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Home > Boat Trips > Laguna San Rafael
CROSSING THE ANDES BY BOAT
Pucón - San Martín de los Andes
Puerto Varas - Bariloche
(Cruce Andino o de Lagos)
CARRETERA AUSTRAL
Puerto Montt - Chaitén
Puerto Montt - Puerto Chacabuco
Chiloé - Chaitén
Quellón - Puerto Chacabuco
Hornopirén - Caleta Gonzalo
Weekend Cruises
Fiordo Quintupeu

(Skorpios)
LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL
From Puerto Montt:
Navimag Ferries
Skorpios
From Pto. Chacabuco:
Catamaranes del Sur
Navimag Ferries
From Bahía Exploradores:
Launch "Explora I"
PATAGONIAN CHANNELS
Puerto Montt - Puerto Natales (Navimag)
From Puerto Natales to Southern Ice Field
(Skorpios III)
TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Punta Arenas - Ushuaia
(Cruceros Australis)
Punta Arenas - Puerto Williams

 

LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL

The Laguna San Rafael is a small bay at the farsouth end of the Moraleda channel. It is connected to the sea through the Témpano Channel. Its main attraction is the San Rafael Glacier, a wall of ancient ice over 40 kilometres long, coming down the 4.000 metres high Mount San Valentín, which is part of the Northern Icefield. This is the most distant glacier from the Poles that gets to the sea.
From its 1 km wide and 30 to 50 metres high frontline, icebergs frequently break with an outburst and then remain floating in the lagoon, some of them the size of a building. The excursion with small boats through thousands of icebergs in all imaginable shades of blue is just an unforgettable experience. In order to properly celebrate the occasion, the captain will pick up one of these icebergs, that originated at the top of the glacier and took centuries to arrive to the sea, and then will make a toast with whiskey on the "millenary rocks".

The starting points to this excursion are Puerto Montt and Puerto Chacabuco. Puerto Montt is easy to reach by land or flight. The small Puerto Chacabuco is 800 kilometres to the south. To get there you must take a ferry, travel by land through Argentina or take a flight to Balmaceda, Coyhaique's airport, which is two hours away by bus.
If you are on a tight schedule, taking a flight from Santiago or Puerto Montt to Balmaceda and then make the day trip with Catamaranes del Sur to the Laguna San Rafael may also be a good idea and save you time (this way you cover the whole journey in only three days).

With the construction of the road there is now a new route from Exploradores Bay which offers a more adventurous trip. It is a good option, specially for tourists driving their own vehicle along the Carretera Austral.

* * *

Navimag does not offer its popular trip with a ferry anymore. For a long time, this was the most economic option to visit Laguna San Rafael. At the moment, no other provider arrived to fill this space.
There are no departures either scheduled with the cruiser Mare Australis, that used to make this trip the last seasons 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.

Since season 2012/2013, Patagonia Connection does not offer programs that include the visit by catamaran to Laguna San Rafael anymore.

 
Summery of the Routes
From Puerto Montt
Navimag 5 days Ferry with cabins, touristic excursion
not available
Skorpios II 6 days Touristic cruiser
from US$ 1.400
 
 
From Puerto Chacabuco
Navimag 3 days Ferry with cabins, touristic excursion
not available
Catamaranes del Sur 14 hours Touristic catamaran; there are programs in combination with the Hotel Loberías del Sur
from US$ 205
   
From Bahía Exploradores (road access via Río Tranquilo)
Lanch "Explora I" 1-3 days adventure trip in half-stiff zodiac
from US$ 280
 

Also there are several vessels and motorboats which offer charter trips through the labyrinth of channels, including the Laguna San Rafael. They have room for 6 to 10 passengers and the navigation takes from 3 to 7 days. It is the most exclusive way to know the region, and a good option if you are travelling with a group. However, if you are an independent traveler, it could be hard to find an "opening".

 


San Rafael-Glacier in sight


Skorpios II in Laguna San Rafael. Photo: Copyright by Skorpios


Excursion with boats in fron of the glacier. Photo: Copyright by Skorpios


Catamaran in front of the glacier

 

For more information, please contact us at:

TravelAid · Ansorena 425 local 4 · Pucón · Chile · Phone/Fax (56) (45) 244 40 40 · info@travelaid.cl
travelaid@gmail.com · Mobile phone (56) 9-93536886