If you are not the type to travel with a checklist in hand and who always seeks to experience places from a different perspective, this kind of adventure is for you.
Because Chile is the ideal country to try agritourism, especially when it comes to Patagonia.
In recent years, rural tourism has evolved into a travel tendency worldwide. It is a different way of discovering an area through activities that mainly take place on a ranch or in the countryside.
The idea is for you to immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the place and get to know its traditional farming systems, production processes, and way of life.
Southern Chile is an ideal destination for this type of tourism because it offers diverse excursions and experiences to connect you with the land and its people.
Here we recommend some agritourism alternatives to try out on your next trip to Patagonia.
1- Estancia Cerro Negro
An option to experience something 100% local is the Estancia Cerro Negro, a ranch located between the city of Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine National Park.
The ranch is on land that belongs to a family of Croatian immigrants who came to Chile at the beginning of the 20th century. It takes its name, Cerro Negro, (“Black Hill Ranch” in English), from the color of the hill behind it following forest fires.
It is the ideal spot to spend the day, rest and disconnect. Here you will be able to enjoy as a delicious family lamb roasted over an open fire or take part in typical Patagonian activities, such as sheep shearing led by an authentic “gaucho,” or cowboy.
The ranch has around 3,000 sheep, 400 cows and some horses that wander freely over 6,000 hectares of land. The aim is to maintain the customs and traditions of the area’s colonization period. Its history goes back to the 1940s when the Kusanovic family needed to supply butchers, s it set up in Punta Arenas.
Today, the place still preserves all the furniture and decoration of the time, including beautiful lamps, a German piano, and financial records from long ago.
2- Campo Santy
In Patagonia, you will find agricultural activities that last half a day to stopovers of several days in traditional lodgings. It is the case of Campo Santy, on Carretera Austral, 34 kilometers from Puerto Montt.
Here, you can live like a typical local from southern Chile. The house is close to the Alerce Andino National Park, between the sea, river, and mountains. The owners, Fernando and Santy, run the place, organize various activities, and make delicious homemade food.
The option is to stay in the house or rent a cabin if your family is large; cabins are equipped with a kitchen, hot water, and a wood-burning stove for heating.
You can buy local products here which make perfect souvenirs such as wooden chopping boards, bed runners, and benches made from mañío (a podocarp tree species) among others things.
3- Ruka Kimun Kuikui
If you want to leave the beaten track and find out about the medicine, culture, and gastronomy of the Huilliche Indigenous people, an excellent alternative is Laura Montalva’s Ruka Kimun Kuikui, part of the Coñimó Indigenous community in Ancud.
At first, the “Ruka” (traditional Mapuche dwelling) was aimed mainly at the cultural interchange between Indigenous communities, but over time it has opened to tourists and private groups that became interested in the area. Now they offer new services and activities related to agritourism.
Here, visitors get to know Huilliche medicine, culture, and gastronomy, the “Kimun” (knowledge of the land) and attend talks on these topics and other expressions of this culture.
You can also try dishes prepared with old recipes with rituals included. As a reminder of this experience, the owner offers handcrafts made from woven plant fibers and knitted woolen textiles.
4- Estancia Mercedes
Located 35 kilometers from Puerto Natales, Estancia Mercedes is one of the few ranches in Patagonia that has an extensive coastline of untouched beaches.
The place is run by the great-grandchildren of José Iglesias Díaz, the founder of Puerto Natales and one of its first inhabitants. Here, comfortable horse rides are replaced by the “bagualeo,” the hunting of wild bulls on horseback.
If you want to disconnect, this is the place, as getting here is not easy; you have to cross a channel. It is a rustic place where the main thing is to enjoy nature. Water comes from a spring, electricity comes from wind power, and wood fuels both the heating and the kitchen stove.
At Mercedes, activities depend on the season. In summer, the time is spent collecting mussels and drying “charqui” (jerked beef); in winter, on construction and collecting wild fruit.
Chilean Patagonia is the perfect place to experience agritourism. These are just a few of the agricultural activities you can enjoy in the region as the choice is much broader. So dare to enjoy this destination from another perspective.