Thinking of visiting the southern part of the country? Here are the best things to do in Chilean Patagonia with map and number of days in each place.
Chilean Patagonia is one of the best destinations to enjoy nature in its purest form. Its irregular relief, where the Southern and Northern Ice Fields play a leading role, offers visitors dreamlike landscapes including glaciers, high mountains, forests and lakes.
In this article we summarize what are the places you must see, with a suggested itinerary on things to do in Chilean Patagonia in 15 days.
Table of Contents
Map with places to visit in Chilean Patagonia
The charm of Chiloé Island (3 days)
The island of Chiloé is a destination in itself within Chile. The local culture is deeply rooted and preserved among its inhabitants, most of whom are fishermen. Although you can spend less time on it, we recommend staying on the island for about three days so as not to miss the main highlights.
The tour can begin in Castro, the largest city. The characteristic feature of this small town is the way in which the houses have been built, which sit on the water’s edge on pillars called palafitos. In addition, the houses are painted in bright and vivid colors. Nearby is Dalcahue, another town with its kitchens where you can taste local fish dishes.
📷 Check out this excursion to visit Castro and other places of Chiloé Island from Puerto Montt with a local agency and make your reservation.
For nature lovers, a visit to the Chiloé National Park is a must, where the mix of forests, mountains and virgin beaches is truly impressive. Nearby is the touristy Muelles de las Almas, a wooden walkway that seems infinite and from where the sea can be appreciated.
📷 Check out this excursion to Muelle de las Almas and Chiloé National Park from Castro (although there is also one from Chonchi) with a local agency and make your reservation.
Finally, it is worth doing the route of the Churches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its form of construction and the elements used in the area make it a must-see in Chilean Patagonia. There are many churches scattered around the island and even in nearby islands.
🔎 Check out this article about things to do in Chiloé in three days.
Torres del Paine, a unique site (5 to 8 days)
Torres del Paine is the place to visit in Chilean Patagonia. You have to go almost to the extreme south of Chile, more precisely to Puerto Natales, to access this national park with high mountains, glaciers and lagoons.
There are two most visited circuits for trekking in Torres del Paine, those known as O and W.
The duration of the W circuit is five days. It is of medium difficulty, requires physical effort but the reward is the scenery, the views of the three mountain peaks called Torres Central, Monzino and Dagostini from the viewpoints and the observation of turquoise water lakes and glaciers.
Circuit O is the most demanding and requires eight days. It is a circular route that shares four days the same route as the W circuit, but then allows to observe the Grey Glacier, Dickson Lake and an impressive natural environment crossing the John Garner Pass at 1,200 meters above sea level.
📷 See here the excursion to Torres del Paine to discover the National Park and the Milodon Cave. Includes: Pick up and transfer back to the hotel, English and Spanish speaking guide, entrance to the Milodon Cave and entrance to Torres del Paine National Park.
If you don’t have many days or you can’t do the trekking because it requires physical effort or you are traveling with small children, then a good option is to do a short hike to the Ferrier lookout and then sail across Grey Lake. All this is perfectly done in one day.
📷 See here the boat excursion on Grey Lake. Includes: Pick up and transfer back to the hotel, Spanish speaking guide specialized in Chilean landscapes, boat ride on Grey Lake and Pisco Sour cocktail tasting on board.
🔎 Take a look at the guide to visit Torres del Paine.
Capillas de Mármol, a must see in Chilean Patagonia (1 day)
One of the attractions you have to see on the Carretera Austral are the so-called Marble Chapels, rock formations on Lake General Carrera that, due to a process of wear and tear caused by wind and water, have left the marble exposed to the elements.
📷 Check out this tour to visit the Marble Chapels from Puerto Tranquilo with a local agency and make your reservation.
The excursion to the Marble Chapels can be done during the day from Puerto Rio Tranquilo or from the town of Coyhaique. It can be done in small boats or by kayak if you want more adrenaline. The tour goes into the caves on the shore of the lake and the imposing rock formation called the Marble Cathedral can be appreciated.
🔎 Check out this article on when to visit, how to get there and prices for the Marble Chapels.
Exploradores Glacier and San Rafael, nature in its purest state (2 days)
The so-called Northern Ice Field in Chile is an enormous mass of mountains and ice where a large number of glaciers are located. The two most visited are the Exploradores and San Rafael glaciers, both from the town of Puerto Tranquilo.
To reach the San Rafael glacier it is necessary to hire an excursion because you have to navigate through the San Rafael lagoon between large ice floes and the bluish color of the water. The glacier wall can be seen from a safe distance from the boat, and you can hear the sound of occasional ice breaking off.
The Explorers Glacier is more accessible and can even be reached by vehicle, with a short trek through the forest. But the experience we recommend you to do is the walk on the glacier by means of an excursion. It is three hours on the ice bordering tunnels with landscapes that will leave you amazed.
Queulat National Park Trekking (1 or 2 days)
Near the town of Puyuhuapi, on the Carretera Austral, Queulat National Park is one of the most important places to see in Chilean Patagonia. Ideal for hiking and trekking, the landscapes are fascinating for all the senses.
The great attraction of the national park is the Hanging Snowdrift, a large mass of ice suspended over 2,000 meters above sea level and visible from a lookout point after a mere 400 meters. On the same day you can hike to the Témpanos Lagoon to see these small masses of ice floating.
Apart from these two sites, there are more treks that can be done in the Queulat National Park to reach other lagoons, waterfalls or go deep into the dense forest of the place.
🔎 Take a look at the article about things to do in Queulat National Park.