Why Should I Visit The Chilean Fjords?

by on 10th April, 2020



The magnificent Chilean fjords stretch down the south west coast of South America. They start in the Reloncavi Sound near Puerto Montt and finish at the end of the continent in Cape Horn. As the crow flies, this is a distance of well over 1,500 km. This length would be equivalent to a jagged coastline stretching from London to Gibraltar, Cairns to Sydney or New York to Miami.

The fjords are narrow and very deep sea inlets created by glacial activity that happened millions of years ago. The Chilean fjords are found in a magnificent Patagonian setting of remote mountains, ice fields, lakes, islands, glaciers, channels and bays.

This part of Chile has a very low population and it is a beautiful part of the country unspoiled and mostly untouched.


Why visit the Chilean Fjords?

If you are looking for spectacular beauty away from the crowds then the Chilean Fjords are certainly the destination for you.

There are National Parks where world renowned conservation work is being carried out such as Pumalin Park and Patagonia Park.

If you are interested in flora and fauna the region has much to offer.

The flora has many native species such as Magellanic beech and Chilean myrtle which can reach up to 20 m. Other species include Antarctic beech, Chilean rhubarb and many types of fern.

The fauna is also very varied and includes the puma, mountain cats, guanacos and south Andean deer. Birds include Black-chested buzzard eagle, the Andean condor, many sorts of falcons, Black-faced ibis, American rhea, hummingbirds, kingfishers and more.

There are many opportunities for adventure: sail the deep waters, trek incredible trails, visit remote glaciers or simply marvel at nature, mostly untouched by man.

From a historical and cultural perspective, there is much to be learned following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin.

Chilean Fjord , Patagonia

Remote fjord


Highlights of the Chilean Fjords

There are many highlights, here we can name just a few.

  • Reloncavi Sound – easily accessible from Puerto Montt. Beautiful setting with great opportunities for kayak.
  • Quitralco – only accessible by sea this fjord has stunning steep sided valley walls, its Mapuche name means “water of fire”.
  • Calvo – Surrounded by pristine nature this fjord stretches 25 km into the Andes mountains.
  • Quintupeu – in the South, surrounded by larch forests and waterfalls, a place of singular beauty.
  • Last Hope Sound – Puerto Natales sits on this sound and is the gateway to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers as well as the Torres del Paine National Park. Come here for boats trips, barbeques, horse-riding, kayaking and the best trekking in Chile.
  • The Beagle Channel – this is an area of spectacular natural beauty. The channel is flanked by mountains , glaciers and steeped in the history of early explorations and Charles Darwin.
  • Cape Horn – the end of the world. Southernmost top of the South American continent, accessible only by boat.


Ways to vist

One of the best ways to visit the Chilean fjords is by sea. There are many cruises on offer, most lasting three or four days. Some offer a circuit starting and finishing at one port such as the Skorpios II out of Puerto Montt and the Skorpios III out of Puerto Natales. Others such as the Australis cruises will transport you between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia by way of Cape Horn.

Another option is the world’s most spectacular ferry ride aboard the new Navimag ferry, the Esperanza. This sails between Puerto Natales and Puerto Montt with weekly departures in the high season offering a no frills service – just incredible panoramas.

You could choose instead, or in combination, a self drive holiday. We can organise a good 4wd vehicle for you and set up a route – this allows you to travel at your own pace and explore exactly the places you wish to see – do ask us for advice.

There are also all-inclusive packages at selected hotels such as Terra Luna. Select a trip like this if you would like to be based on one main area. All meals, transfers and activities are part of the package.

Or why not look at a combination of all the above in a special tailor made Chilean fjords holiday.

Australis cruise ship, Chile Fjord, Patagonia

Cruise in fjords


Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Chilean fjords is during the Austral summer months between September and April. The climate is variable at any time of year due to the geography and location. You can find details in out Patagonia weather blog.

Cruises only operate during the summer months (September to April) and most hotels and infrastructure only open then. However, some of the more popular destinations such as the Torres del Paine do offer some all year round options.

Whenever you decide to go you will be assured an incredible experience. Get in touch with us to start planning your Chilean fjords adventure.


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