Patagonia never fails to amaze. Its second-to-none natural landscape, together with its well thought-out tourism options offer a wide range of non-competitive sports allowing you to enjoy adventure and relax at the same time.
Outdoor activities, gastronomy, and camping for the more adventurous and hotels, are just a few of the attractions that southern Chile has to offer.
Here are three non-competitive sports we recommend you to practice in Patagonia.
One of the most popular outdoor activities, the main idea is to walk independently in remote areas. You choose where to start the trek and whether to go with or without a guide as the trails are well signposted and secure.
Here is a list of what you need to bear in mind before planning this adventure:
- A good pair of shoes, ideally with ankle support to avoid sprains, good grip and waterproof due to wet terrain.
- Comfortable sports clothing and something to keep you warm (temperatures tend to change). Accessories such as sunglasses, sun cream, and a hat .
- A map or compass.
- Water (there are especially-designed light hydration packs that hold enough water), light food
- A knife or pocket knife, backpack, flashlight and first-aid kit
Now for the most critical question: Which trail to take?
There are thousands of options to choose from in Patagonia. If you are an experienced trekker, the best trails are in the Torres del Paine National Park. There are several circuits, but the best known are the O (7-9 days, medium-high difficulty) and the famous W (4-5 days, medium difficulty).
Other outstanding places to practice this fantastic sport are Cape Horn, Magallanes National Reserve, Laguna Parrillar National Reserve.
Take a look at this video to be inspired by the two most challenging treks in Patagonia.
Source: Yeti Adventure Films
2. Fly fishing
The south of Chile is unquestionably one of the best destinations for fishing lovers.
Fly fishing is a method that uses a rod and artificial lure, or bait, called a fly. Fishermen make this lure themselves in an artisanal way, using feathers, threads or hairs to mimic the insects that fish eat.
Unlike other types of angling, fly fishing is considered a recreational activity, it’s not competitive, and does not harm the environment given the fish is then returned to their habitat.
You need the following sports equipment for fly fishing: a fishing rod, hooks, reel, lines, flies, and backing. Besides, special clothes for water; waders, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are required.
The right rod is essential for the experience to be successful. At the very least, one should have the following equipment:
- Fishing rod No. 5 or No. 6, 9 feet
- Sinking line reel, 150 grains
- Leaders, 5 to 6 feet, 2x for streamers
- Floating line reel
- Leaders, 9 to 12 feet, 3x for floating
- Tippet 2x and 3x
- Streamers No. 6 and No. 4, predominantly black, brown and green with a big head like Egg Sucking Leech
- Dry foam flies like Chernobyl or Fat Albert, in black and orange No. 6
- Stonefly Caddis, Mayfly, Hare’s Ear and Copper John nymphs, No. 14 to No. 6
- Wading boots
Where to fly fish?
Tourists’ favorite spots for fly fishing in Patagonia are Puerto Montt, Aysén, and Chaitén. The main reasons for this is the variety of fishing lodges and more accessible prices found in these areas.
Bonus: until recently, Melimoyu was an unexplored area of Chilean Patagonia, and it is undoubtedly a privileged place due to its location and geographic conditions. It has three distinctive attractions that give it a wild and challenging identity: the Melimoyu volcano, the temperate rainforest, and the Queulat hanging glacier.
There are a large number of places to fish at Melimoyu, all close at hand. Its pristine and crystal clear waters offer the opportunity to be alone in the midst of nature and see species such as brown and rainbow trout primarily. You will also find steelhead, brook and perch trout as well as Chinook and silver salmon, among others, for recreational fishing.
Watch this video to be inspired to do this entertaining and matchless sport:
3. Scuba diving
This sport is not as easy as the ones mentioned above. You must be over 12 years old, have taken a diving course and training previously, and have certification from the General Directorate of Maritime Territory if you want to dive with compressed air.
It is also necessary to be in good physical condition and emotionally prepared.
There is no doubt that the best place to practice this spectacular sport is the Strait of Magellan in Punta Arenas. There, you can see vessels that shipwrecked more than a hundred years ago and now lay motionless underwater, surrounded by seaweed and marine life. You will also listen to a long and fascinating record of anecdotes and legends about these shipwrecks.
This area of Patagonia has a unique marine flora and fauna, due to the influence of the Cape Horn current, making it an entirely new, unique, and forbidden world, meaning we can only view it with the proper equipment and training.
To dive in these waters, It is essential to be accompanied by a certified instructor who knows the area. The right equipment to start the adventure are:
- Isothermal wetsuit
- Air tank
- Depth gauge
- Water clock
- Decompression tables
- Pressure gauge
- Tube or snorkel
- Basic knowledge of diving sign language
The best time to do this activity is between December and March, when there is more sun allowing visibility of up to 15 meters deep.
This video will help you imagine what it is like to visit the depths of the ocean in Patagonia:
Source: Concha 'e Loco Divers
If you still have not had the chance to visit southern Chile, or have visited but not yet dared do these unusual outdoor activities, we invite you to enjoy one of the most exceptional experiences, in contact with the endemic flora and fauna of the south of our country.
We hope that this guide to non-competitive activities will inspire you to plan an unforgettable trip.