Wide and varied is the menu of adventures in the park. To complete each one of them it is necessary to carry full equipment. In Karukinka there are nine bicycles and two river kayaks for hire. The public highway Y-85 is a gravel road that interns itself in the park. It is kept in good conditions until Fagnano Lake and Caleta María, in the Almirantazgo Sound. This is why reaching Karukinka by car facilitates things a great deal, especially if you don’t have too many days to visit it.
For any excursion, it should be considered that Karukinka is immense and has several internal roads which, except by the main road (Y-85), are in poor conditions. That’s why rangers also act as guides while performing their daily duties. We recommend to do full day hikes, or longer hikes, with their support. Therefore it is important to first coordinate your visit with the Park office in Punta Arenas. Registration is mandatory at Vicuña Refuge upon accessing the Park.
At least five trails, of varying length and difficulty, begin in Vicuña Refuge. Some of them require camping, so for multiday hikes it is suggested to carry full equipment (tent, sleeping bag, mat, camping stove, clothing, etc.), food, water and, in some cases, fishing rod.
For security reasons, prior to any activity rangers will conduct an induction to all visitors explaining the risk and responsibility to which they are subject while performing activities in the park. Visitors must sign a waiver acknowledging the appropriate information has been given. Correspondingly, it is mandatory to notify the rangers upon beginning and finishing a hike.
Valle del Consejo (Consejo Valley; 2 days)
The basin is surrounded by hills and crossed by a river suitable for fishing. It is also home for guanacos and waterfowl. During the first day the path ascends through several ecosystems: steppe, forest, peat bogs and Andean vegetation. This hike can be done in two days, if camping at the lookout. It is important to carry water for personal consumption and cooking, since the trail goes away from water sources while climbing to the lookout.
Laguna del Cura (del Cura Lagoon; 1 day)
It is a gentle sloping path that crosses steppes, forests of lengas and ñirres (southern beech) and Andean vegetation. It finishes at the lake where you can fish. The hike to the lookout lasts two hours and it takes an extra hour and a half to get to the lagoon.
La Paciencia (7 days)
This trail runs parallel to Sánchez River, in La Paciencia Valley, known for its good fishing. Along the trail one can enjoy the astonishing views of Andean lakes, hanging glaciers and the Darwin Mountain range. The full path requires 7 days and is of high difficulty, so it is recommended to go in groups of two or more. The effort is worth it, because you get one of the most breathtaking views of Karukinka. Water is available all the way, but it is important to boil it or purify it.
Pietro Grande Hill (half day)
An extension of monumental subantarctic forest of lengas and ñirres (southern beech) is traversed. The hike takes four hours and is of high difficulty, especially on windy days.
Cóndores Imaginarios Hill (half day)
From this route one can see the Rasmussen River, the Fueguian steppe and old lenga beech forests covered by lichens. From the viewpoint rock, Andean condors are often spotted. It is a low difficulty hike that takes three hours.
Many Karukinka attractions can be accessed by bike, such as Bahía Inútil (Useless Bay), Puerto Arturo (Port Arthur), Lago Escondido (Hidden Lake), Lago Blanco (White Lake) and La Canela (Valley), which is on the border with Argentina; as well as other remote areas of the park to which very few people have reached. The rangers are very knowledgeable, so they can suggest routes and destinations.
Another activity that can be done in Karukinka is sport fishing, whose season runs from October 16th to April 14th. A maximum of 15 kilos of fish or three fish per day per angler is allowed.
Lago Escondido is one of the most recommended spots for trout fishing, which seems to overpopulate the rivers and lakes of the Park. This river gives birth to the fantastic Río Grande, which is surrounded by placid forests, offering an unusual remoteness and quietness.
The fishing handbook, prepared by the Karukinka team, can be downloaded here.