Reasons to go
- It is totally unique. Nowhere else in Patagonia do you leave your car at the entrance to the town!
- Walk the 15 kilometres of boardwalks along the milky-blue Tortel bay
- Tourism is only just starting to flourish, so you can immerse yourself in Aysen culture in traditional lodging and restaurants
- Sandwiched between the Northern and Southern Icefields, you have easy access to glaciers
Things to do
Self-guided hikes - A number of trails wind around the hillside from Caleta Tortel, the most famous being a half-day circular hike to Cerro Bandera, where you'll have fantastic views of the Baker River and Tortel Bay. Boardwalks cover the boggiest ground, but if there has been heavy rainfall then waterproof boots are recommended. Listen out for frogs enjoying the wet climate.
Katalalixar National Reserve - A wilderness archipelago, cloaked in forests, and only accessible by boat. Katalalixar is suspended between the northern and southern Patagonian ice fields, and the lack of tourist facilities means you'll have the islands all to yourself.
Isla de los Muertos - A short boat ride from Caleta Tortel is a tiny, beautiful island with a dark history. Among the ferns and dense trees are 59 wooden crosses, commemorating workers who were building roads here in 1905. Their company promised them a boat home for the winter, when temperatures plummet. Winter arrived, but no boat came, stranding 200 workers here with little food, shelter, and battling a hostile climate. A quarter of the men died, some as young as 15. The island is now a national monument.
North and south Patagonian ice fields
North Patagonian ice field - Day trips by boat from Caleta Tortel can take you through the fjords to Steffan Glacier, passing huge forested islands with waterfalls and abundant flora and fauna. The closer you get to the glacier, the more the water will become peppered with crystal icebergs, drifting downstream.
South Patagonian ice field - This is the third largest extension of continental ice in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland. 49 glaciers descend from it, some of which you can visit by boat from Caleta Tortel. Trips last from one to three days, which you'll spend exploring the fjords, navigating around icebergs and even walking on the ice.
Don’t bring your suitcase. All traffic parks at the top of the village where the road ends and, from here, you access your accommodation on foot. There are many steps and even the flat sections are all wooden boardwalks which are not at all suitcase friendly.
Where to stay
Entre Hielos Lodge
It's totally worth the climb up the wooden stairway that weaves through the rainforest up to Entre Hielos Lodge for such a peaceful stay at this comfortable guest house with jungle views. Surrounded by native rainforest, rooms are cosy with walls made of warm coloured Guaitecas Cypress wood and all have comfortable beds with thick down duvets, en suite bathrooms and central heating. The lodge offers several excursions, including boat rides down the Baker River and visits to nearby glaciers. You can have dinner at the lodge's own restaurant, providing typical Patagonian dishes made with local ingredients.
Trips that visit Caleta Tortel
From Ushuaia to Valparaiso, journey north through a huge network of fjords and channels. Explore the highlights of this region via Zodiac including huge glaciers and migratory wildlife and birdlife. Witness outstanding viewpoints, visits to small coastal communities from the…
Discover more of Aysen
Remote, diverse, and stunningly beautiful, Aysen is a destination for those seeking the best of Patagonia without the crowds. With glaciers, mountains, rivers and rainforest, and …
A land of untamed wilderness and isolated communities, Aysen hasn't always been the easiest of places to get to and travel around. However, much has changed over the past few …
Where to go in Aysen
Aysen is a land of three contrasting terrains: the steppe, the glaciated Andes and the coastal temperate rainforest. You don't have to stray far off the Carretera Austral to …
Hiking in Aysen
Dramatic snow-capped mountains, glistening glacial lakes and lush forested valleys make for superb trekking in this unsung region. Explore the fantastic hiking routes in Aysen's …
Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
Why not let us do the hard work for you? Our team of experts will work with you to design a 2–3 week adventure to your exact requirements, from hiking and horse-riding trips to wine-tasting tours and undiscovered lodges.
We’ll work around your budget and arrange flights, transfers and buses, to create your perfect trip.