Chilean Patagonia is most famously knows for Torres del Paine National Park. However, there are other places outside of Torres del Paine that is a part of Patagonia. The Patagonian Fjords and the Serrano glacier along with the Balmaceda glacier, in my opinion are also places that you should visit when in this region. This post covers how to visit the fjords of Patagonia on what I think is one of the best day trips you can do in Patagonia.
How to Visit the Fjords of Patagonia
The best way to visit the fjords of Patagonia is to book a day trip. There are several companies who offer day tours. While I can’t speak to all of them, I can speak to the one I took. I would rank this as the best organized tour I have ever taken!
I booked with a company called Denomades but the tour is actually run by a local company called Turismo 21 de Mayo. Denomades runs several tours in and around Chile and is highly rated. I think booking through either is perfectly fine. The cost is the same.
HERE is the site for Turismo 21 de Mayo. They also have an office in Puerto Natales.
What to Expect
The day is spent sailing through the fjords of Patagonia. Also called the Ultima Esperanza Fjord. These fjords are breathtaking! Snow capped mountains, aqua waters, waterfalls cascading through lush vegetation and rainbows are frequent sights on the tour. But the highlights of the tour are the visits to the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers. These glaciers are a part of the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest mass of ice on the American Continent. After visiting the glaciers, we were taken to an estancia, which is essentially a ranch, for a delicious 4 course meal.
Tour in Detail
The tour starts at the Turismo 21 de Mayo office in Puerto Natales at 7 a.m. After presenting yourself at the office, they take you by bus or van to the pier where the boat takes off. The sights are stunning from the get go! There were snow capped mountains everywhere and waterfalls were also very common. We were advised to stay inside the boat as the wind (this Patagonian wind I tell ya!) was not the calmest that day. But the captain did stop at multiple places so that we could get to the deck and take pictures.
The crew on the trip were amazing! They served us hot beverages and snacks. There was an open beverage “bar” where you could get hot beverages throughout the tour and navigation for free.
The first big stop was at this stunning double waterfall. The wind was making the water of the bigger one of the two to fall sideways. We stopped here for some time to take pictures and take the views in.
The Balmaceda Glacier was the second major stop on the tour. The only way to really see this hanging glacier is by boat. The captain stopped the boat so that we could get out to the deck and see the glacier and take pictures.
The third big stop was the Serrano Glacier. In order to see this glacier, we had to dock the boat at an entrance to Bernardo O’Higgins National Park and hike for about 20 minutes. It was an easy hike full of beautiful scenery. I loved seeing chucks of ice bobbing in the water. After about 20 minutes, we came to a lookout point that got us close to the Serrano Glacier. The glacier was breathtaking but unfortunately it started raining and I couldn’t get clearer pictures. Despite the rain, we were still able to spend time admiring the glacier.
Whiskey with Glacier Ice
Once inside the boat, we got an opportunity to have a glass of whiskey with glacier ice. It was pretty cool!
Lunch was at an estancia or ranch. The food was so delicious! We had bread, soup, salad, a main and dessert. There was also a glass of wine included for free with the option to purchase more if needed. The main dish was lamb, sausage and potatoes. I’m not a big fan of red meat but I can tell you that this was the best lamb I had ever eaten!
After lunch, we sailed back to Puerto Natales through the fjords. Overall, this was my favorite day in Patagonia and the best day trip of my visit to this area.
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Water! The color just amazing!
Thank you so much! the beauty of nature 🙂
Spectacular scenery. Are the glaciers retreating at the moment, as they are in many other places round the world.
Isn’t it? So beautiful! I read that the glaciers in the Southern Ice Fields were amongst the fastest melting in the world today 🙁