Patagonia is a legendary region, full of heart-pounding visits and epic adventure. It’s a 402,000 square mile region shared by Argentina and Chile. While the Argentinian side is a popular travel destination, much of Chilean Patagonia, where Karukinka Outdoor is based and each of our garments is handmade, is off the beaten path.
Where Argentinian Patagonia is known for its craggy beaches and inlets, the coastline of Chilean Patagonia is much more dramatic with its archipelagos, channels, and fjörds. Some of its more inaccessible areas boast a remoteness that is only paralleled in the Alaskan wilderness or deep Amazon. Wild animals such as the guanaco, penguins, and wildcats still roam Chilean Patagonia. The glacier-shaped landscape is harsh yet romantic, full of contrasts from windblown steppes to jagged mountain spires.
Epic only begins to describe Chilean Patagonia, which is one of the many reasons it is one of the top outdoor adventure destinations in the world. Visitors flock here to explore the many national parks, hike to remote and breathtaking vistas, and road trip along the rugged coastline. Peak tourist season is January through April.
And while a lot of people associate Patagonia with heart-pounding vistas and opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime adventures, which it has in droves, there is so much to love about this part of Chile besides outdoor recreation. At Karukinka Outdoor we are as inspired by the people of this land as much as we are by the adventure it promises.
This land was originally inhabited by several indigenous tribes, including the farm-based Mapuche in the northwest, the Tehuelches on the steppe and the semi-nomadic Selk’nam (also known as Ona) who survived by hunting and fishing off the land. The word “Karukinka” translates to “Our Land” in the Selk’nam language. The colonization of the land wiped out or integrated these tribes into the mainstream.
Today, livestock, tourism, and energy are the primary economic drivers of the region. Many Patagonians still live off the land, working in remote and harsh environments far from modern conveniences many visitors are used to seeing in their everyday lives. The people are hearty – they have to be in this unforgiving but unforgettable landscape.
At Karukinka, we seek to honor and reclaim the traditions of the ancestral people of this landscape. We encourage all who travel to this region and are inspired by its beauty to research the indigenous people of this land as well as interact with and support those who live there still.Photo by Thomas Fields on Unsplash.