Sailing to Laguna San Rafael

Fifteen hours’ sailing along intricate channels, next to imposing icebergs and ventisqueros of the National Park.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009  
Laguna San Rafael Laguna San Rafael (Photo:Turismo chile)

The renowned glacier faces and icebergs of Laguna San Rafael are one of the greatest attractions in Patagonia. There are several ways to access this National Park, located in the littoral area of Aysén and occupying part of the Taitao peninsula, in addition to an extensive continental sector at the level of Golfo de Penas. It is possible to fly over in small aircraft, walk in along the trail that will become the route through the Exploradores valley to the lake, or sail from Puerto Montt or Puerto Chacabuco.

The Laguna San Rafael National Park is the largest in the region and was declared a protected area in 1959. It covers an expanse of 1,742,000 hectares, of which more than a quarter corresponds to Campos de Hielo Norte, which has led it to being declared a World Biosphere Reserve since 1979.

The landscape within the Park is made up of channels, streams, rivers and lagoons, with mountains covered with exuberant vegetation, salient among which is Monte San Valentín, the highest peak of the Patagonian range. Excursions in zodiacs to the foot of the glacier faces are available. With luck it is possible to see the calving of huge pieces of the ice mass while enjoying a Scotch cooled with thousand-year-old ice.
 

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