Camera Chris Keim

Welcome to Patagonia

Come explore the rugged landscape, unique culture, and unpredictable weather of the Aysén and Magallanes regions of Chilean Patagonia. Whether you’re backpacking, climbing, sea kayaking, or mountaineering, you’ll begin your adventure at the NOLS Patagonia campo, or farm. Patagonia’s terrain varies widely—from steppes and temperate rainforests to alpine ecosystems and ocean fjords—and most courses travel through more than one of these distinct landscapes. From sea to summit, you’ll learn how local ranchers and settlers, known as pobladores, have adapted to live in each environment. Starting in 1990, our staff has built strong relationships with local communities through our history of exploration in remote places, working side by side with the pobladores. You’ll practice your Spanish language skills as you listen to the stories of families who have lived here for generations and interact with our in-town staff and instructors. Most courses include regular interactions with local communities, and some also include a homestay with a Chilean host family. At the end of your course, you’ll celebrate with one of our favorite traditions: cordero al palo, a feast of roasted lamb served with fried bread, potatoes, pebre, and greens from our garden. This meal honors the tradition of sharing that you’ll learn in Patagonia—it reflects the values of the people who call this isolated region of the world home.

Courses in Patagonia

About Patagonia

Information about this location

Las Quintas 55
Coyhaique Código Postal 5951874 Region de Aysén

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Develop lifelong leadership skills while exploring the rugged landscape and unique culture of Chilean Patagonia. Start your adventure at the NOLS Patagonia campo, or farm. Backpack across windswept steppes, climb soaring peaks, and kayak through ocean fjords. Practice your Spanish language skills as you converse with local ranchers and settlers, known as pobladores. 

On semester and year courses, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a homestay with a local family. NOLS Patagonia is home to our longest and most immersive expedition: the Patagonia Year. Spend five months mastering new outdoor skills, gaining real-life leadership experience, and living and working alongside your host family. Take the time to fully immerse yourself in a new environment and culture, building lifelong leadership and outdoor skills. 

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My journal read February 24, PY Day: 112, Cultural Day: 6. We were halfway through our cultural stay living with a poblador family on their campo, or ranch, and coming up on the last lap of our Year in Patagonia. My group-mates and I had been together since October; the ten of us had crossed icy rivers and hunkered through snowstorms, tackled windy peaks and windier glaciers, paddled on the Pacific Ocean, and raced against squalls together; we shared campfires, adventures, laughs (lots of laughs), and of course, mate. We had become a family. And now, for one of our last adventures, we paired off to immerse ourselves in a different aspect of Patagonia, the poblador community.

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