Trekking is an appropriate¬†activity for people of all ages. It¬†consists of simply walking through¬†the countryside, and¬†it can be practised either as a sport or as a recreational activity. Besides keeping you fit, it¬†will allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature. Due to our numerous mountain chains, trekking is a widely developed activity in Chile
Every season and place is apt for trekking, since this activity only depends on your¬†preferences and abilities. All you¬†need is adequate shoes, good quality clothing, a backpack, and willingness to enjoy the walk.
Nevertheless, there are variables that must be taken into account before starting an excursion, such as the physical conditions of the participants, the type of terrain, the duration of the excursion, food, water, and weather conditions.
Trekking in Chile
Chile's geographical¬†diversity¬†allows you to¬†trek¬†in different¬†environments, terrains, and climates; from crowded places with good infrastructure to wild and¬†unexplored areas.¬†
Some of the best locations for trekking are the protected wild areas that can be found throughout the country. Either run by the state or privately, these areas have the advantage of offering inofrmation, signposting, clear-cut¬†paths, and safe routes.
In most of these parks and reserves an entry charge applies, which is usually destined to¬†maintenance. The entrance fee for most national parks and reserves is usually¬†around US$2.
However, these areas are not the only choice for trekking. There are other options: if you feel like exploring a certain area, make sure it's not a private land, in which case you'd need to ask for authorization. In some cases you may have to pay an entrance fee.
For more places to visit, check out our Destinations guide.
When trekking, there are three main¬†problems to consider: accidents, weather changes, and desorientation. Because of this:
- Always carry¬†a first-aid kit¬†and trek in groups of at least 3 people.
- Prolonged sun exposure may be a risk factor. Wear a hat and sunscreen lotion.
- Contact the park staff and your family in advance. Let them know about your itinerary
- If you get lost, the first thing to do is to¬†stay calm, and¬†then, evaluate the situation. If you are accompanied, do not split up, make yourself visible (wear bright colours, make noise, use a whistle, scream), check your map and compass, and try to find reference points in the area.
¬†To avoid getting lost:
- Make sure you know all the routes, distances, and make an estimation of the time it will take you to go through them.
- Do not separate from your group.
- Pay attention to the characteristics of¬†the area, so as to use them as reference points.
Keeping yourself safe
- If you are not experienced, avoid¬†risky areas¬†or¬†dangerous terrains.
- Allow extra time in all your calculations so as to avoid walking at night.
- Be aware that not all water sources are drinkable.
- Take the necessary cautions when camping in areas¬†where¬†the hanta virus or vinchucas (a small¬†insect that carries the Chagas disease) may be present.
- Be aware that¬†litre (Lithraea caustica) is a common tree in the central region of Chile, and it may cause allergies in some people.
Some advice for a pleasant walk
- Carry enough food and water for the trek. At least 2 liters (5 gallons) of water a day per person.
- Wear adequate¬†clothing for the place and time of the¬†year. Wear plenty of layers so you can put them on and take them off accordingly with¬†the temperature and level of activity.
- Rest 5 minutes per hour.
- Keep a steady¬†and relaxed walking pace, suited to your own capabilities.
- Check the weather¬†forecast beforehand and be cautious of sudden weather changes
Considering the fact that trekking¬†is an outdoor activity it is necessary to follow an enviromentally friendly behavior:
- Do not litter. If you have garbage, take it with you. If you find garbage and can dispose of it properly, it will be greatly appreciated.
- Make fire only in designated areas.
- Do not take flora or fauna specimens with you.
- If possible, walk only on signposted paths.
- Do not scratch or paint rocks. No one needs to know you were there.
- If you need to go to the toilet, dig a 25-cm. (10 in) hole, and then fill it up. This should be done at least 30 mts. away from any water source (rivers, lakes, creeks).
- Avoid leaving traces of your visit. This will allow other people to enjoy nature in a virgin state
- Adequate¬†shoes¬†for the terrain
- Adequate clothing
- Hat or baseball cap
- First-aid kit
- Sunscreen lotion
Complete information and guides about mountain sports.
Trekking in the Patagonian Andes
Author: Carolyn Mccarthy
Torres del Paine: Trekking in Chile's Premier National Park
Author: Rudolf Abraham
Chile & Argentina, 5th: The Brad Trekking Guide
Author: Tim Burford