RIVERS AND GLACIERS IN NORTHERN PATAGONIA (8D-7N)

Austral Road in Aysen Region (Balmaceda Airport)

8 days and 7 nights

This itinerary in Northern Patagonia can be the perfect way to discover this stunning zone of Chile. Enjoy daily unforgettable activities immersed in nature and breathe nothing but calmness.

Day 1 – Balmaceda Airport / Puerto Tranquilo – General Carrera Lake

Arrive at Balmaceda Airport on a flight no later than midday.

Reception and start the journey going south on the Carretera Austral for 183km. (110 miles) to Puerto Tranquilo town, on the shores of General Carrera Lake. During the journey, you will see natural features such as Chiguay Lake, the ‘Piedra del Conde’ (The Rock of the Count) and other rock formations. The road continues by the Portazuelo Ibañez (rocky pass), reaching the “Cuesta del Diablo” (Devil’s Hill), with its steep slopes from where you get magnificent panoramic views of the Ibañez River valley and the peaks that surround it. The route continues to Cerro Castillo village, a typical Patagonian town, which faces the enormous mountainous massif of the same name. The paved road ends. The drive continues south to pass Murta River as the first village after a long stretch, and after 30 minutes reach Puerto Rio Tranquilo, where you have the first closest contact with the wonderful General Carrera Lake. From here you will sail to the Capillas de Mármol (Marble Chapels), rock formations produced by wind and wave erosion.

Set lunch menu or box lunch, depending on the time the flight arrives.

Overnight at ‘Valle Exploradores Apart Hotel’ or similar, depending on availability.

 

Day 2 – Exploradores Valley / Puerto Bertrand

In the morning, leave for Exploradores Valley. From Puerto Rio Tranquilo, go west along the beautiful valley where you can appreciate nature in its natural state, pristine and rugged. After 50km. (30 miles) begin a medium-difficulty walk through an evergreen forest and then over a moraine to reach the Exploradores glacier’s viewpoint. If the weather allows, you will see the immensity of the North Patagonian Ice Field, Mount San Valentin and the Exploradores glacier. Return to Puerto Tranquilo.

Lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, continue south for 70km up to the Puerto Bertrand area, passing by countless natural attractions that will accompany the entire trip.

Overnight at Green Baker Lodge or similar.

 

Day 3 – Horseback Riding & Plomo Lake Navigation

During this day, enjoy 2 unmissable activities in Patagonia!
Take 2 and a half hours of navigation through the pristine Bertrand Lake up to Plomo Lake. Upon arrival, you will realize the reason for its name: the particular separation of the colours of the waters, which looks as if we were watching a painting on the horizon. From Plomo Lake it is possible to spot several summits and mountainous cords such as Soler, Contreras and Monte Campamento, among others. Disembark on a private beach where a 15 minutes walk awaits you through the dense vegetation of the Patagonian evergreen forest up to an intense cascade. Afterwards, head back to Puerto Bertrand.

Lunch at the Lodge.

In the afternoon, the adventure continues by horse, enjoying this excursion in the purest style of the “Patagons”. This is a 3 – hour horseback riding experience led by a unique local “gaucho”, who will show you some of the most amazing lookout points of the area. Here you’ll learn about the magnitude of the Baker and Neff River Valleys. However, throughout this ride, you won’t see just beautiful landscapes, but also you will learn about the lifestyle of the very first pioneers arriving at the region, listening to their stories, anecdotes, and animal relationship and of course there will be time to share the experience of the day together with a cup of mate with the hosts.

Overnight at Lodge Green Baker or similar.

 

Day 4 – Baker River Rafting /Patagonia Park Tamango area / Cochrane

On this day after breakfast, enjoy rafting in Patagonia for nearly two hours.
This activity consists in descending white water on inflatable rafts, and shooting rapids of varying classes depending on the level of difficulty. During this activity, you will make descents on the Baker River, the river with the greatest volume in Chile, mainly in Class 2 and 3+ rapids. It takes place on the first 6km (4 miles) of the River Baker, starting from Lake Bertrand the necessary equipment will be tried on.

*This activity is suitable for people who like adventure and adrenaline, and those who do not have problems with getting wet.

After lunch continues heading south, taking the Carretera Austral to the unmissable source of the mighty Baker River. Shortly you will see the confluence of the Baker and Neff Rivers, a really impressive visit and a postcard view! Continue 50km. (30 miles) alongside the River Baker to reach Cochrane, a small town that serves to re-stock. Continue 5km northbound up to Patagonia National Park Tamango sector for a boat trip that lasts 20 minutes and a brief hike through the park, if lucky you could see huemules, the Chilean national deer.

Overnight at Wellmann Hotel in Cochrane.

 

Day 5 – Full Day Caleta Tortel

This day starts heading south to the picturesque little town of Tortel, located 125km/78 miles from Cochrane (3 hours approx). This place has been declared as a Traditional Site because of its particular architecture and lifestyle. Here, streets are replaced by walkways made out of Cypress of Guaitecas wood. They crisscross the whole cove, allowing the biodiversity of the zone to be preserved. Together with the cold, rainy climate, untamed nature, and hard lifestyle, the day-to-day work has built the character and identity of the people. The hospitality and warmth of the inhabitants make it an unforgettable destination – walking its unique traditional gangways.

Lunch in a local restaurant in the town itself.

In the afternoon, return to the Wellmann Hotel in Cochrane.

 

Day 6 – Calluqueo Glacier View-Point / Chile Chico Town

This Glacier has an incredible natural attractiveness. It comes off from San Lorenzo Mountain, the second-highest summit of Patagonia. Once at the view point, a panoramic view of the mountain, the glacier, the lagoon, the hills, and the steep walls that surround it will surprise you. Menu-type lunch at a local restaurant.
Later on, continue your drive bordering the General Carrera Lake for 4 hours (180km/112 miles) up to the town of Chile Chico.

Overnight at Hosteria de la Patagonia or similar.

 

Day 7 – Puerto Ibañez – Coyhaique

Breakfast. At the agreed time, according to the departure time of the barge, transfer to Chile Chico pier to sail for about 2.15 hours on the General Carrera Lake up to the village of Puerto Ibañez. Before continuing to Coyhaique, you will visit the unmissable “Saltos de Puerto Ibañez”.

Lunch in Cerro Castillo village or box lunch along the route, depending on the time of navigation.

Overnight at El Reloj Hotel or similar in Coyhaique.

 

Day 8 – Balmaceda Airport

Breakfast. At the agreed time, transfer to the airport to take your flight to your next destination – 55km/34 miles – 50 minutes approximately.

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