Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Kayak lessons and demonstrations, short afternoon paddle in Colonia.
- Kayak from Colonia to Paso Lukas Bridges, camping by El Salton falls.
- Short hike to bridges, 3-4 hour journey downstream to Vargas River.
- Enjoy the green scenery en route to Caleta Tortel
At seven o'clock the bus will pick you up at your lodgings and will drive you 80 kms to Balseo Baker (a cable crossing raft), north of the town of Cochrane. The kayaks will be set up and ready, along with the camping equipment that we will use on the expedition, including tents, dry bags, communication equipment, your food and so on. The only prerequisite for this program is that you should know how to swim and are comfortable in water. Due to this, every participant in the program will be subject to a water comfort assessment during which you are required to demonstrate your general comfort level and ability to swim wearing a wetsuit, neoprene boots, spray jacket and buoyancy aid.
There will also be demonstrations and lessons by the guide on how to enter and exit the kayaks in a safe manner, in case of capsize, along with how to paddle efficiently, how to use the rudder and how to avoid potential dangers in the river, mainly trunks, branches and disturbed water. This means that we will head out in empty kayaks and practice in areas with similar water dynamics as those of the rest of the expedition.
All of this will take up the greater part of the morning, and once finished, we will pack up the kayaks, and take note of the equipment to be left on the bus. This transport will bid us goodbye, and we will see it again only at the end of our journey. At last we are ready to start our journey down the Rio Baker, finishing this long first day in the area known as Colonia, where the river of the same name joins the river, increasing its flow notoriously.
Along this part of the river, paddling is not the only option, we also have the chance to leave the river and walk to some natural locations where we can see Baker River larger than life weaving its way through the Andes. Two set of rapids will give us some adrenaline along with our smooth paddling, Colonia and Gonzales rapids, will be run by our experienced guides, or maybe all of us at the same time, by using our kayaks as a big raft. This second day of paddling will take 5 to 6 hours, including some time along the way to rest, eat and take photos. During the afternoon we will arrive in the area known as El Salton, where the Baker becomes unpassable and we will need to portage all of our equipment for about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) to our campsite at the end of the canyon. The portage process will take around 3 hours. The scene that awaits us at the end of the day, after portaging the equipment and kayaks, once the Baker river has passed through the narrows known as El Salton.
During this day, there is the possibility of doing an optional hike to the Paso de Lukas Bridges or the Paso San Carlos. Our knowledgeable guides are well prepared if you want to learn about this historic place. Before midday we will start the short 3-4 hour journey to our next campsite near Vargas river area on the banks of the Baker river.
On this last day, the surrounding scenery is greener with more cliffs, high mountains, several small clear rivers and waterfalls draining into Baker River, which flows at a slower pace, giving a smooth journey. The characteristic evergreen forest, near Caleta Tortel, just a few miles from the channels of the Pacific Ocean. Magnificent and pristine environment, from the beginning to the end of this trip
The final destination is the unique village of Caleta Tortel, declared a 'Typical Chilean Area'. We will spend the night in a small, family-run hotel close to the water. It is warm and comfortable with tasty home-cooked food.
Onward travel from Caleta Tortel.
What our customers think
The wilderness, the most dramatic scenery you can experience and the people, warm with compassion and incredible depth of care for their communities.
Nic and Julie Iannarone October 2016
Baker River Kayak Descent
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices are $1000 per person based on a minimum group of 4 people.
- Local professional guides, certificated by American Canoe Association (ACA) with training at international outdoor schools such as Outward Bound, NOLS, certified in first aid training in remote areas WFR (Wilderness First Responder), Escuela de Guias de la Patagonia.
- Half-day practical clinic on manoeuvring and rescuing skills in kayaks.
- Double kayaks with rudder and full equipment (paddle, buoyancy aid, long wetsuit, neoprene boots and gloves, spray jacket and safety gear)
- Accident insurance
- All meals from lunch on day 1 until breakfast on day 5, including farewell dinner in Caleta Tortel.
- Full camping equipment (two and three-people tents, inflatable mattress, kitchen equipment, etc.)
- Safety and emergency equipment, VHF radio, satellite telephone, complete first aid kit.
- Three nights camping and one night in B&B.
- Dinner and lodging the night prior to the start of the program
- Food in towns or villages except where mentioned in the itinerary
- Any additional costs incurred due to changes in times or itinerary that are out of the control of the company
- Personal expenses and equipment
- Travel insurance
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses