is a Conaf refuge.

The climbing trips usually take place between October and March (high season).

 

5-Sailing through the Mountains Fjord

This is an alternative tour to make from Puerto Natales and that probably very few tourists have heard of. Only a few tour operators offer this trip, and it’s for the more adventurous. The itinerary is demanding, as it includes a sequence of excursions and sailing.

The adventure begins on top of a boat that crosses from Puerto Natales to the Antonio Varas Peninsula, through the Señoret Channel. From then on, the journey continues in small ships, 4x4 and trekking.

The route offers impressive views and attractions like the Resi Fjord, the Alacalufes Reserve, the Mountains Fjords, the Laguna Cliffs, the Bernal, Hermann, Kiara, Alsina and Paredes glaciers, and the Sarmiento Mountain Range.

This tour can take between 2 and 3 days. Among its key traits is that tourists spend the night in a shelter.

 

Conclusion

If you want to live Patagonia like a local, you should look for experiences that go beyond the standard touristic alternatives.

That is why slow travel is indeed the perfect way to discover a destination and meet its inhabitants.

Therefore, the above mentioned excursions let you learn more about local traditions and customs and give you access to places that most tourists never visit. 

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