When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is sunny and warm in the Southern Hemisphere. One good way to have a winter vacation is to head to Chile and to Patagonia (that, by the way, also extends to Argentina) and explore nature at its best.
One can join a W hike Patagonia tour and explore the most popular circuit of this region with guides to help and arranged accommodation as well as food. Another option is the “O” tour that so many local Chilean tour operators offer. The best way, however, is to set out on your own and explore some amazing places that tour operators do not include in the itinerary.
General Carrera Lake Marble Caves
Close to the Argentinian border lies the General Carrera Lake and here one can find the beautiful marble caves. The experience of getting into a boat and navigating the echoing marble caverns is ethereal and just awe inspiring.
The marble cave tour over one can set off to the Exploradores glacier, possibly by joining a tour from Puerto Rio Tranquilo and trek to the glacier and try to discover new caves. This Glacier is the coolest one for tourists looking to venture out and explore in truly tough conditions.
This is one of the tranquil places most tour operators will not include in the schedule but it is a haven of peace and quiet. Located in the Chilean fjords, Puyuhuapi is a small hamlet with campsites where one can stay and marvel at the placid waters, go fishing or go boating.
Queulat National Park and Hanging Glacier
The W Hike takes you to Torres del Paine, an astounding natural park but the Queulat National Park, about 22 km from Puyuhuapi, can be just as interesting, if not more so. It has the wonderful Queulat hanging glacier with a waterfall cascading from between the split, a sight to cherish. Getting there is not easy as one has to trudge through slush but at the end of it, the blue waters and the glacier can be quite rewarding.
Black, blue and white colors come together to perfection at Cerro Castillo, one very special white glacier set against black rock and it leads to a lake with blue waters. Just hiking to the site is an experience in itself and when one arrives here, the view is simply gorgeous.
One can trek the most travelled W Hike Patagonia tour in Chile or do more. Of course, taking in Torres Del Paine is a must but there are other equally interesting destinations in Patagonia that give so much more. The more adventurous hikers get a visa for Argentina too and that makes it so much easier to explore that side of Patagonia too. However, a week in Patagonia on the Chilean side is more than sufficient to visit a few interesting must-visit places. Spare more time and you can find even more hidden jewels.