The New York Times chose Patagonia as one of the Top 52 places to go in 2018.
You want to go, but... what if you go with kids?
Traveling with your family is an entirely different experience than going alone or with a partner, especially if the destination is as challenging as Patagonia.
Planning your trip is more demanding with kids, and you must take into considerations variables like climate or accommodation. Also, you should think through all activities given they will be mainly carried out in the open air.
There are trekking circuits that are too challenging to do with children (but not impossible). Here are a few ideas; you need to assess if they are feasible to do with your children.
Nonetheless, traveling to Patagonia with children can be easy.
Patagonia is huge so you will be able to find fun in almost all places. And remember that most of the private tours available can be adapted to the pace and ability of kids.
There are plenty of activities that you and your family can enjoy. From soft hiking, horseback riding, to boat rides, and more.
Check out these recommendations for activities and places to visit.
What to do with kids in Patagonia?
- - The Cave of the Milodon is a natural monument located 25 kilometers from Puerto Natales, where the remains of a large mammal that became extinct in prehistoric times were found. Children can learn about it while strolling through the cavern. At the entrance, there is a replica of the animal for pictures.
- - There are bike city tours in Puerto Natales. Children can learn about the city’s history and the main tourist attractions. The service includes a bike, helmet, snacks, guide, and binoculars.
- - Although children do not enjoy museums much, the Nao Victoria Museum can be a completely different experience. Your kids will be able to interact with replicas of the ships that discovered Patagonia; ambient sounds and reproductions of the navigation instruments and artillery used at the time are also available. The museum is located on the shores of the Strait of Magellan.
- -The Franciscans Route begins eight kilometers from Coyhaique, in the Bonanza Equestrian Fields. Children can go horseback riding, which is an ideal scenario for adventurous kids. The guides will teach them all the necessary techniques to control the horse and the tour includes gears like leather leggings and rain ponchos (in case of bad weather). This circuit takes about three hours, and involves crossing streams, native Lenga and Ñirre forests, green hills and plateaus.
-An ideal activity for traveling with children to Patagonia is go to penguin-watching in Punta Arenas. There are plenty of agencies downtown for you to book a day trip to Magdalena Island to watch this species in their own habitat; there are more than 60,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins in the island. The boat sails through the Strait of Magellan; it’s better if the trip is made on barges rather than small boats (due to the heavy weather). The ideal season is between September and March.
-The classic boat trip to the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers is ideal for a family trip as it does not require much physical effort. The voyage includes several attractions: Guanaco island, where you can watch Magellan dolphins; Punta de Lobos and its large population of sea lions; and, the Waterfall, home of Andean condors; and of course the majestic glaciers.
- Gray Glacier makes one of the most impressive sights in Patagonia. A large chunk of ice detached recently, as a sign that the glacier will be decreasing in volume as time goes by. When your children are older, they will appreciate you taking them to see this giant mass of ice when it’s still majestic. They will be impressed by the massive floating icebergs and more than 19 kilometers of pure ice.
Where to eat in Patagonia?
The southern Chile cuisine is something that you and your children must try. If you're wondering where to eat with children in Patagonia, check out these recommendations.
- There are kid friendly restaurants in Patagonia. Some even have special places for them, like Chilean food restaurant Okusa in Punta Arenas. It is an old house that has a space with toys and materials so that they can play while their parents eat.
-The Mesita Grande restaurant in Puerto Natales, across from the main square, is famous for its wood-oven cooked pizzas, which are very coveted by children and grownups alike. The restauant offers something for every taste. Long tables are set so travelers can exchange experiences.
-The Tablón del Ancla restaurant in Puerto Montt is a classic. Located next to the main square, its menu mainly consists of fish and seafood. The best thing: it’s got a children’s menu too.
Useful facts and tips
- Public Hospital Dr. Augusto Essman Burgos in Puerto Natales recently inaugurated a new building, with a modern design and updated medical resources. You should take this into account in the event of an emergency.
- Major pharmacy chains in Chile Cruz Verde, Farmacias Ahumada, and Salcobrand have stores in key cities in Patagonia. You can find the closest branches in a listing on their websites.
- The website of Chile’s Ministry of Health has a list of all public health centers in Chile. Meanwhile, health regulator Superintendencia de Salud lists all private health centers in Patagonia.