8 Best Places to Visit in Chile’s Patagonia
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Patagonia’s huge landmass render it a varied climate, diverse landscapes and culture. Here are 8 best places to visit in Chile’s Patagonia.
Overview of Chile’s Patagonia
The name Patagonia originates from the word Pathagoni, as Magellan named it after the Bigfeet Indians he and his crew encountered while sailing around South America. He then gave this name to the whole region, now known as Patagonia.
However, Patagonia has evolved a lot in landscapes and culture since Magellan set his feet there. Although some places still remain wild and brooding as it was a hundred years ago, your visual gets a hit by endless scenery beyond world-class quality. Every time you walk around, your senses are evoked and you have no other choice but to take out your camera and shoot hundreds of pictures at once.
However, Patagonia is large and spread out, so it takes a while to visit all the places. With many advertisements and beautiful photographs, you feel like it is hard to choose which place to visit in a limited amount of time.
Therefore, I share my favorite and the best places to visit in Chile’s Patagonia with pictures and background information. You can choose to visit all or just a few. Feel free to follow my other Patagonia posts for experience and detailed destination features.
8 Best Places to Visit in Chile’s Patagonia
Valdivia is located in the Los Lagos region at the confluence of Calle Calle and Cruices Rivers, both of which flow into the Valdivia River.
Traveling through the city, you will find charming towns, islands, and secluded beaches. Start your Patagonia trip here by taking a five-hour Reina Sofia cruise. The trip takes you along the shore of Valdivia, offers a panoramic view of Valdivia city, and docks on Corral Island and Isla Nancera for you to stop and explore the area.
Just 30 minutes away from Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas offers a world of difference in terms of landscapes, cultural heritage, and architecture. It is known as “the city of roses,” where visitors enjoy scenic trips around lakes, forests, national parks, and volcanic mountains.
My favorite thing to do in Puerto Varas is to take buses to nearby attractions like Perez Rosales National Park, Frutilla, and make pit stops along the way to appreciate the view. You can also take a leisurely walk around the city with a view of Llanquihue Lake. On a clear day, Osorno Volcano serves as a dreamy backdrop.
Muelle De Las Almas
Muelle De Las Almas is my favorite but an overlooked place in Patagonia, and it has captured my heart and soul in every way. It took a two-hour one-way trip and a 45-minute hike in the forest to get from Castro to this place, and there are limited tourist facilities along the way, but it is so worth it when you get there.
The waters, the nearby pasture lands, and the limited amount of tourists make this place appear so remote and that it is hard not to feel that you are far away from the rest of the world. The place also has a mysterious and hunted story from the local folklore and some interesting geographical facts.
Among all the places in Patagonia, Futaleufu is a unique place that every walk you take, there are thousands of photograph opportunities. The Futaleufu River around the area is formed by the glacier melting from the Andes lake region. The water is a transparent turquoise blue and the rapids are wild and strong, making it the world’s best place for white-water river rafting.
Although the place is ideal for kayaking and rafting, hiking and biking are other ways to explore the town and surrounding valleys, and a simple stroll around the area will take your breath away.
In Futaleufu, the Hostal Las Natalias is a great place to stay. It is cozy and offers a beautiful view outside the window from the common room and your room. Both owners, Nancy and Nathaniel, speak fluent English and they will book the river-rafting and kayaking tours for you and even take you out on a hiking trip
Puerto Rio Tranqulio
Puerto Rio Tranquilo is another of my favorite places in Patagonia.
This tiny village is on the shore of Lake General, the second largest lake in South America after Lake Titicaca. As a result of the increasing popularity of tourism in the area, there are growing outdoor opportunities and facilities for you to explore the area. It is the close point for you to take an hour’s visit to the Marble Caves and Chapels, as well as a day’s trek on the Glacier Exploradores.
When you are not outside participating in outdoor expeditions, you can relax on the waterfront. When the sun is out, you can see the semi-transparent turquoise blue water shimmering and extending for miles. I love the feeling of the serene and the beauty this small town offers, and would spend every waking hour just to sit on the waterfront. Writing this evokes a nostalgic feeling in me.
Hanging Glacier at Queulat National Park
This 1.4 kilometer-long glacier is often regarded as the pearl of Carretera Austral, spanning between two mountains and running off to the Ventisquero River. Although the hanging glacier is visible on the way between Puyuhuapi and Coyhaique, the best place to get a close view of it is inside Queulat National Park. It is an impressive sight even on a cloudy day.
Torres Del Paine
Torres Del Paine has some of the most spectacular vistas humankind can imagine. The park covers 448,280 acres encompassing soaring mountains, French valleys, rivers, grey glaciers, and the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. The most prominent site in Torres Del Paine is Los Torres, which is best seen from Mirador Torres in the early morning.
To get to Torres Del Paine, you need to take a two-hour bus from Puerto Natales, and start a multi-day O or W trek, two popular activities allowing you to walk around the park and see a majority of the stunning sites.
Possibly the most unique location of all in Patagonia is Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world.
The journey to Puerto Williams is an adventure itself, as there is no accessible road to get there. Visitors usually make a 31-hour boat trip across Tierra del Fuego and begin a lifetime journey at the city beyond the end of the world.
The most popular activity in Puerto Williams is a multiple-day trek on Dientes Del Navarino. However, this hike is by no means easy. The trail is poorly marked. You have to resort to both GPS and a map to find your way, and the weather is unpredictable. The hike is free and it can be viewed as an alternative trek to Torres Del Paine.
Apart from Dientes Del Navarino, you can walk around the city and take a visit to the Yaghan village and take a short walk along the coast of Isla Navarino.
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