Traveling is an enriching experience that fills us with unique events and memories for us to enjoy in the future.
That is why it is very likely that you want to travel the world with your children and have them enjoy different destinations. Especially if it’s to a place that's changing due to climate change.
That's the case of the south of Chile. It is mutating at high speed, and its landscapes need protection. National Geographic magazine states that wild places like this cannot survive without timely protection.
Taking that into account, this guide explains why you should not postpone that family trip to Patagonia any longer.
The benefits of traveling with your family
If thinking of going on a journey is fascinating for us adults, can you imagine how wonderful it must be for your children? Traveling benefits children’s development both socially and emotionally, because it helps them to adopt a new attitude towards life and others, acquiring human values and useful skills for their future.
They can learn in situ about new cultures and realities, of natural phenomena, and local flora and fauna.
What’s even more exciting and attractive in traveling to Patagonia with children is that there are landscapes and a wide variety of options for the family to enjoy.
They can appreciate the flora and the beautiful animals natives to the area, like the Magellan penguins and dolphins, sea lions, and whales. Also, they can practice sports like as hiking, excursions, scuba diving and skiing.
If your children love animals, then they must go whale-watching in Punta Arenas and in the Patagonian fjords. Sea lions are another attraction for the little ones as well; they are easily spotted in Cochamó and Valdivia cities.
Your family can also enjoy watching dolphins play while visiting the beaches of Chiloé Island. No doubt that your children will be impressed with their jumps and games in the water!
Why travel to Patagonia before it is too late
There are plenty of reasons for your children to visit Patagonia. One, however, will undoubtedly persuade you to make this trip as soon as possible: climate change.
It may sound dramatic, but this is a reality that is having unfortunate consequences both in the south of Chile and in the rest of the world.
A story that went around the world was the how a massive piece of ice broke off from Grey glacier, located in Torres del Paine.
These large detachments of ice blocks are due to an increase in global temperatures, which are becoming uncontrollable throughout the planet.
Just think about it: the last block of ice that broke off from Grey in February 2018 was 350×380 meters long.
The continuing loss of glaciers has become a constant problem caused by global warming. What’s worse, it could be irreversible; as the average temperatures increase, the amount of ice melting off is more significant, as the warm seasons last longer.
Your children should not miss the chance to know these beautiful bodies of ice while they are still in good condition; as time passes, lesser the opportunity they can observe and enjoy them in their magnificence.
According to Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the University of California-Irvine, glaciers in Patagonia are changing rapidly. In fact, they are melting away at some of the highest rates on the planet.
Furthermore, according to photos and studies provided by JPL, San Quintin and San Rafael glacier retreats have been dramatic; between 1870 and 2011, the first lost 14.6% of its surface, while the second 11.5% in the same period.
Meanwhile, according to glacial geologist Mike Kaplan, a Lamont Associate Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the University of Columbia, the temperature in Patagonia has increased between in the past 100 years.
Glaciers are extremely sensitive to climate, and they are melting further because of global warming every summer. As a result, watersheds receive less water, and this is changing the landscape as you read; eventually, there will be no water for irrigation or for human consumption.
All these changes are already causing social, political and even economic impacts.
In fact, in the face of how vulnerable Patagonia in Chile and the Antarctic peninsula are, the Research Center: Dynamics of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) was recently founded. Among its study subjects is the surface reduction in the Patagonian Ice Fields, one of the largest water reserves in Chile. The impact on critical species and changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems are also a matter of research.
The added value of sailing in Patagonia
Now you know the main reason why to visit Patagonia with your children. How can you enjoy this unique experience to the fullest?
It’s one of the best ways to explore Patagonia. Prepare to be awed by glaciers by sailing the fjords in southern Chile on a ferry comfortably and enjoy every mile of it. Also, your children will have the opportunity to experience a trip full of unforgettable landscapes, colors and unique sensations.
For example, a ferry trip between Puerto Natales and Puerto Montt takes 4 days approximately. Can you imagine a journey this relaxing and magical, observing dynamic landscapes, unique flora, and fauna, and beautiful sunsets?
If you travel to Chiloe from Puerto Montt on a ferry, you can watch the penguins on Magdalena Island, or you may be lucky enough to see massive glaciers gliding through the valleys towards the sea.
Or, perhaps, you’ve already traveled to the south of Chile with your partner or friends. We recommend you return with your children and go on those hiking trails and to those destinations that you were not able to visit the last time.
Now you know why your children should visit as soon as possible. Therefore, it’s time to plan a trip to Patagonia
Don't know where to start? Here is a list of the must-see cities in Patagonia for you and your family to visit.