Many would think that South America was only for super-fit pro-hikers. When people talk about trekking in Chile and Argentina, most cite extreme trails like the W trek or the Q circuit. This might make many think that hiking in Chile and Argentina with kids is out of the question. But adventuring parents, never fear – this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a number of incredible day treks that mean your adventure hiking with kids Chile, Argentina and beyond, is well within reach. Below, we run down 3 recommendations for scenic day hikes and share some tips for trekking with kids.
Tips for hiking with kids Chile, Argentina and beyond
Before discussing our recommended routes, it’s useful to share some tips about hiking with children. For instance, getting the kids as enthused as you are can be a challenge – especially in the age of Playstations and iPads. Often, the secret to selling hiking to kids is all in the wording. Instead of calling it ‘hiking’ or ‘trekking’ say that you’re going exploring. This should inform the way you approach the hike. Allow kids to get distracted and investigate things that interest them on the trail. Furthermore, you should make sure your children feel like they have a part to play. Even the smallest person can feel involved by being given something small to carry along the way.
Aside from winning hearts and minds, there are important practicalities when it comes to hiking with kids Chile, Argentina or anywhere. First off, make sure you stock up with snacks and water. Second, be very, very liberal with sunscreen. Even on overcast days in Chile and Argentina, delicate skin can get burnt. Furthermore, invest in decent hiking gear for children. Even though it can be tempting to cut costs on clothes they’ll grow out of, it’s important they’re dry and comfortable.
1. Penguin spotting on Isla Magdalena
If you’re hiking with kids Chile is an amazing place to see wildlife. For example, visiting the 150,000-strong Magellanic penguin colony on Isla Magdalena is a sure-fire winner with kids and adults alike. More of a gentle stroll than a full-blown hike, an excursion across the Magellan Strait is certain to capture imaginations. Several tour operators run trips from Punta Arenas to Isla Magdalena, which include an exciting boat ride across the strait to the island. Once there, your kids can get up close and personal with these adorable creatures and even spot sea lions, dolphins and whales too!
2. Trekking Mount Fitz Roy for kids
Mt. Fitz Roy is one of Patagonia’s major landmarks. Considering its majesty, you might think conquering Fitz Roy was for mountaineers, not families. However, just because you’ve got the kids in tow, doesn’t mean you can’t take on the mountain. Even though multi-day hikes are more widely advertised, there is a very pleasant day hike that takes you to a viewpoint above El Chaltén. Most of the Condor lookout hike is fairly flat, however, the last hour is steep. You’ll need to take it slow, but the view from the top is worth it. Alternatively, if you’re with a very small person that will struggle, there’s always the chairlift.
3. Roam with guanacos at Laguna Azul
Torres del Paine is Patagonia’s capital of hiking. For those hiking with kids Chile and Argentina’s trekking mecca is the perfect place to embark on a day trip. For example, the stunning Laguna Azul is a bright turquoise lake in the east of the national park. The lake is a little off the beaten path as most tours enter the park from the west, making the eastern portion much quieter. About a 45-minute drive from the eastern gate, Laguna Azul is frequented by an enormous herd of guanacos. Once at the lake, you can park up and take a leisurely hour-long hike to the Sierra Masle viewpoint. The view is stunning and your kids will love roaming with the guanacos.
The adventure is just around the corner…
Hiking with kids is a great way to foster a love of nature. Furthermore, taking them to some of the most untouched landscape in the world will show them how precious our planet is. There are several itineraries that cater to all ages and abilities – so all that’s left is to start planning your adventure.