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Getting to and away from Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael

Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael is accessible by not only by sea, but also air and land. Most people visit on a cruise with Navimag from Puerto Montt and Puerto Chacabuco ( Berths $360, cabins from $500 per person, 2-5 days). Also sailing from Puerto Chacabuco are catamarans, such as Patagonia Express (Tel.: Santiago – 02-225-6489, Puyuhuapi – 067-32-5103 / 32-5117, Purto Chacabuco – 067-35-1208 / 35-1196, URL: and Catamaranes del Sur (Turimo Prado de la Patagonia, 21 de Mayo 417, Coyhaique, Tel.: 067-23-4843 / 21-3815, Fax.: 21-3817, E-mail:, URL: These companies charge about $350 for a one-day trip. All of these excursions boat up the Río Témpanos into Laguna San Rafael and right up to the foot of age-old glaciers streaming from the Campo de Hielo Norte. Excursions occur all year round.


Camino Exploradores is accessed from Puerto Río Tranquilo. For this route, see Bahía Exploradores. In Río Tranquilo and Puerto Guadal, guides take hikers up the Leones and Soler River Valleys to the mountains and glaciers in that sector. To get to Glaciar Steffens from Caleta Tortel, arrangements for transport are made with Caleta Tortel’s municipalidad. The boat from Caleta Tortel up Fiordo Steffens to near the mouth of Río Huemules costs $180-220, the boat across Río Huemules $60 and horses to the glacier lookout point $20.


From Coyhaique and Puerto Aysén, flights can be chartered to fly over the park; there is a landing strip at Laguna San Rafael, Sector Caiquenes.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

09 Jul 2009

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