What to do in Palena?
Places to see
Three hills rise around the town: Cerro La Cruz, Cerro La Virgen and Cerro La Bandera. Several walks can be done in them and their surroundings. The Palena River is the main river of the commune, which is surrounded by its basin. On its banks you can find many sandy beaches and white stones. Floating, kayaking or fly fishing are some ways to enjoy it. The area of El Azul, under forests of radales, coihues and arrayanes invites you to discover its paths which take you into the valley. Other highlights for fly fishing, in El Tigre, are the Laguna Negra and the Tigre River, all the way to where it meets with the Moro River.
For climbers, the Pico Moro hill offers a good challenge. If you enjoy horseback riding, with a good guide the visit to the Lago Palena Reserve is an unforgettable experience. The Malito River and the areas of El Tranquilo and El Diablo invite you to enjoy nature. Around here you can also reach the Golondrina Lagoon, which is as beautiful as its name. In Puerto Ramírez do not miss the opportunity to raft some of the best rapids of the Futaleufú River.
From here you can also take walks through different trails, many of them ideal for family outings. One of these takes you to a viewpoint and to El Salto cascade, with its three large waterfalls. Along the way you can see several species of native birds. You can also explore the Yelcho Lake by boat and explore the area on horseback. To the west all the way to the other end of the commune, the Valle California opens imposingly, another must-do together with the Río Encuentro area. Here on the border, next to the binational bridge is the monument “La Amistad” by the Chilean sculptor Francisca Cerda, which symbolizes the union between two nations separated by a river.
The Laguna Negra is located in the area of El Tigre and is a favorite spot for recreational fishing. A story is told, about a bull that swims among its waters. With a good local guide, get to see this and other attractions of the commune.
The Palena River surrounds the valle, wrapping Palena in a hug. Excellent for recreational fishing, it was the center of attention during the border conflict with Argentina and today is a symbol of unity with the neighboring country.
People to meet
If you are in the commune, visit the rural areas and find out about the work of the Drovers and their dogs, of the Muleteers who travel the roads with their cattle and their sheep, the animal marking traditions, and the shearing.
Visit the Small Farmers with their vegetable and flower gardens, you can taste the fruits of their land, learn about rural life and their customs, and discover the thousands of tasks and functions that Patagonia women have done for years, taking care of their families and farm animals.
Discover the Weavers and learn about their looms, the secret places of the forest where they pick up the roots, leaves and barks that achieve the mountain colors of their wool and hear about their mothers and grandmothers from who they received their knowledge. Meet the Gaucho Singers and Poets of the area. Enjoy the accordion music and the guitars.
Leather Craftsmen can show you the different ways to braid a rein, or how to tan the hides to make “tamangos” (traditional boots). Palena invites you to meet its people, to listen to their stories, to chat with a mate next to the wood stove and to learn about the life of the settlers who populated these lands.
What to try
In Palena all the kitchens smell of freshly baked bread and jams made with fruits from the garden. Women and also men know how to knead bread to receive family and friends. The Roast on a Spit is unbeatable, always accompanied by potatoes, and the crispy fried cakes with pebre. The kuchenes and the apple chicha are a good dessert.
The morchella mushroom that grows wild is collected in October and the rosehip in autumn. Two ingredients that you cannot stop trying. A registered trademark of Palena are its apples, among them lemon apples, difficult to find elsewhere.
Roast on a Spit
The roast on a spit is a classic of Patagonia. The is roasted open crosswise aver a fireplace while enjoying the sound of the guitars and the accordion. It takes between 4 and 6 hours to be ready and it is always accompanied by a good glass of wine.