Supporting Youth through Rural Tourism

Written by: Alicia Caton           Published November 20, 2020

"Tu pasado es una fortaleza para tu futuro, no una razón para dejar tus raíces".

En 2019, Chile Nativo firmó un convenio de cooperación entre la Municipio de Torres del Paine, in which we promised to present educational support projects to two rural schools within the commune – Escuela Rural Cerro Guido & Escuela Rural Ramón Montaner. These projects take place in the form of environmental education and youth outings to Torres del Paine National Park – the most important tourist destination of the region where both rural schools are located. The idea is to teach the students the significance of their natural environment and its relation to local tourism, as well as the importance of learning English which can provide a path for future career opportunities and both personal & socioeconomic development

La temporada pasada, el fundador de Chile Nativo, Gonzalo Fuenzalida, visitó las dos escuelas rurales ubicadas en Cerro Castillo, la comuna que se encuentra a las afueras de Puerto Natales y donde Parque Nacional Torres del Paine se encuentra. El parque nacional es el destino turístico más importante de la región de Magallanes. Las escuelas se sientan tranquilamente enclavadas en las pampas rodeadas de paisajes de valles azotados por el viento, cielos abiertos y el simbólico Monumento de caballo in the commune’s center. Youth & community recycled art projects color the communal outdoor spaces which reflect natural elements related to the regions unique culture, landscape, and future visions. Children work together in large single classroom settings where montessori education methods are generally practiced due to the small number of total students. The schoolhouses are filled with abundant natural light, warm wood-burning stoves, and the students’ ornate & colorful artwork and projects. The students are engaged together, working on various assignments – whether it be learning about Chile’s 16 unique regions, the native flora and fauna, or creating unique art.

Los estudiantes, junto con sus profesores, se unen a Gonzalo para una entrevista grupal con el fin de averiguar qué significa el parque nacional y el entorno natural para ellos y sus familias, y qué papel juega el inglés (si lo hay) en su vida diaria. Gonzalo explica que aprender inglés es fundamental para las oportunidades laborales en la zona ya que la región depende casi en un 100% de los turistas extranjeros y de los servicios turísticos. Y para los estudiantes que deseen viajar al extranjero para estudiar o trabajar, el inglés será una forma importante de comunicación para tener éxito.

"Mantenemos la esperanza de un regreso seguro al turismo para continuar nuestra relación y apoyo a la juventud rural que nos guiará en el futuro ..."

Sabiendo que muchos adultos jóvenes desean dejar los lugares donde crecieron, esta iniciativa de apoyo educativo se esfuerza por enseñarles a los jóvenes que su pasado es una fortaleza para su futuro, no una razón para dejar atrás sus raíces. Los estudiantes de estas comunidades rurales tienen una oportunidad única de convertir su vida de pueblo pequeño en grandes oportunidades. Aprendiendo a apreciar su entorno natural y el parque nacional vecino, un destino prístino conocido como la juventud rural que nos guiará en el futuro ... " the eight wonder of the world – instills a love and desire in the students to protect the very same place in which they are fortunate to live and can allow them to build a stable and sustainable future.

Gonzalo Fuenzalida interactúa con los alumnos en su aula de Escuela Rural Cerro Guido
Después de visitar a los estudiantes y sus escuelas, más de 20 jóvenes junto con dos maestros Montessori y guías de Chile Nativo participan en una salida educativa, viajando 1 hora hacia el corazón del Parque Nacional Torres del Paine llegando a las orillas del Lago Grey en Hotel Lago Grey. The group is warmly greeted by the hotel’s generous staff and the picturesque granite mountains peaks, lush forests, and the impressive lake views which surround this iconic hotel. A delicious welcome breakfast nourishes the students before they begin a 3 hour round-trip navigation on Grey Lake, navigating among floating icebergs with astounding views of unparalleled landscapes and the immense Grey Glacier.

Hotel Lago Grey da la bienvenida al grupo a su llegada con desayuno.
Educadores y estudiantes Montessori disfrutando del viaje de navegación al Glaciar Grey.
El grupo posa para una foto frente al Glaciar Grey

This years’ 2020 scheduled educational outing was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The costs of the pandemic have infringed on youth rights which have been immediate, affecting children and families in numerous ways throughout rural communities and across the globe. We continue to search for relevant ways to connect with the children and their communities which are an important pillar for the children’s growth and development.

La salud, la seguridad y el bienestar de todos los niños y sus familias durante la pandemia sigue siendo el enfoque principal para la comunidad y los líderes de la región, y mantenemos la esperanza de un regreso seguro al turismo, a fin de continuar nuestra relación y apoyo a la juventud rural. quien nos guiará en el futuro.

SY Joyce Kan
SY Joyce Kan
2023-03-07
Amazing trip! We joined the Torres Del Paine 7 day O trek tour - note that this tour is not a complete O Trek but skipping the part from Camp Frances to Las Torres, which worked in our favour as our holiday is limited and we won’t miss much. Our guide, Debbie was knowledgeable and amicable, and very passionate about hiking. Unfortunately I fell sick during the hike and wished to leave a day earlier than planned. Debbie and Chile Nativo quickly rearranged transportation for us and was very helpful. Throughout the whole process Chile Nativo was very responsive. We had a memorable journey and I would highly recommend Chile Nativo.
Jim Garvin
Jim Garvin
2023-03-02
Fantastic experience! We were booked with Chile Nativo via Swoop and had a wonderful experience. Our guides, Tim & Lucile, were awesome. We really enjoyed their company. They were very knowledgeable about the region (the history, animals, landscape, etc). Highly recommend.
Olivia Evans
Olivia Evans
2023-02-15
I booked the independent, self-guided Torres Del Paine trek with Chile Nativo’s help and was so glad I did. When I looked to book on my own, everything was all reserved in Torres Del Paine and Chile Nativo was the only agency that could help me find a spot still. To still be able to go on the trip when I wanted to go, to not have to spend so much time planning all the logistics, to get a local’s recommendations on the best way to do the trek…but STILL get to do the trek on my own was amazing and worth every penny. In particular Paolina at the agency was incredibly helpful. I would recommend this agency to anyone looking to hike in Torres del Paine.
Chiloe Natural (chiloenatural)
Chiloe Natural (chiloenatural)
2023-02-10
Serious, professional, and friendly Tour Agency in Puerto Natales that will cater your needs in Patagonia and Torres del Paine.
Kevin Jobst
Kevin Jobst
2023-01-27
Hiking in Torres with Pepa is like walking with your smartest and wisest friend. She has an incredible depth of knowledge in everything from mycology to government, from geology to history. She is fiercely passionate about conservation and our planet and has dedicated her life to making our world a better place. Our two porters Filipe and Bastian were both incredibly strong and highly professional. Always in the know on where to set up the tent, they picked the best spot in every site we were at. Also, they were an absolute blast to hang out with after the long days hiking. I cannot recommend this particular team highly enough and if you are passionate about the environment, making the world a better place, learning everything there is to know about glaciers, mushrooms, Patagonia, the history of Chile, magma intrusions and edible berries request them by name. Thank you to all three of you for making our experience so special and I hope our paths cross again.
Brad Smith
Brad Smith
2023-01-15
Our Torres Del Paine Plus trip was fantastic! A great crew of newly-made friends, guided by Izabella “La Professora”, on a journey beyond expectations. What a great time, a balance of hiking and touring. DO NOT miss the pumas!!! I will definitely go with the Chile Nativo team again, and thanks to Nestor & Juan too!
Senga Simpson
Senga Simpson
2023-01-09
Excellent service. Thank you Vicky
Lukas Winegarner
Lukas Winegarner
2022-11-28
Camilo is ledged! Chile Nativo is extremely experienced and knowledgeable - I would highly recommend booking directly through them. We were a group of 8 doing the O 7 day hike and everything was great! Thanks to Camilo & Tomas and all of our porters!

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