July 12 2021

Is it safe to travel to Chilean Patagonia in 2021?


Chilean Patagonia is a favorite destination when it comes to planning long vacations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is uncertainty regarding when Chile will formally open its frontiers to tourism.

Here's what we can tell you about traveling to Chilean Patagonia in 2021 so far. And in the event that the borders are reopened, which attractions to visit where you can keep social distancing.

When will it be possible to travel to Chilean Patagonia?

The current situation in Chilean Patagonia right now is intermittent. Communes that host most of the attractions in Patagonia like Aysén, Coyhaique, and Torres del Paine are in different stages of quarantine (as of early July most were open for visitors from other parts of the country).

However, movements in stages are made from week to week by the sanitary authority depending on the number of active COVID-19 cases, % of positive PCR results, and hospital bed occupancy related to the virus.

So, when you plan your trip, make sure to know in which commune your destination is and the stage it's at by the time you travel.

In any case, Chile's government travel agency continues to state that no foreign travelers will be allowed into Chile until further notice, except for specific purposes.

Is Patagonia a safe place to travel?

In July 2021, Chile eased most pandemic restrictions as more than 80% of its population had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The government allowed travel within the country. However, kept its borders closed for the time being. You can check for updates on these restrictions here.

Notwithstanding, provided the borders are reopened, Chilean Patagonia is a vast territory with long distances between attractions, making it an ideal destination for travelers who want to keep social distancing.

Granted, once you get here, you will have to follow sanitary protocols, like wearing face masks in public spaces, keeping a physical distance of at least one meter, and constantly clean your hands and disinfect your clothes and surfaces.

These protocols extend to all areas in tourism, including hotels, restaurants, ski resorts, and national parks. 

What will be the requirements once it's safe to travel to Chile?

In the event the borders are reopened, the Ministry of Health is expected to continue requesting conditions similar to what it's currently asking travelers who are allowed into the country for particular reasons:

  • Proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before boarding. On flights with layovers, the last boarding point is considered.
  • Complete the "Traveler's Sworn Statement" electronic form up to 48 hours before boarding, in which you must provide your contact information, health, and location history. This form will include a QR code as a means of verification.
  • You will have to stay 5 days under quarantine in a transit hotel at your expenses, where a new PCR test will be performed. If the test is negative, you will be able to continue your 10-day quarantine period at your final destination, and if the test is positive, you will be transferred to a health residence. During the first 14 days after entering the country, a follow-up form will be required, which will be sent to your e-mail daily. Timely completion is mandatory.

What places are safe in Chilean Patagonia for me to visit?

Here are 3 top attractions that we recommend because they help you keep social distancing and don't draw large crowds:

Torres del Paine

This national park is known for its mountains and wildlife, and it's a must-see, especially if it is your first trip to Patagonia. Check its website for updates regarding opening dates, prices, and schedules.

Southern Highway

With a length of 1240 kilometers, the Carretera Austral runs through mountains and lakes. Riding or driving along the way, you can stop at some national parks such as Pumalín and Queulat.

Marble Chapel

This national monument is surrounded by turquoise waters. It's a Patagonian landmark made up of a series of caverns eroded by the waters of Lake General Carrera. It's a hard place reachable only by boat, so a limited number of people are allowed in.

Chilean Patagonia is safe for you

Provided the authorities reopen the borders during Spring and Summer, the region hosts attractions where you can keep social distancing and live a safe, wonderful experience.

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