May 02 2018

Top 5 folk festivals in Chilean Patagonia


Local celebrations in southern Chile bring out the music, flavors, and traditions of its inhabitants. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia, pay attention to these festivals, which can also make this experience a memorable moment.

1. Winter Carnival in Punta Arenas

In July, Magallanes region fills up with music, colors, and traditions due to the Winter Carnival in the city of Punta Arenas.

This celebration brings together different communities in the area to celebrate their culture and folklore.

The festivity extends several days before and after the main event with several activities, from sports to music. Among them, the Indigenous Expo, The Iceman Triathlon, concerts, a pageant show that chooses the Queen of the Carnival and night running race.

Perhaps one of the highlights of the event is when a group of brave people dares to dip into the cold waters of the Strait of Magellan.

Another attraction is the Floats Parade (themed each year differently), in which decorated floating platforms are escorted by groups of people who dance and encourage the public to join in.

The Carnival ends with a beautiful fireworks show on the shores of the Strait.

To learn more about how to get to Punta Arenas, click here.


2. Valdivian Week

On February 9, the city of Valdivia, in the Lagos region, gears up to celebrate the city’s foundation during Valdivian Week, which attracts about 150,000 tourists every year.

The celebration concentrates on the Waterfront and the Republic’s Main Square, where a firework show, concerts, and a crafts exhibit take place.

Without a doubt, the last night of the event is the most expected. Besides the pyrotechnic show in Calle Calle River, there’s a spectacular floating parade on the river of about forty floats made by the neighbors, businesses, universities, etc.

The best float wins an award and the recognition of the spectators.

It is said that this feast dates back to the 17th century. As the years pass, the production of the event becomes more sophisticated.


3. International Horseback Riding and Folklore Festival of Puerto Ibáñez

It is one of the most important festivities in Chilean Patagonia.

The Patagonian wild horseback riding by locally skilled horsemen known as gauchos takes place in the middle of January in the town of Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez, in Aysen region.

The festivity usually extends over the weekend and brings together singer-poets known as payadores, folk singers, artisans and demonstrations of the area’s traditional food, and so much more. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the traditions and customs of Chilean Patagonia; by about five thousand people attend each year.

It is an event at which the Chilean Patagonia gauchos demonstrate their skill above the "reserved" horse which means it’s difficult to tame.

The contest includes several categories that vary depending on the difficulty of the elements that are used to mount the horse. Riders from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay also participate.


4. Chiloe Folk Festival

This celebration started in 1979 and became one of the most significant gastronomic events in the Chiloé archipelago and the south of Chile. It usually takes place in the third week of February at the city of Castro’s Municipal Park.

The latest editions have brought together more than 50,000 visitors and 150 exhibitors of several local produce.

At this festivity, attendees taste typical dishes, see local crafts, and listen to local musicians and comedians. It is ideal for children because it includes an educational farm and a ludic forest.

In parallel to the Festival, there’s a Biodiversity Fest, in which Chilote artisans show their crafts and products.

There's plenty more for you and your family to do in Chiloé. Check out these activities!


5. Cochrane Folk Festival

It's one of the oldest in festivals in Aysén region, which takes place in the second week of February in the city of Cochrane’s main square.

The festivities last for three days and the kickstarter is a great roast lamb on a stick that is shared among visitors.

The party includes ramadas (partially-enclosed shelters made of branches); live music; food tastings; a crafts exhibition; street parades, demonstrations of how to shear a sheep (as well as the whole wool process); wild horseback riding; milking displays, traditional games, and much more.

Also, there is a pilgrimage to pay homage to the first inhabitants that lived in the area.



These are just some of the best folk festivals in Chilean Patagonia that invite visitors to immerse themselves in the customs and traditions of the south of Chile.

These parties are ideal for learning about their food, music, and culture.

When planning your trip to Chilean Patagonia, we recommend you check the dates of these events for you and your family to live a unique experience. 

New call-to-action

Leave a comment

Posts that may interest you

Your Guide To Living Patagonia like a local

Want to live Patagonia at its fullest on your next trip? Then, go local.

All cities and destinations in Chilean Patagonia have hidden secrets. You could be one of the few lucky tourists to discover them.