Day 1: Puerto Guadal – Tortel.
The village of Caleta Tortel is right on the Baker delta, the geomorphologic environment includes the delta of the largest river in Chile and also all the channels and fjords of the southern coast. The surrounding high mountains, the glaciers, rivers and lakes make up one of the world largest reservoir of fresh water. Caleta Tortel was founded in May 28th, 1955 and the main economical activity before tourism was the logging of the Guaitecas cypress.
Departure south along the southern highway. The junction with the road to Tortel is 103 km from Cochrane - continue west - this road was open in 2003 and takes you almost all the way into the village. Arrival and parking at the parking lot out of town. Walk along the hanging walkways made of local cypress, all the way to the hostel. Lodging in local guest house.
Day 2: Tortel.
Free day to enjoy the village. We recommend to hire directly with the boat men any of the following excursions: visit to the Isla de Los Muertos, or to Steffen glacier or even to the Jorge Montt glacier if weather allows it. Return to Tortel. Lodging in local guest house. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Tortel – Villa O’Higgins.
The starting point of all the colonization along the Lago San Martin – today Lago O’Higgins on the Chilean side – were the land concessions for cattle raising impelled by the Chilean government. However free colonization, without government support, took place at the same time along the borders of the lake as a continuation of the land colonization that was already occurring on the Argentinean side during the first decades of last century. During the mid sixties the settlers of the Río Mayer area agreed to donate a piece of land and build an airfield to receive, by air, from the nearby Chilean towns their daily needs.
On November 20th 1966, Villa O’Higgins was founded to favour the Chilean effort to colonize those lands. In 1980 the O’Higgins municipality was created, and so was the town hall to help the development of this area and provide solutions to the needs of the still very small population. In 1983 the town acquired its own electric generator and in 1992 the municipality counted 337 inhabitants. That same year started the construction of the last section of the road connecting the village to the north of the region.
Departure to connect again with the southern highway and continuation toward the south. At Puerto Yungay boarding of the “Padre Antonio Ronchi” ferry (12 cars or 4 trucks) to cross over the Mitchell fjord to Río Bravo. The crossing is 50 minutes, free and no reservations taken – it is on the base of first come first served. Arrival to Villa O’Higgins. From/to Departure time:
- Puerto Yungay - Río Bravo: 10:00 - 13:00 and 15:00 hrs
- Río Bravo - Puerto Yungay: 11:00 - 14:00 and 16:00 hrs
- Schedule must be reconfirmed in Cochrane
- Lodging in hotel in Villa O’Higgins.
Day 4: Villa O’Higgins.
Today you will discover the thousand years old Southern Ice Field on board of the Quetru motorboat that will take you across the Lago O’Higgins to the O’Higgins glacier which is 3 km wide and 60 meters high. Also along the way you can visit the Ventisquero chico. It is a wonderful navigation on the mysterious Lago O’Higgins, the most unknown of all the Patagonian lakes and the deepest in America – 836 meters. Includes: (B).
- Departure from Villa O’Higgins to Bahía Bahamondes
- Motorboat Quetru leaves port at 8:30 am
- Visit to the O’Higgins glacier and the Ventisquero chico
- Return to Bahía Bahamondes at approximately 19:30
- Lodging in Villa O’Higgins.
Probable schedule - Quetru boat:
- November March April: only Saturdays
- December: Wednesdays and Saturdays
- January February: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Day 5: Villa O’Higgins – Cochrane. Departure northbound along the southern highway. Crossing over the Mitchell Fjord. Arrival to Cochrane. Lodging in Cochrane. Includes: (B).
Note: Price in US$ considering 1Us$ and Ch$ 440 – re-quote with new exchange rate when booking – price only for foreigners non resident
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