Located at the Southernmost part of South America, Patagonia covers an immense 260,000 square miles of area, spanning across the countries of Argentina and Chile. Known for its abundance of crystalline glaciers and dramatic snow-capped peaks, the vast area has gained large interest over the last few years with explorers, hikers and nature-lovers alike. Whale-watching, hiking and horseback riding are just some of the distinctive ways in which you can get acquainted with this striking region, yet the cultural importance and history of the region must also not be swept aside.
Our team at Ravel were delighted with the opportunity to interview Daniel Santín, the founder and director of OneSixth Expeditions, a destination management company providing specialized and exclusive experiences for conscious travelers wishing to visit Patagonia. Their one-of-a-kind expeditions have been heavily researched and organized by a dedicated team, combining their resources of local and professional knowledge, family legacies, old photographs, legends and travel stories from the region, in order to curate unforgettable experiences. Through their desire to raise awareness for the cultural identity of Patagonia, this article will aim to present and appreciate the efforts in which OneSixth Expeditions does this, whilst also remaining a carbon neutral and sustainable operator.
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Daniel conceptualized the project in 2021, whereby he wanted to create something that was completely unique and different for people, but something which would also have a long lasting impact on both the travelers and the local communities being visited. Straight from its inception, Onesixth Expeditions already had a large focus on the importance of sustaining and upkeeping the people, environment and cultural identity of a location. The opportunity to create unforgettable experiences was then catalyzed with the focus on fully immersing travelers with opportunities and aspects that would completely enrich their cultural experience of the location.
Daniel referred to the idea that many travelers come to visit Patagonia and there is a large demand to visit traditional/ typical tourist hotspots such as; Ushuaia, Puerto Madryn, the Blue Road, Tierra del Fuego, El Calafate, El Chaltén and Bahia Bustamante. Outside of these regions travelers lack confidence to venture further as due to lack of knowledge they may not be aware of the other outstanding locations and in many cases due to the isolated nature of some locations they can be difficult to reach. Onesixth Expeditions aimed to transform this occurrence by creating expeditions.
Furthermore, referring back to the main ideology that Onesixth Expeditions places a large focus on cultural identity, Daniel continued to explain the importance of this and how it is especially achieved through the elements of local people. During the expeditions it was designed that the travelers gain a lot of insights and contact with Argentinian nationals such as the guides, local experts, researchers and historians all of which will enhance their understanding of the area. For example, historians and local experts will contribute their professional expertise and knowledge to the travelers about the region, including the initial historical memoirs of explorers such as Charles Darwin and Robert FitzRoy, who courageously explored these unnavigated masses of land. Also encouraging interactions and connections with present-day families that have settled in Patagonia, the travelers are able to gain further understanding and insight into the history and changing of surroundings of the region over the centuries. This immersive and purposeful exploration is delivered through the ‘The Pioneers Routes in Patagonia’ expedition.
The unique opportunity to meet and interact with courageous families that are the descendants and grandchildren of the first settlers in Patagonia, is one aspect which makes this expedition a culturally immersive and unforgettable one. Through this, the travelers are able to gain some extra history and cultural awareness about the previous settlers, their lifestyles, occupations and experiences, within the region of Patagonia, to appreciate their efforts and dedication to create their lives and homes in this very inhospitable area of the country. The photos, letters, and stories of the families that will be met during this trip, in some cases, date back to over 150 years. The devotion to retain and pass on these stories and memories from generation to generation and now to eager travelers can allow us to appreciate their different lifestyles and how living in Patagonia shaped them.
One of the first families that the travelers have the chance to meet is the Peso Family located in The Glaciers Area.
Having immigrated from Croatia, the family line's history dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Since the family grew and the descendants all settled throughout different parts of Patagonia, we as travelers are able to appreciate stories, memoirs and photographs of the family that encapsulate their lives from all across the region.
The history and heritage of this unique family and their remarkable efforts throughout Patagonia can live on through our understanding and learning of this. The expedition proceeds further with a momentous drive across the length of Rio Chico Valley, to find shelter with an estancia belonging to descendants of the Lewis family, from the Falklands Islands. Greeting the travelers with traditional british tea and a multitude of fascinating stories, the stay with the Lewis family encapsulates stories and family legacies which they have collected and stored over years and years. The consecutive families also share their experiences allowing the travelers to fully engage with the cultural identity of Patagonia, through the people that have shaped it. These historical accounts are of course experienced alongside striking hikes, tours and activities, whereby the travelers can fully experience Patagonia.
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