Puyuhuapi With Kids – Wild Adventure New For 2024

Reaching Puyuhuapi on the Carretera Austral marks the start of your entry into the heart of Patagonia’s wilderness. Set on the edge of a stunning fjord, Puyuhuapi sets the standard for remote beauty; indeed, until the early 1980s it was only possible to reach this charming, ramshackle town by boat. If you want to experience the area around Puyuhuapi with kids, then it is the perfect base to explore the region’s wonders. Chief among them is the awe-inspiring Ventisquero Colgante, the Hanging Glacier, renowned as one of Chile’s most breathtaking sights.

Get ready to see nature at its most pristine, raw and magnificent. 

Our Map Of Things To Do In Puyuhuapi With Kids

Getting To And From Puyuhuapi With Kids

Getting to Puyuhuapi is very straight forward as there is only one road in or out of town! Fortunately, the road is one of the most beautiful in the world, Route 7, or as it is better known, the Carretera Austral.

Puyuhuapi was once the definition of the word “remote”

Heading south to Puyuhuapi on Route 7 is a very civilized drive by Patagonian standards. From Villa Santa Lucia, it is tarmacked in all but a few areas.

If you are heading north towards Puyuhuapi, the road is a work in progress in places. From Mirador Laguna Los Quetros to just after Queulat National Park, it is a gravel track with an odd patch of concrete and includes the most exceptionally steep and windy section of road we have ever driven. God help anyone trying to go up it on a pedal bike!

We named this bit of road “motion sickness pass”

There seem to be ongoing efforts to improve the road surface, so hopefully, it will be an easier drive in the near future. 

We reached Puyuhuapi in a hire car that we picked up in Bariloche and drove down, crossing the border at Futalafu. This worked well, as it made getting to and from the national park was easy. If you do not have access to your own vehicle, there is a shuttle bus you can book through Experiencia Austral (adventure shop on the high street near the play park), which offers transport to & from the park for the price of Clp$ 10,000 per person, no discount for children. 

We met several people travelling by bus and hitchhiking (notably without children with them!) who said there are regular bus services running through the town, but we have yet to find a firm timetable. The primary services appear to be run by Becker Buses and Terraustral Buses, but their websites are infuriatingly information-free.

Where To Stay In Puyuhuapi With Kids

Literally anywhere.

The town is so small you are never more than a 5 min walk from everything it has to offer so you cannot go too far wrong. 

We stayed in a cabana near the fjord, which was a great option. With comfy beds and a log fire, it was a welcoming place to return to after a day exploring the nearby national park.

It is stunning.

Plenty of well-equipped camping options or hostels are also available in the town. 

If you are feeling flush, then up the road is Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa. This luxury hotel, with its geothermal spa, sets the standard for travelling the Carretera Austral in style.

Where To Eat In Puyuhuapi With Kids

We visited in mid-December, and although the town had plenty of restaurants and cafes, many seemed closed. In all honesty, we were not sure if we were too early in the season or if they had all ceased trading during COVID-19. 

There are a couple of small supermarkets that have just about everything you need to prep some hearty meals, and we found a tremendous takeaway pizza place for a treat after a day in Queulat National Park. As we mentioned in our guide to Futalafu, food prices were a real shock in Chile after Argentina. Supermarket prices are comparable, if not higher, than what we would expect to pay in the UK for some items.

Things to do in Puyuhuapi With Kids

As a town, Puyuhuapi is not awash with things to do with kids. There is a small, somewhat run-down play park, which, as the chaps from Top Gear pointed out, is in a Tsunami zone, and there is a short walk along the side of the lake, and that is about it. Fortunately, there is more than enough just outside the town to make a visit worthwhile!

Adrian, Georgia and Eva on their way to Cascada de Ventisquero Colgante

Queulat National Park

About a 20-minute drive from town, Parque Nacional Queulat is the home to Cascada de Ventisquero Colgante, or The Hanging Glacier Waterfall, widely considered one of the most beautiful sights in Chile.

Once you arrive in the park, there are two routes you can tackle, both of which start after the foot bridge over the Río Ventisquero and give you a view of the beautiful glacier.  

Try not to hum the “Indian Jones” theme as you cross.

Before reaching the park, you must book tickets through passesparques. You cannot get tickets at the park entrance. If you don’t book before arrival, there is no phone signal or WiFi anywhere near the park to get online, and you will have to drive back almost to Puyuhuapi before you can connect. 

When you book, be sure to select Sector Ventisquero Colgante. Tickets for adults are CLP$ 8000, and kids under 12 are free.

The actual website is a complete pain to use and rather pointless. Why the authorities need a passport number to visit a national park is beyond me.

The shorter Sendero Laguna Témpanos trail is a 1.5 km round trip and back and is a reasonably flat, easy walk that gives you a distant glimpse of the glacier on a clear day. It took us about 30 minuets to complete.

Kirsty and Georgia on their way to see the glacier.

The longer Mirador Ventisquero Colgante trail is a bit more challenging but more rewarding for it! The trail starts with a good climb before levelling out on an undulating path to the viewpoint. The path is boggy in places, and we would strongly recommend waterproof footwear and bug spray. The latest you can start the path is 13.30 and they do station a ranger at the start of the route to stop people tackling after this time.

Sadly we did not get a great view….
But on a clear day it is incredible. Image Credit: Tobias Hellwig

With the girls, it took us about 2hr 30 mins. For such a popular route, the path is narrow. We did the walk on a quiet day, but during busy times, waiting to let people pass will slow you down. 

Termas Ventisquero

If you are looking to relax after hiking to see the hanging glacier, then the hot spring thermal pools at Termas Ventisquero is the place to do it,

On the hunt for dolphins

The idyllic hot spring pools are located about halfway between Queulat Park and Puyuhuapi, just a 10-minute drive from the town.  

Although slightly pricey at Clp$ 30,000 per person (no discount for children), it is well worth it to spend a few hours relaxing in the outdoor swimming pools, soaking in the stunning views of the fjord and hills behind it.

There is one large thermal outdoor pool and three smaller ones, one of which is covered by a wooden pagoda.  However, even if it is raining, the heat from the pools means you don’t even notice it. 

After relaxing in the thermal pool, a splash in the cold sea is quite refreshing!  There is a small private beach with a ramp down to the water is perfect for a quick dip.

We were even lucky enough to see several dolphins passing through the fjord, which made the day even more special. Georgia and Eva were ecstatic! 

We saw some – honest!

Termas Ventisquero offers two sessions in their thermal pools. One is in the morning from 10 am – 1 pm, and the afternoon session runs from  2 pm – 5 pm. There is a cafe on site. 

Kayaking and Other Adventure Sports

Sadly, we ran out of time to get out on a kayak (it was a choice between this or the thermal spa, and, strangely, Kirsty and the girls chose the spa!), but there are several places in town to hire kayaks and other equipment. Having spoken to our host, Experiencia Austral are the most reputable locally and offers a range of tours both in and out of the national park.

We will get out there next time……

Have We Missed Anything To Do In Puyuhuapi With Kids?

There we have it; if you visit Puyuhuapi with kids, you will find this small town has a lot to offer.

If we have missed anything or found that any of the information here is outdated, please let us know in the comments below.

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About the authors

Our lives have been intertwined with a passion for exploration and a shared love for travel. Our adventures began long before we met, as we individually embarked on daring expeditions across the globe. Our paths finally converged, and we soon realized that our adventures were much more meaningful when shared!

After a brief hiatus to start a family, we eagerly embarked on a new chapter of our travel saga. Determined to instil in Georgia and Eva the values of discovery and open-mindedness, our goal is to embark on exciting escapades and explore breathtaking landscapes, bustling cities, and remote corners of the world. From hiking through mist-laden forests to snorkelling in turquoise seas, every adventure is an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family.

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