Photographers, both professional and amateur, can’t get enough of Patagonia. Its breath-taking landscapes, wildlife and light conditions reward photography lovers from all over the world.
The alternatives are endless, however we’ve selected some of the most popular places and attractions to visit in Chilean Patagonia. ¡Prepare your glasses, photogs!
Living the Puma tracking experience
This wild mountain lion is a threatened species, therefore Chilean conservation authorities have imposed very strict rules to prevent visitors from endangering their natural habitat, and that includes kicking out and fining rude travelers that try to do the impossible to get the perfect shot all the while interrupting the local wildlife.
Our recommendation is that you take one of the several tourism agencies that offer sophisticated, customized tour packages to photograph this wild cat, besides other native wildlife and ecosystems, accompanied by professional photographers and wildlife experts.
If you’re thinking of going solo, think again. Tight regulation prohibit wandering off the specified hiking circuits established at the park. However, if you insist in photographing the puma just by yourself, hire the help of expert puma trackers.
Looking for the “golden hour” at Torres del Paine
It’s a mandatory destination for all travelers that come to Chilean Patagonia. The characteristic “blue peaks” of the Torres del Paine Mass welcome all visitors who want to hike or trek the park’s mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers.
It is a great inspiration for photographers who seek particular compositions, light conditions and flares, specially during sunrise or sundown.
There are plenty of tour alternatives to visit the park and photography-focused programmes for all sorts of photographers. The challenge is to pick the one that fits your thirst for jaw-dropping images.
Going back in time in Monte Verde
Arguably, it is the earliest site known to man of the first human settlements in America, dating back to 14,000 years BP (Before Present).
Since its discovery in 1977, archeologists continue to dispute the antiquity of the “Machu Picchu of the Ice Age,” located 26 kms from Puerto Montt city.
The ongoing dispute with what some archeologists continue to believe is the earliest human settlement in the continent, the Clovis site in North America, which dates back 11,500 years ago, has drawn plenty of archaeology tourists and photographers to the area for the past 30 years.
The only manner to photograph the site is participating in some of the few walking tours allowed in the area, or being shown around by one of the members of the Kuschel family, which owns the property.
Where once stood Chaitén, ashes remain
Since the eruption of the Chaitén volcano in 2008, things haven’t been the same for the town located at its feet, also called Chaitén.
The ashes continue to cover what once stood as the capital city of Palena province and a burgeoning tourism and rest stop at the northern end of Carretera Austral highway. Reconstruction works began in 2009, but still some areas of the town remain buried under the debris.
Also, surrounding forests and lakes continue petrified under a thick layer of black and gray ash until today, offering a somewhat eerie spectacle to photograph. In some areas, travelers can drive through and even touch the crop of trees that once stood many meters above ground.
Surrounding attractions like the Corcovado National Park and Corcovado volcano, the Pumalín Park, the Yelcho Lake and the Futaleufu River are also beautiful places for the lens to capture.
Let there be ice
If you love how the light reflects on ancient ice, you can have your pick of glaciers in Chilean Patagonia.
There are so many to choose from that photographers tend to stick to the ones easier to access or clearly show the dramatic changes that Climate Change is causing in the region, like San Rafael, Grey, the Ventisquero glacier in Queulat National Park or Cerro Castillo, or the Perito Moreno glacier on the Argentinean side of Patagonia.
If you’re looking for ice as far as the eye can see, then head to the Northern or Southern Chilean Ice fields. We promise you’ll be chimping all over the place.
Worshiping at Nature’s cathedral
Mother Nature has always surprised mankind, especially when it comes to its art-like creations. The Marble Cathedral is no exception.
Considered a natural wonder that could be the world's most beautiful cave network, visitors always leave this attraction in silence and in aw. Particularly, nature and landscape photographers who try to catch the right angle to capture how the light reflects the “finely ground glacial silt” that makes the water turquoise blue, which bounces off the marble walls of these water-sculpted caverns located in the middle of General Carrera lake.
Photography students travel there from all over the world to learn about different lighting conditions, given the color of the walls and the water change constantly throughout the year.
There are plenty of day-tours that take travellers to the Marble caves by either boat or kayak expeditions from Puerto Tranquilo port- the only way to get to this natural wonder.