Conservacion Patagonia

Visit to the Future Patagonia National Park 

Magestic Guanacos


image: Loomis Luggage

We recently had the incredible fortune to be invited to stay at the Future Patagonia National Park, created by Conservacion Patagonia. Staying in a new national park before it opens to the public was one of the most incredible experiences and we wanted to share some of it here.

To get to the Park, it is best to fly from Santiago, Chile to Balmaceda, Chile. From there you will begin what is a 5-8 hour drive on winding, dirt, mountain roads. The drive itself is one of the best drives, I would argue, in the world down the famed Carretera Austral. Four-wheel drive vehicles are necessary.


image: Loomis Luggage

Food options are limited along this route. To be precise, they are limited to this vehicle; a bus repurposed into a hamburger stand. Service can be quite slow and the translations on the menu are a bit terrifying. But it’s hot food and quite the experience.


image: Loomis Luggage

Who doesn’t love a good “You eat friend with sausages?”

Lake near Marble Caves

image: Loomis Luggage

Impossibly blue lakes appear out of nowhere as you crest over hills on dirt roads. Pictured above, Lago General Carerra, one of the many views along the way, is the second largest lake in South America.

Marbe Caves- Loomis Luggage

On this lake you can visit the Marble Caves. There are signs everywhere along the lake for boats that take you on the hour + ride to the caves. It’s hard to miss. Puerto Rio Tranquillo, where the lake and caves are, is one of the only towns you pass and it’s advisable to fill your car up with gas there. The view as you pump your gas is pretty exquisite, as you can see below.

Marble Caves Lake 2

image: Loomis Luggage

As you continue along on the drive you will encounter a very curious thing– a mini Golden Gate Bridge! Coming from San Francisco this was pretty fantastic. If only the waters of the Pacific were glacier blue and you could stop in the middle of the bridge to take photos!

Golden Gate Bridge

image: Loomis Luggage

And then, right as the day was coming to a close, we entered the Park. Restored grasslands and Guanacos grazing at sunset mark your arrival into this beautiful and expansive territory.


image: Loomis Luggage

The view below, from our windshield, was a welcomed one. The Park’s main structure, gorgeous, greeting us as we arrived.


The View from our Windshield

image: Loomis Luggage

We took in this pink sky at sunset as we walked to dinner at the main lodge. The meal was prepared with care by the Park’s sensational chef from San Francisco, serving food grown on the property.


image: Loomis Luggage

No detail was left unattended to in the Lodge. The rooms were well appointed and luxurious with a very classy yet comfortable  feel. It reminded me of a Patagonian version of the Greenbriar.


image: Loomis Luggage

The next morning we woke up to a homemade breakfast of wonderful fresh baked breads, jams, incredible butter (and I consider myself a butter connoisseur, see Cotswolds post), eggs and cereals. We prepared to explore the park, though it was difficult to step away from the family room of the Lodge.

The Lodge

image: Loomis Luggage

Our first hike took us up steep mountain ascents, down towards lagoons you could swim in (if you like the temperature of glacial water) and provided us with sweeping views of both Chile and Argentina. We also had a view of the towering Cerro San Lorenzo, the second tallest peak in the Patagonian Andes. 

Hiking day 1

image: Loomis Luggage

We had to ask ourselves many times, “Is this Patagonia or St. Barths?” Water simply is more beautiful in Patagonia.

Tropical Patagonia

image: Loomis Luggage

The day was not complete without a stop at the Argentine border, filling up our water bottles in the stream (you can drink from streams without worry) and heading back to the lodge where fresh baked muffins and a glass of cold white wine was waiting for us.

Republica Argentina

image: Loomis Luggage

The only way we could reconcile coming in from that spectacular hike was the fact that we were able to kick up our feet at this magical spot. 

Lodge at Future Patagonia National Park - Image CP

image: Conservacion Patagonica

The sun sets over the park. 

The Sky Outside the Lodge
image: Loomis Luggage

Our crew happily fed at a Patagonian Asado.

The Group

image: Loomis Luggage

We would encourage anyone who loves the great outdoors, conservation and stunning natural landscapes to make the trip down. Volunteering at the park is possible as well as visits, with advanced coordination.

Shortly after we left, the Park experienced one of the most devastating fires in that geographical’s history.

Volunteers will be welcome and appreciated in the months and years to come!

Email: with questions.