Chile is a very child-friendly country and Patagonia an amazing destination for families that love to explore new places together. Alicia, adventure lover and a proud mother of her 2-year-old daughter, tells us about her experience of visiting Torres del Paine and Chile Nativo’s Riverside Camp with her family for the first time.
When I came to Patagonia from the United States to live with my daughter Mia, she was just 10 months old. My partner Andres is from Puerto Natales and we knew it was a place where we wanted to begin and settle as a family. Although we have done significant traveling with our daughter and have been living in Puerto Natales for a year and a half now, our first official trip to Torres Del Paine was 3 weeks after Mia’s 2nd birthday. Like any trip with children – being well organized was the most important factor for a stress free weekend, however, we knew not to be too prepared and to keep our travels light and simple.
During the 1.5 hour ride, Mia napped and she woke just as we were passing by Lago Toro with a view of the Paine Massif. I could tell she probably felt like she was dreaming and she gazed in awe and curiosity. “Mountains!” she gasped – and pointed her little finger at the window. Andres and I told her that we were going camping! She squealed and laughed I didn’t know who was looking forward more to the trip – us or her.
We arrived to the Riverside Camp in Rio Serrano and we were warmly greeted by the local staff who catered to us with first class style. This was definitely not camping – it was way better! The concierge welcomed us right away, served us a fresh pisco sour and made sure that Mia knew that she was able to play freely in the lounge – a beautiful, open space just right for her to explore (the lounge & the dominoes were by far Mia’s favorite spot during the weekend trip). We felt thoroughly briefed with the details and functions of the camp – each staff member was there for every request and made us feel so comfortable and relaxed the entire time. We dined on the most incredible plate of grilled merluza with a caper sauce and puree de papas. The chef personally asked us what Mia would like to eat but she was too busy discovering to care about food. Our breakfasts in the mornings were a beautifully placed buffet, plentiful with fresh fruits, delicious scrambled eggs with fresh mushrooms and local tocino! Warm breads, fresh juices, cheeses – we all ate like royalty, especially Mia who sat patiently and quietly enjoying her breakfast while watching the liebres, striped woodpeckers, and bandurrias set against the great Paine Massif. It was a wonderland for us all.
Our evenings in our Lotus Belle tent were by far the best nights of sleep we had all gotten in months – we had never felt so cozy “camping” like this before. It was all so perfect.
Our tent was warm and spacious, sturdy, and a safe place for Mia to roam. She was captivated by our “giant carpa!” as it was referred to the entire weekend. To her it felt like a castle (and for us too actually). I appreciated the space heater with the auto shut off safety feature – excellent for any traveler and especially for families with children! Our accommodation came equipped with two Black Diamond Moji Lanterns providing just the right amount of soft lighting in the evenings and definitely helpful when walking to the restrooms at night. There were several instances where Andres and I debated a lifestyle change – just living in a Lotus Belle tent with a deluxe inflatable mattress – because, why not?
To see my daughter connect with nature and truly be in the moment with the elements surrounding her was such as blessing and beautiful gift. We watched our 2 year old disconnect her mind, relax her body, & open up to curiosity and discovery.
At times we just sat. And observed. And did nothing else but that…..
We collected rocks and dipped our feet in the cool river. We picked Calafate and watched birds, coaxed weary horses and followed sheep. We hiked Ferrier and picnicked in the lush forest. We roamed and strolled along through the pampas.
We reconnected as a family, as parents and as partners. We understood one another a little bit better and we left with our love cups very full.