Chile is celebrated as having one of the most diverse landscapes in the world—and one of the most intriguing.
It’s long, lean stretch up the Pacific Coast of South America has driven visitors to discover its striking peaks, vacant deserts in the north as well as its fjords, glaciers and climate extremes that define the country’s Patagonia region in the south.
With a dynamic topography that is constantly in flux, brilliant colors that take your breath away and pioneer towns that cater to sophisticated tastes, this is a region known for its lively and adventurous spirit.
Thrill seekers are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities in the area:
Hiking and Trekking
Undertaking a trek is almost a must to fully embrace Patagonia’s landscapes, and world-class opportunities abound in the region’s national parks.
First and foremost should be a visit to Torres del Paine National Park with some of the finest hiking routes in the world. Visitors are given a singular opportunity to walk among glaciers and lakes set among towering mountains of granite in a one-of-a-kind, landscape.
Huerquehue National Park and Villarrica National Park are also known for their numerous hiking opportunities as are the dozens of other national parks and reserves in the area.
Ice Field Walking
Strap on your crampons and grab your walking sticks when heading to Patagonia where you can stroll between ice and glaciers.
Home to one of the world’s largest ice fields, you don’t have to be an avid adventurer to head out but those who are experienced will revel in the discovery of crevasses, rivers and tunnels formed by glaciers.
Kayaking in Patagonia is not for the faint of heart, but adventurers will be rewarded with adrenaline-filled routes along the Futaleufu River on the Carretera Austral as well as the Baker River near General Carrera Lake, (which is the largest lake in Chile.)
General Carrera is also home to a network of caves called the Marble Chapel Nature Sanctuary, also noteworthy for kayaking. Visitors can explore unique colors and textures as well as tunnels and the famous Chapel and Cathedral caverns while paddling.
Villarrica volcano is a prize peak for many experienced climbers. It’s a demanding ascent that rewards those who put forth the effort with glimpses of unspoiled wilderness and a view of all five lakes in southern Chile from the peak.
For those who are not experienced in climbing, you can still ascend the slopes of the volcano for some truly rewarding skiing and snowboarding experiences.
For another adrenaline-boost, head to Pucon and the Trancura and Liucura rivers where you can weave through the swirling currents of Class IV and V rapids.
For the experts, the Futaleufu River provides an even greater challenge with breathtaking landscapes mixed with complicated navigation on a long, winding route.
WATCH: Explore Chile’s Patagonia Region
Sailing and Cruising
Adventure activities may be the name of the game but build some time into your schedule to include a tranquil cruise on General Carrera Lake, along the Baker River or through the fjords of Patagonia.
Sailings provide visitors the opportunity to get up close to some of the most stunning sites in the region such as Grey Lake and the glacier of the same name. It’s the ideal way to relax and cap off any adventure.
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