Chile sea Kayaking trekking trips expedition to Baker Tortel Jorge Montt Glacier Southern Icefield in Patagonia
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Sea kayaking Exploration Jorge Montt Glacier in Southern Icefield

Chile kayak expedition Jorge Montt Glacier

General Information


We invite to paddle in between Patagonia's Northern icefields which extend for hundreds of kilometers along the spine of the Patagonian Andes. The area of the Patagonia Icefields are the largest contiguous icefield outside of Antartica and Greenland.

Words cannot describe this grandiose and welcoming natural sight, found at a latitude of 47 degrees south and a longitude of 73 degrees, 30 minutes  west. Along these coordinates we can find the Northern Icefield (San Rafael Glacier), from where this everlasting river was born 1,000 years ago. Right in the heart of the landscape sits this intense iridescent blue ice which is the soul of one of the most beautiful hidden sceneries.

It will be approximately 12-14 days in an area where the unexpected will become habitual and the landscapes that we will see could only be described by those who have been there. We will listen to amazing stories of the pioneers of this remote areas, pass by enormous waterfalls, gigantic forests, impressive views of the glaciers and unique flora and fauna until we reach our destination kayaking till San Rafael Glacier in the Patagonian Icefield of Chile.

 General Information

It is located in the Aysén Province, in southern Chile, and was created in 1967 to protect an extensive uninhabited and almost inaccessible territory of 1,742,000 hectares destined to protect the wild life. It is still the most extensive park in the region, covering more than 400,000 hectares with ancient ice  in the zone known as Campo de Hielo Norte (Northern Icefied)

This Chilean National Park was declared to be a worldwide reserve by UNESCO in 1979. Located at latitude 46 – 45 south of the Chilean Patagonia .A Spanish navigator discovered this place four centuries ago. Today it has become one of the natural splendors of Chile, of the greatest international importance. The ice of the San Rafael Glacier dates back as far as 300,000 years, its frontal face is 2kms wide and its ice towers reach up to more than 75 mts. and plunges down into the ocean waters more than 230 meters. It has a length of 15 kms and stems from the San Valentín Nevado of the Southern Ice Fields of the Los Andes Mountains. The blues of the ice and its constant avalanches have converted this natural spectacle into international fame. With its ice floes of different shapes and colors it is a spectacle that is unique in this world

The climate is humid, with an average annual  temperature of 8º C and precipitations that reach 5,000 mm annually in the highest regions. In the apt areas, the vegetation presents a dense covering of trees, bushes and herbs , highlighted amongst these are: the Chilco Flower or Fuchsiaand the immense ferns. Cypresses, Cinnamon Tree, Lengas and millennium old Alerce.

The bird fauna is abundant and varied, there are just as many sea birds as land birds: amongst them exist ducks,  cormorants and black necked swans. The situation is not quite the same for the fish, there development is limited due to the low temperature of the waters.  The harsh climate also affects the mammals which are in small abundance; among them are the fox, the Chilean mountain goat, the beaver and sea lions. 

The only elements of the park are the San Rafael Lake- almost a closed cove to the sea where fishing is allowed and where the glacier descends into the lake. During specific times of the year, the loosening of these huge masses of ice creates an incredible natural show.  What makes the San Rafael Glacier stand out from the other glaciers existing in the park is the fact that it is regressing, due to the influence of the ocean climate, which is relatively cold.

Caleta Tortel , close to Baker River

The Carretera Austral road is the only connection in Patagonia and in this area is quite rough and also progress has moved slowly.

Level Intermediate and advanced paddlers , experienced campers


Patagonia , Aisen Region
Duration 14 days aprox.
Time of Year

Not available for this season


Please Ask

Trip Details Begin/Ends in Coyhaique (XI Region).
Number of participants 6 persons
Lodging 2 nights Hostel in Coyhaique , 3 nights local family guesthouse in Tortel village , mainly camping in remote locations.
Itinerary check below
Climate Weather in the zone
Photography Opportunities Glaciers, Icebergs, Southern Icefield views , gigantic forests, enormous waterfalls, variety of seabirds, sealions , dolphins and possibility of orcas.

-Scenic driving in Caretera Austral. -Paddle between icebergs of the Southern Icefield
-paddle in extremely remote areas of Patagonia formed by islands, fjords and channels.
-Magnificent views of the Icefields and virgin rainforest.
-nature hikes discovering amazing views of the glaciers.
-visit Caleta Tortel village.
-cultural experience with the local people of Patagonia.
-Trekking towards Jorge Montt Glacier.
-Trekking towards Exploradores Glacier.

Suggested Gear Please Ask
How To Get Here ?

Fly from your country to Chile (Santiago airport), and from there fly to Balmaceda airport.

1)Fly from Santiago to Balmaceda airport with LAN Chile airline or SkyAirlines/ take a transfer (bus at the airport) to the hotel in Coyhaique city (meeting point).

3)Navigate with NAVIMAG ferryboat from Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco town then consider a local bus to the hotel in Coyhaique city (meeting point).

*About the Area:

Seakayak Expedition  to the Southern Icefield

The area in Patagonia, specially around the Icefields is eally very variable and changes extremely fast.

We can expect many days of rain, sometimes we will be paddling in windy conditions and breaking waves , sometimes probably aprox.1.5mt (4.5 feets) , remote campsites (probably we will have to open camping areas with machetes) , start the days very early, sometimes at night, in order to avoid the winds.

Understand that this is an area that rains aprox 5 mt per year so will rain and rain almost every day so we will be wet...but also amazing sunny days (sometimes).

Also consider that if any emergency the evacuation will be extremely slow, no hospitals in the area (please read the conditions section). Few options for camps along the way, and in some places stopping points widely separated in the steep sided fjords. Landing spots for setting campsites are very few and they are very separated ...most of the time bush camping. Exist some long exposed open crossings.

About water tempetrature.. very cold...rivers coming directly from glaciers...The coast is covered with dense vegetation and lots of rocks in the shoreline with the exception of few small beaches.

*About the Route to San Rafael Glaciar :

From the Indians who first explored these areas in dugout canoes , this area of the world has always been infamous for its fierce, unpredictable weather and revered for its remoteness and beauty.

*About the Participants:

bring flexibility and a sense of humor with youThis expedition is designed for active travelers prepared to work, whose rewards will be developed and found into the heart of the wilderness. You'll find your trip even more enjoyable if you remember to bring flexibility and a sense of humor with you

Everyone has to be a real active participant in every step of the trip, be ready to paddle some days 5-6 hours (20-30 km/day) , feel confortable paddling in winds of 15 - 25 knots in 1.5 meter (average) breaking an surfing waves.

This is is a self-supported trip (no boat with us) so we will have to travel with the minimum equipment so we can have space inside the kayaks for everything considering the lenght of the trip, and BE MEDICALLY 100% .

Everyone must know and be ready to demonstrate if required different alternatives of self-rescue and assited rescue before the trip starts and also we highly recommend to know how to roll (if someone flips while paddling with waves and in windy conditions, rescue will be very hard and slow).

Also be confident with bracing strokes and very advisible to have a wilderness first aid course.

It´s very important that you come with very good gear for your legs and feet because we will have always to get out of the kayak and also get in the kayak in the water to protect the kayaks from the rocks of the shore.

*Team members should have the mindset that they are responsible for themselves and the other members of the team while on the water, in the backcountry and around camp.

Note: We must state that the success of this type of trips is subject to unexpected weather and personal situations, so adventurous spirit and good disposition will be fundamental.

*About the Trip:

Glacier Jorge Montt in Southern Icefield , photo by Kyle

Please consider that this is an " exploratory trip " that means that we know part of the route but there is also a section that we havent been before. Becasue of that we have study a lot the area with satellite photos, charts , ask information , send a float plan to the Chilean Navy in advance and have the authorization to do it.

We will have to deal with expedition behaviour and solve situations as a group requiring a lot of teambuilding and positive attitude. It´s extremely required that particpants undertsand that this is a trip where we will have to paddle although is windy , that all the program can be modified or cancelled at any step according to the group safety and that means no refunds.

We are not offering a race and we will "try" to complete the program of this self-supported trip .

Please consider that the trip can be modified in any step of the program, cancell, or just dont arrive to the end if the weather doesnt allow us to continue in a safe way considering the paddlers experience required or if the group is on risk and that means no refunds. The duration of the trip is aproximate....

*About the Land Section of the trip (Carretera Austral):
" This part can be also the main highlight of the trip as the scenery while driving is amazing ".

Scenic driving along Carretera Austral

Our private vehicle will take us from the city of Coyhaique (meeting point) along the Carretera Austral, a 1000-km dirt and gravel road constructed over the course of 20 years, that serves as a link between tiny villages and fishing hamlets once accessible only by ferry or plane. This road winds through a landscape of rolling hills and long grass, over roaring rivers and past emerald lakes backed by snowy peaks and glaciers.

Views from Carretera Austral*About the food:
Will be according to the nature of a self-supported seakayak trip in a variable area where we have to move before the wind appears considering Patagonia environment and the limited space.


DAY 1: At 20:00 hrs meeting at Hotel in Coyhaique with the other members of this expedition. Trip logistics and welcome dinner (D)

Day 2: (8AM) Early breakfast and start a fantastic scenic driving along the Carretera Austral till Puerto Tranquilo. Paddle the Catedrales de Mármol (Marble Cathedrals) . Night at local family guesthouse or cabins (if available, otherwise camping)./ (B-L-D)

Catedrales de Marmol (Marble Cathedrals)

Day 3: After some hours we arrive at the beautiful village of Caleta Tortel, located close to Baker River , and between the Northern and Southern Icefield. Visit this picturesque place . Trip Logistics . Night at a local family guesthouse. (B-L-D)

Day 4-Day 11 (aprox.) : Sea kayak expediton to Jorge Montt Glacier in the Southern Icefield. Probably time for hiking and enjoy the area with spectacular campistes. Night at Caleta Tortel (B-L-D)

Day 12:Goodbye Caleta Tortel and start returning north driving Carretera Austral . Trekking to Exploradores Glacier. Night at a local family guesthouse if available or camping.(B-L-D)

Day 13: Scenic driving in Carretera Austral and after some hours arriving in Coyhaique . Night at Hostel in Coyhaique , Goodbye Dinner (not included). (B-L)

DAY 14: Transfer to Balmaceda airport. (B)

The program and itinerary is aproximately and can be modified or cancel at any step according to the weather , group conditions or guide decision , meaning no refunds.

  • Guide: Juan Zuazo - Director of YAK EXPEDICIONES , certified as BCU 4 STAR Sea Award , ACA Seakayak Instructor Level 4, english speaking, first aid and rescue knowledge  (NOLS Course and Wilderness First Responder Course).
  • Transportation in private van from Coyhaique city to Caleta Tortel village and back.
  • All food according to the program.
    (B:Breakfast / L: Boxlunch(picnic) or Trail food / D: Dinner)
  • 2 nights hostel in Coyhaique , 2 nights local family guesthouse in Tortel , 2 nights local family guesthouse in Puerto Tranquilo (rooms always shared with the members of the expedition).
  • Chilean NAVY seakayak navigation authorization
  • Navigation Equipment: expedition seakayaks , imported from USA and Germany, with original rudder, spray skirt, paddles and life jackets.
  • Cooking equipment and group tarp.
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite telephone, VHF Marine radio, charts, tide table.
  • imited insurance once the seakayak trip starts ...but we highly recomend that you bring your own insurance.

  • Swimming knowledge and seakayak and camping experience in remote conditions. Probably and before the trip starts , will be requiered that each participant demonstrate in the sea selfrescue and assited rescue procedures. If those techniques are not properly done , the participant will not participate in the trip and no refunds at all .
  • Previous experience in kayaking and camping in cold and rainny climates, plus paddling in windy conditions and surfing waves.
  • EXCELLENT physical state and health compatible with the activity to be performed. 
  • Previous indication of any illness or health problem 
  • Strictly abide by the indications of the guide during the trips 
  • You'll find your trip even more enjoyable if you remember to bring flexibility and a sense of humor with you.
  • Positive attitude if unexpected situations
  • Understand that this is team activity in the outdoors and the participation of each person at each stage is fundamental.  
  • Understand that all activities performed in nature can indicate some risk and also death. 
  • The program could be modified or cancelled at any stage due to weather conditions or sudden incidents that could affect the security of the group. Evacuation from this area is extremely slow.
  • This trip will be developed in an area where the weather conditions changes very fast.
    YAK EXPEDICIONES takes no responsability for any accident or death situation.
  • Before the trip starts you must send the Medical Form and Reservation Form that appears after you press the RESERVATION button , located at the end of this program, and also send signed the Release of Liability Form.
  • To have read and have a clear understanding of the Terms and Conditions section.

  • For safety reasons we will use double but also single kayaks. 
  • Hospitals and Professional First Aid Care are very far from the place where we will be navigating.
  • You have chosen Patagonia , a place where the weather is unpredicatable, so we can have sometimes sun but also rainny days , probaly some relaxing days but mainly lots of windy conditions.
  • Please read our Conditions section about Cancellation,Modification and Evacuation protocols.


AFTER  you press the RESERVATION button, send us an email specifying:
- Your Name , age
- Name of the trip you want  (number of days)
- Number of participants
- Date of the trip you want (and your availability)

* we will send you a Reservation and Medical Forms that you have to send us back by email

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