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How to Enjoy Patagonia as a Family

We’ve put together some of our top tips for enjoying a Patagonian family vacation. With hiking and wildlife galore, parents and kids can enjoy animal spotting and nature trails at the world’s end on a unique & active trip. No kids’ club or babysitters, just a week of shared experiences and quality time outdoors together ‘en familia’. Where better than Patagonia to experience the fresh outdoors as a family and enjoy a safe, wildlife packed adventure in harmony with nature (and hopefully each other)? 

 

1. Choose a Highlight-packed Location

Patagonia is a vast place (roughly the size of France and Spain together) and choosing the right destination is important. Going somewhere with many highlights in the same place reduces the possibility of kids getting bored on long journeys between destinations - bear in mind you’ve already travelled to the end of the world and travel harmony between family members may be wearing a bit thin!  

Gemma Dunn - W Trek Traveller - Departure from Santiago de Chile
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
 
A good option is Torres del Paine National Park, home to a vast array of wildlife including guanacos (lama family), ñandús (ostrich family) and pumas (cat family!). Scenery is diverse, views are spectacular and there are enough trekking trails to fill a week of action packed hikes.
 

2. Leave Room for Adaptations

It’s a known fact that when travelling with kids not everything goes to plan all the time. It’s probably best not to commit to a watertight schedule where everything is planned hour by hour and can’t be adapted. Instead go for a program which has a clear outline but day to day activities are more flexible, fitting the mood of your family that day and providing alternative options. 

 
Gemma Dunn - W Trek Traveller - Departure from Santiago de Chile
Flexible Family Trekking in Torres del Paine
 
A flexible tour option in Torres del Paine is the EcoCamp Patagonia Wildlife Safari program, with nights spent at sustainable hotel EcoCamp Patagonia. Their Safari excursion menu includes easy and active options each day meaning families can change preferences daily and even split into two groups for the day, reuniting for dinner in the evening.
 

3. Know What to Bring

Travelling with kids means bringing things in the event of just about anything. Plasters, favourite snacks, favourite flask, favourite gadget... Of course Patagonia also requires a whole set of special clothing for trekking (in potentially very wet weather). Make sure all family members wear in their trekking boots before the big trip to avoid fighting over the plasters on day one!
 
Gemma Dunn - W Trek Traveller - Departure from Santiago de Chile
Packing for a family trip to Patagonia
 
Chilean tour company Cascada Expediciones sends out a pre trip information pack detailing what to bring for all of their Patagonia tours, including the aforementioned Wildlife Safari. Children aged 6 and up are welcome on the Safari program and children aged 12 and up are welcomed on trekking tours (12-14 year olds need a parental guarantee confirming they’re up to the hike).   
 

4. Go for Family Friendly Accommodation

You probably want to steer clear of the places which only have candlelit tables for two in the restaurant. It’s important to go somewhere with a family friendly policy, where kids are welcome and can participate in all activities. There might not be balloons and a kids’ menu but there should at least be communal areas where families are welcome to relax and play a board game after a long day’s hike. 
Gemma Dunn - W Trek Traveller - Departure from Santiago de Chile
A two storey Geodesic Dome in the Patagonian wilderness
 
In 2011 EcoCamp Patagonia introduced new Suite Dome Lofts, two storey domes which sleep up to four people and have comfortable double or twin beds both up and downstairs. Kids under 12 sharing with parents get a 50% discount (there are all sorts of discount combinations for different family sizes, get in touch for more details). In addition EcoCamp’s Community Domes have a selection of books & maps in the library and games including chess, checkers and jenga in the bar area.
 
 

5. Combine Adventure with Learning

A nice double pretext for whisking the family off to the world’s end on vacation is the great outdoors combined with learning. In addition to the Patagonian Big Five, Patagonia has world class nature including mountains, forests, lakes, fjords and glaciers so big that kids will feel like Ice Age the movie has come to life. Hiking provides a great opportunity to learn about flora & fauna and witness spectacular natural wonders. 
 
Gemma Dunn - W Trek Traveller - Departure from Santiago de Chile
Guided learning on a Patagonian Safari
 
EcoCamp Patagonia gives a mini field guide to each guest, outlining Torres del Paine’s mountains, glaciers and wildlife while taking a closer look at the park’s native flowers, birds and mammals. The Field Guide complements the new Micro Safari interpretive trail set just behind EcoCamp, leading guests on a short path through the wilderness with information boards about the area’s flora. Guides are always happy to add more information! Read more about family vacation in Patagonia.
 
If you want to organise a trip to Torres del Paine with your family then contact our friendly travel experts to see how they can help. In the meantime you can read more about Destination Patagonia and a Patagonian Wildlife Safari to start the excitement build up!