Patagonia Cultural Expedition

Credit: Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition

Patagonia Cultural Expedition

Culture and exploration in the Andes

Explore the mountains and meet the people of Chile’s Aysén region. On this course, you’ll start by getting to know this region on foot, backpacking in the mountains as you learn skills like map reading, minimum-impact camping, and navigating off trail. Start your days savoring a breakfast you cook for your group on a camp stove. Learn about the area’s ecology as you hike through temperate rainforest and steep granite ridges. Settle into your tent at night ready to explore the next valley.

This course emphasizes cultural interaction in addition to wilderness travel skills. Any time we pass by a campo (ranch) or other home, you will take time to meet the poblador family and ask if they need help with a project, share a cup of yerba mate, and listen and learn from their experiences of living in this wild and remote place. 

Leadership will be a strong focus of this course. Regular interactions with local Chileans become an opportunity to learn self-awareness and cultural competence. A challenging day of hiking in the mountains is a lesson in resilience and tolerance for adversity. Forming a community with your group becomes an opportunity to practice communication and peer leadership. You’ll go home from your course with real experiences to inform your own leadership style and ready to be a thoughtful international traveler, wilderness explorer, and leader in your community.



2020 Dates

Jan. 20 – Feb. 19, 2020

Tuition: $6,795


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Equipment Deposit



31 days

Minimum Age

18 yrs.

Academic Credit

6 College Credits
  • 2 Cultural Studies
  • 2 Leadership
  • 2 Environmental Studies

1.50 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 0.50 Physical Education
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Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Coyhaique, Chile

Fly in/out

Balmaceda, Chile

Skills learned



Additional Details

Essential Eligibility Criteria

"There’s something satisfying about riding horses each day, and working directly for the food you put on your table, about living outdoors in fresh air, making a connection to the land we lived on. In a lot of ways, it was the reason we loved expeditions with NOLS—life felt important and authentic."

-Caroline Herman