The best person to give you travel advice is someone who has made the trip. For this reason, we’ve put together tips from tourists on the best hikes in Patagonia. Get your boots and tent ready: here are three great alternatives.
The south of Chile is full of incredible trekking circuits and trails that go through some of the country’s most awesome landscapes. This selection doesn’t include some classic hikes, such as the W in Torres del Paine National Park or the increasingly trendy Dientes de Navarino circuit on Navarino Island, but gives you a sample of other attractive options.
According to the ranking of the 15 best hikes in Chile on the MiNube platform – a community of travelers that lets users share their experiences and inspire others – trekking along the Exploradores Glacier is a must. You’ll only get a few chances in life to walk on one-thousand-year-old ice!
It’s located in Laguna San Rafael National Park, west of Puerto Río Tranquilo in Aysén Region. It’s a difficult trail, taking around 10 hours there and back, and requires specialist guides and appropriate equipment (such as crampons and a helmet). But it’s worth it: on the way, you’ll be able to see different formations of ice such as caves and arches in turquoise, white and deep blue colors. You’ll also see Monte San Valentín, Patagonia’s highest mountain, and the Northern Patagonia Ice Field (Campos de Hielo Norte).
The MiNube ranking recommends getting to Bayo Lake, from where you can do excursions on foot or horseback. “The best option is to reach ‘El Puesto’, the entrance to a private eco-tourism park, where you can do a short hike with a view of Exploradores Glacier at the foot of Monte San Valentín or do a technical trek through the moraine and then on the surface of the actual glacier,” says a user.
It’s easy to reach this circuit in the Los Lagos Region from Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt. You first need to get to the village of Cochamó and then hike for around six hours. From there you reach La Junta, a strategic base camp from which to see the area. There are many things to do apart from trekking such as day excursions and also longer trips like the one to Paso El León on the border with Argentina.
It’s a relatively new route as it only began to be explored in the 1990s. It’s known as the “Yosemite of Chile” and is characterized by it natural stone waterslides and high granite walls – the latter making it a climbing paradise.
Most of the comments left by visitors on TripAdvisor highlight the beautiful scenery, functional state of the roads, ability to get to the park entrance by public transport, and the possibility of doing many different activities.
Since 2017, visitors are requested make a reservation to stay in an authorized campsite to protect the valley from deterioration caused by tourism. You can do so on this website.
Villa O'Higgins to Chaltén
The Spanish blog El Diario del Viajero (“Diary of a Traveler”) describes this trail as “much more than merely crossing from one country to another.” The route goes from the last town on Carretera Austral (“Southern Highway”) in Chile, Villa O’Higgins, to the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina through the Laguna del Desierto lake.
The route takes many hours (or even days because it’s a 130km stretch) to pass over the Patagonian Andes and you will also need to take boats across some lakes.
On the way, you’ll pass through remote landscapes and be able to watch glaciers and the Southern Patagonia Ice Field (Campos de Hielo Sur).
The Stingy Nomads bloggers describe the scenery as unreal, with impressive landscapes of turquoise blue and emerald green waters. Nevertheless, the walk is a challenge but rewarding at the same time.
Chilean Patagonia has many beautiful trekking trails that will allow you to experience many of the area’s most stunning natural wonders.
But to ensure your experience meets expectations, we recommend you review the comments made on the forums and websites mentioned in this blog. It will allow you to make the proper preparations for the adventure and to find out whether the place fits with your tastes and needs.