Image credit: The Singular Patagonia
Chile, with its stunning and diverse nature, still retains plenty of mystery as one of the world’s wildest frontiers, and knows no bounds when it comes to adventure; it almost feels like the whole country is each traveller’s own discovery.
To get a full taste of its natural beauty and experience its little-known facets, Quotient proposes a few thrills that will surely please the intrepid spirit in you. YOLO on!
Sipping pisco from its ‘origins’ in Elqui Valley
Heading north of Santiago into the Elqui Valley, the lush vineyards and orchards that line the valley’s floor play an important role in the production of Chile’s signature spirit: pisco. Thirsty travellers interested in a different vineyard experience can check out the artisanal distilleries around the valley. Taste the delicious tipple and learn how pisco was first developed more than 400 years ago from heating wine over a fire as well as how the grapes used for pisco production are dried on the vine.
As a bonus, the valley also boasts some of the best clear skies for stargazing. Glamping experiences are possible at Elqui Domos, where guests can sleep in the comfort of a dome or observatory room under a sky full of stars.
Exploring Marble Cathedral on a boat
Within the enchanting and remote General Lake Carrera, whose striking turquoise-tinted waters are a result of light refraction of small particles from the glacier water, stands the otherworldly Marble Cathedral. This arresting natural phenomenon was created by crashing waves, which have been eroding down a single block of limestone for more than 6,000 years.
Visitors who make the “pilgrimage” to the Marble Cathedral drive 4 to 5 hours from the nearest airport, and then continue on by boat. At low tide, it is possible to weave through the amazing network of tunnels and caverns to get a close-up of the stunning patterns on the rocks under good sunlight.
Fly-fishing in Serrano River
Fly-fishing for rainbow and brown trout in Patagonia’s Serrano River is considered among one of the finest and most picturesque experiences in the world. While most first-time visitors may likely focus on going through their laundry list of famous hikes to complete within Torres del Paine National Park, fly-fishing allows you to connect with the natural beauty of the park from a different perspective. Surrounded by the magical peaks of the park (the Towers, Almirante Nieto, Los Cuernos and Paine Grande), you will be standing mid-calf to thigh-high deep in the river as you cast your “fly”.
There are no hikers, no boats, and perhaps even no anglers in sight. Fly-fishing uses a method of catch that merely pierces the fish without hurting it like how traditional lines and heavy hooks do. The line is also light enough for anglers to get a real feel of the fish. At the same time, it makes it easy for the fish to escape. The need for such a quick response to get a catch makes fly-fishing even more interesting as a sport.
Dog sledding around Volcán Villarrica
Many of us have heard, read or even tried out dog sledding in the Arctic, but how about dog sledding around one of Chile’s most active volcanoes?
Home to a mix of Siberian and Alaskan huskies, this area allows adventure seekers and animal lovers to get an intimate full or multi-day experience with the lovable dogs. Sledding season generally runs between May and October. With expert guides, you will learn the ropes of handling sled dogs and mushing, and traverse through the pristine forests and slopes of Volcán Villarrica with your own pack of huskies.
Kayaking from Fjord Eberhard to Villa Luisa
Kayaking through Fjord Eberhard, you will not only be in for a treats such as uninterrupted views of the scenery, but you will also be mesmerised by the ebb and flow of the waters while keeping an eye out for the region’s incredible versatile flora and fauna such as condors, Chilean flamingos and black necked swans. Enjoy the serene gliding on the water while stopping at different historical sites such as Puerto Prat, and Villa Luisa, where Captain Eberhard lived with his family at the end of the 19th century.