Northern Patagonia, traditionally a remote and an extremely difficult region to access, holds some of the best wonders of all of Patagonia. Icefields and endless fjords, lagoons, rivers, and forests, this 8-day navigating and kayaking expedition takes you to San Rafael National Parks’s Bahía Exploradores, Laguna San Rafael, Bahía San Quintin, Isla del Diablo, and the iconic Marble Caves. A combination of local refugio accommodations and tent camping on the beach, this trip is an adventure deep into the real wonders of Northern Patagonia.
• Pass through Villa Cerro Castillo
• Navigation in San Rafael National Park
• See the Northern Patagonian Ice Fields
• Experience Fjords, Inlets, Channels and Evergreen Forests
• Visit the Isthmus of Ofqui & Marble Caves
• See Hundreds of Stranded Iceberg “Sculptures”
• Various Zodiac Navigations through Pristine Waters
• Explore the Beautiful Region of Aysén Patagonia!
Welcome Reception in Balmaceda - Transfer to Cerro Castillo - Puerto Tranquilo
5 Hour Private Transfer
Night at Hostel El Puesto (D)
The crew welcomes guests upon arrival at the Balmaceda Airport before setting off in a private transfer to Puerto Tranquilo with a stop along the way in Cerro Castillo for lunch in the town.
Upon arriving to Puerto Tranquilo, the group enjoys a welcome dinner and briefing session together, preparing for the upcoming 7 days of pure adventure.
Transfer to Bahía Exploradores
Navigation to San Rafael National Park - Hike to Río Negro - Navigation to San Quintin Beach
2.5 Hour Private Transfer - 3 Hours Total Navigation - 2 Hour Hike / 2 KM
Night Camping at San Quintin Beach (B-BL-D)
Our day begins at 7AM with a private transfer along a road traveling through a valley towards the sea, presenting a variety of landscapes that speak of the social and natural history of the Aysén region. Hanging glaciers, forests, rivers and lakes can be seen along the route until reaching Bahía Exploradores. Upon arrival, we board a boat where our guide will give a brief safety talk and general description of our trip. After boarding our boat "La Certeza" or "La Resistencia", a smooth 2 hour navigation begins while we will enjoy our breakfast.
After arriving to our destination we disembark in the Ofqui beach sector. Here we have lunch before walking along a historic path, where you can see the vestiges of what was the attempt to build a canal between the years 1838 -1840 0 in order to join Laguna San Rafael with the Gulf of Penas.
Our walk advances through a swampy sector and although it is a 2 km walk, the duration is approximately 2 hours, until we reach the Negro River, where we will embark on a 1-hour zodiac boat to start the descent down the river where we arrive to San Quintin beach, which offers a view of the imposing glacier of the same name. Here we set up our camp and prepare dinner. Throughout this journey, you will be able to learn the history of Ofqui and enjoy the beautiful beach at the end of the road, eternal and long where the waves that come from the Gulf of Penas crash.
Round-trip Hike to Devil's Island
5 - 6 Hour Hike / 15 KM
Night Camping at San Quintin Beach (B-BL-D)
After our breakfast we will start a walk that we will combine with navigating the zodiac boat, depending on the preference of the group. The tour will follow the bank of the San Tadeo river to Isla del Diablo, approximately 15 kilometers round trip. Along the way we can observe various birds, whale bones, recognize flora and fauna, trace animal tracks and imagine the history of the sector. It must be considered that this extreme and distant landscape was traveled for centuries by canoe groups and later by missionaries and navigators who recorded their passage from the year 1,500 onwards.
To date it is a sector little investigated and in each of our trips we seek to contribute with different elements that allow us to know more about the life that passes in this place. Thus, the invitation to our passengers is to feel part of exploration; to search, associate, investigate and enjoy.
We will return back to our camp in the evening where we will prepare dinner and enjoy another nights' rest along the beach.
Return to Laguna San Rafael
2 Hour Hike - 1 Hour Zodiac Navigation - 40 Minute Walk to Refugio
Night at Refugio Caiquenes (B-BL-D)
Following breakfast, we will begin our return to Laguna San Rafael following the same 2 km path where we will board our boat or zodiac, crossing towards the north shore of Laguna San Rafael towards Laguna Caiquenes. Depending on the tidal conditions, we will disembark at the pier or directly at the refugio. If it at the pier, a 40-minute walk to the refuge should be considered.
Today is a relaxed day and the afternoon will be spent settling in the refugio, recovering from the previous expedition and enjoy the calm of the sector.
A visit to the beach to watch the sunset is recommended this evening following a warm dinner together as a group.
Hiking Mirador Trail & Kayaking Clinic
Varied Short Hikes Available During this Day's Itinerary
Night at Refugio Caiquenes (B-BL-D)
After breakfast we will start our hike along the Viewpoint Trail, a medium intensity trail of about 1.5 hours. Here it is possible to observe and listen to the thunderous ice falls, tangible proof of the rapid retreat of the ice. We will observe species of flora such as coigue de chiloe and magallanes, canelos, nalcas, nirre, ciruelillo, tepa, cipres de las guaitecas, tenio mañio and the endemic Hebe salicifolia that only grows in the San Rafael lagoon park. Characteristic birds of the evergreen forest and marine ecosystems will also accompany our journey and if we are lucky, we will be able to see the shy pudú and the guiñas. After our short hike we will have the option to develop various activities based on the interest of the group.
We will enjoy lunch at the refugio and later we will complete a kayak clinic to prepare us for our kayak excursion tomorrow. We spent the night again in the refugio after enjoying another delicious dinner together.
Full Day Kayak Excursion in San Rafael National Park
Night at Refugio Caiquenes (B-BL-D)
An early breakfast will be enjoyed to ensure we have plenty of nourishment for our kayaking journey today.
The route today will depend on the current weather conditions and the guide's recommendation, but either way, a full-day kayak excursion in San Rafael National Park will take us to some amazing sights along calm, glacial waters. During our excursion we can spot several marine life, native bird species, wildlife, flora & fauna.
In the evening we return to spend the evening at our refugio and enjoy dinner as we relax and share about our day.
Navigation to Glaciers - Transfer to Puerto Tranquilo
40 Minute Walk - 2 Hours Total Navigation
Night in Puerto Tranquilo Cabin (B-BL-D)
Following breakfast we will make our way to the CONAF pier, about a 40 minute walk where we will board our boat for our navigation to the glacial wall of the San Rafael Glacier. We will take time to observe the massive ice wall while enjoying lunch inside the boat with incredible views. After lunch the boat will navigate to Bahía Exploradores where we will disembark and take a private transfer to Puerto Tranquilo where we will spend the evening and dine together as a group.
Kayak Excursion Marble Caves - Return to Balmaceda
1 Hour Kayak or Boat Excursion - Private Transfer to Balmaceda Airport (B)
Following breakfast we will have the wonderful opportunity to kayak to the iconic Marble Caves. Once finished, a private transfer will take guests to the Balmaceda Airport for their departing flight in the afternoon or Coyhaique if guests will be continuing their travels onward from here.
- All Private Transportation Indicated in Schedule
- All Meals Indicated in Schedule (B: breakfast, BL: box lunch, D: dinner)
- Entrance Fees to Parks
- One Night Accommodation in Hostel El Puesto in Puerto Tranquilo
- Two Nights Camping in San Quintin Beach
- Four Nights Accommodation in Puerto Tranquilo (3 Nights Refugio Caiquenes & 1 Night in Puerto Tranquilo Cabins)
- Camping Equipment (2 person tents, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, etc.)
- Certified Professional Kayak Guides (English-Spanish speaking)
- Introduction to Kayaking Skills (such as maneuverability, rescue techniques) *Ongoing instructions given throughout expedition
- Double & Individual Kayaks with Fully-Equipped Rudder
- Kayaking Equipment: oars, life jacket, neoprene suit, neoprene boots, neoprene mittens, semi-dry rowing jackets, and kayaking accessories)
- Safety & Emergency Equipment (including VHF radio, satellite phone, first aid kit)
- All Zodiac Navigations Indicated in Schedule
- Metlife Accident Insurance
- Domestic or International Flights
- Costs for Air or Sea Evacuations
- Medical Expenses
- Personal Expenses
- Any Additional Costs Incurred Due to Changes in Times or Itinerary That are Out of the Control of the Company
- Medicine, Laundry, or Personal Belongings
- Additional Nights Lodging
- Gratuities for Guides/Driver
$New Season Pricing to Come!
Start / End
MIN 2 MAX 8 PEOPLE
Dates & Prices
Program prices are determined on the final number of confirmed guests in a group. The per person price lowers as more guests join the group. Chile Nativo operates with a maximum of 8 guests per departure which allows for a high level of individualized service and an unforgettable personalized experience.
PRICES FOR SEASON 2021/2022: (valid until April 2022)
2 Guests Total in Group: New Season Pricing to Come!
3 Guests Total in Group: New Season Pricing to Come!
4-5 Guests Total in Group: New Season Pricing to Come!
6-7 Guests Total in Group: New Season Pricing to Come!
8 Guests Total in Group: New Season Pricing to Come!
DEPARTURES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST!
Q: What Should I Bring?
A: It’s important to bring a small Day pack aside from your regular backpack which you will bring. A notebook to take notes and a camera is definitely recommended for the sights you will encounter during this trip. This is an adventure program, where it is necessary to consider that the sector where it takes place is very humid and swampy. It is isolated and the nearest medical center is 300 km away. Although we have done it with different types of passengers, families, children and older adults (in good physical condition), it is essential that the guest becomes aware of this condition. Clothing is important guests should always dress in layers: 1st layer (breathable T-shirts) 2nd (fleece coat, trekking pants, hat, gloves, neck cover), and 3rd layer (clothing for rain and wind – ideally a waterproof jacket and pants or a water layer – trekking shoes or rubber boots for water). Guests should also bring a pair of rest shoes, ideally crocs or similar.
Add-Ons & Upgrades
The overall experience we had on the W-Trek tour exceeded our expectations and was the highlight of our 2-week trip! We thoroughly enjoyed the trip itinerary, hiking the various trails and getting to do different things (going on a boat, seeing glaciers, and seeing various wildlife). The camping experience was amazing! We enjoyed the comforts of heated yurts, warm showers, and restaurant quality food! The cooking staff was excellent, very entertaining and personable, great hospitality! The appetizers they prepared were some of our favorite dishes over our entire 2 week trip. The little touches like outlets, lotions, bed warmers, and staff friendliness made for a great stay! We would highly recommend this tour for someone interested in getting the full Patagonia experience. Great accommodations, great food, great people, and a once in a lifetime experience!