Lovers of the great outdoors will appreciate this inspiring 12-day journey through Patagonia's spectacular nature. Begin in lakeside Puerto Varas, then kayak through Reloncaví Fjord and savor a traditional lunch with a local family. Move on to Punta Arenas to explore the Strait of Magellan, visiting an island of Magellanic penguins. Finally, head to Puerto Natales to check out the famous Torres del Paine National Park and enjoy several more days of kayaking among glaciers and icebergs.


  • Take a scenic kayak journey through Reloncaví Fjord
  • Spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins as you visit Isla Magdalena
  • Gaze on the iconic rock formations of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Visit the awe-inspiring Serrano Glacier and paddle among its icebergs

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Transfer to Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 2 Kayak in Reloncaví Fjord (Day 1) Puerto Varas
Day 3 Kayak in Reloncaví Fjord (Day 2) Puerto Varas
Day 4 Transfer to Punta Arenas, Explore Punta Arenas
Day 5 Kayak to Cabo San Isidro on the Strait of Magellan Punta Arenas
Day 6 Visit the Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony Punta Arenas
Day 7 Bus to Puerto Natales, Explore Puerto Natales
Day 8 Full-Day Private Tour of Torres del Paine National Park Torres del Paine
Day 9 Kayak Lago & Río Grey Torres del Paine
Day 10 Kayak to Puerto Toro Bernardo O Higgins National Park
Day 11 Visit Serrano Glacier & Estancia Perales Puerto Natales
Day 12 Depart Patagonia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Transfer to Puerto Varas

The village of Puerto Varas
Scenic view of Puerto Varas
Welcome to Chile! Fly to Puerto Montt via Santiago, then transfer onward to the town of Puerto Varas. After dropping your luggage off at the hotel, enjoy a relaxing lunch and head out to explore this scenic spot on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. The town's mix of German architecture and Mapuche Indigenous cultural influence will surely charm you.

Day 2: Kayak in Reloncaví Fjord (Day 1)

Kayak Reloncaví Fjord [Day 1]
Enjoy a day of kayaking in Reloncaví Fjord

Start today with a morning departure from your hotel in Puerto Varas, driving 40 minutes east along the shore of Lago Llanquihue to Ensenada. This will be the base for today's kayaking excursion. Pick up your gear and choose between a single or tandem expedition, then begin your morning navigation with a calm paddle on the lower part of the Río Petrohué. Reaching the small village of Ralun, you'll be on brackish water in Reloncaví Fjord for the rest of the day.

Soon enough, it will be time for lunch, and there's a perfect spot for it on a peninsula with a small cove lined with green meadows. Señora Yolanda will welcome you to her family farm, and everyone will share a maté (an herbal tea beverage) around a wood stove. After enjoying a traditional lunch and some freshly-brewed coffee, you'll take a short tour around the woods before settling into camp for the night on her plot of land.

Day 3: Kayak in Reloncaví Fjord (Day 2)

Kayak Reloncaví Fjord [Day 2]
Another day of kayaking in Reloncaví Fjord
After breakfast with your host family, set out on a kayak again toward the famous small town of Cochamó, whose economy is based on the salmon and mussel industries. On your way, observe the Yate volcano and the surrounding snow-covered mountains. Depending on the tide level, you may have the chance to go up the river valley for a few miles before heading back to Puerto Varas. At the end of the route, your support vehicle will be waiting to return you to your accommodation. 

Day 4: Transfer to Punta Arenas, Explore

The charming coastal town of Punta Arenas
The charming coastal town of Punta Arenas

Transfer from Puerto Varas back to Puerto Montt, then take a flight to Punta Arenas, where a driver will be waiting to bring you to the city center. Founded in 1848 on the eastern shore of the Brunswick Peninsula, Punta Arenas was home to the best of Patagonian society in its heyday. Today, it's a popular tourist destination that provides easy access to some of Patagonia's most impressive natural attractions.

There are several interesting sites to explore here. One of these is the Plaza Muñoz Guerrero, a leafy central plaza that's the perfect starting point for a walk around the city. Tour the Palacio Sara Braun, one of the imposing mansions fronting the plaza, to get an idea of how much wealth the sheep trade generated in the 19th century. You could also visit the Reserva Nacional Magallanes, a 33,000-acre (13,355 ha) forested reserve known locally as the Parque Japonés. In the evening, watch the sun go down at Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. This viewpoint overlooks the city out to the Strait of Magellan

Day 5: Kayak to Cabo San Isidro on the Strait of Magellan

Kayaking in Patagonia
Spend the day kayaking to Cabo San Isidro

This morning, your kayaking guide will pick you up early and head roughly 45 miles (70 km) south of Punta Arenas to Cabo San Isidro. Here, prepare an oceanside breakfast and embark on a full-day kayaking trip surrounded by beaches, mountains, and forests on the shores of the world-famous Strait of Magellan. Start by getting comfortable with your gear and listening to a short safety briefing from your guide. Then begin kayaking, gaining practice before moving farther into the strait.

First, paddle toward the San Isidro Lighthouse, disembarking to explore a bit on land. You'll have many opportunities to observe the native birds and marine life. It's common to see sea lions and Peale's dolphins here: a true treat! After visiting San Isidro, continue to Bahía del Águila, a beautiful and serene bay along the strait where you'll enjoy a snack before making the return trip. Once back at the vehicle, stop for lunch and then return to Punta Arenas. 

Day 6: Visit the Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony

Visit a penguin colony on Magdalena Island
Visit a penguin colony on Isla Magdalena

This half-day tour begins bright and early in the morning. You'll transfer from downtown Punta Arenas by vehicle to a pier on the Strait of Magellan, at which point you'll board a vessel that will take you 18 miles (30 km) northeast to Isla Magdalena. On this island is Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, a protected area home to Chile's largest colony of penguins. First, though, travel to Isla Marta, home to a large colony of Patagonian sea lions. These aren't the only residents on this rocky outpost—you'll also find a number of seabirds, including cormorants, skuas, and arctic pigeons.

Soon you'll arrive at Isla Magdalena, where you'll disembark and spend an hour onshore, following a 2,624-foot (800 m) path to an old lighthouse that offers sweeping views of the Strait of Magellan. On your way, be sure to enjoy the company of the island's residents: a Magellanic penguin colony that can reach up to 170,000 in number. Afterward, it's time to return to the vessel and journey back, reaching Punta Arenas by midday.

Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 7: Bus to Puerto Natales, Explore

Puerto Natales' colorful waterfront
Puerto Natales' colorful waterfront
Take the bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, a small port city that is the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's far less touristic than many other Patagonian hubs and thus retains its air of small-town tranquility. Enjoy the town's simple pleasures, like strolling its waterfront promenade on the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Facing north from here, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro—the view is phenomenal at sunset. After your walk, check out one of the numerous restaurant options in town for dinner.

Day 8: Full-Day Private Tour of Torres del Paine National Park

The Paine River's Salto Grande waterfall
Marvel at the Paine River's Salto Grande waterfall
A guide will pick you up this morning as you embark on a journey around Torres del Paine National Park. Explore Torres del Paine's unique ecosystem and impressive viewpoints at your own pace. Throughout the day, you'll be transported to different areas of the park that serve as the perfect bases for viewing wildlife and stunning landscapes and embarking on some short hikes. Against the backdrop of the park's iconic horn-shaped peaks and glacial lakes, you'll enjoy a picnic lunch before being transferred to your accommodation in the evening.

Day 9: Kayak Lago & Río Grey

Kayak Lago & Rio Grey [Kayak Expedition Day 1]
Gear up and set out for a paddle of Lago and Río Grey

After breakfast, you'll be picked up by your kayaking guide and take a transfer to the shores of Lago Grey in Torres del Paine National Park. After gearing up and brushing up on safety, you'll set sail toward the mouth of the lake to an iceberg graveyard where chunks of ice that have broken off from Grey Glacier gather before melting. From here, enjoy spectacular views of the Paine massif, its western mountain range, and the famous Cuernos del Paine.

After getting comfortable with your kayak on the lake, begin descending onto the Río Grey. You'll start to face some more technical turns and an adventurous paddle through the rapids and canyons of the river and will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Sierra del Toro. Upon reaching the Grey Bridge, stop to replenish your energy and enjoy a picnic-style lunch. Afterward, continue paddling toward the confluence of the Río Serrano, where you'll meet with the support vehicle again at the Serrano Village and camp alongside the river for the night. 

Day 10: Kayak to Puerto Toro 

Paddling away from Torres del Paine
Paddling away from Torres del Paine
After loading the kayaks and going through a safety check, begin today's kayaking adventure by paddling to Salto del Río, an impressive waterfall. Portage your kayaks around the falls, then continue paddling along the mighty river toward the Serrano Glacier. Stop for lunch with a spectacular view of Tyndall Glacier and the Geike Mountains. Following lunch, slowly make your way closer to Mount Balmaceda, where the river joins with the waters of the Última Esperanza. Spend the night camping at Puerto Toro, where you'll enjoy a delicious dinner in the wild Patagonian forest.

Day 11: Visit Serrano Glacier & Estancia Perales

Navigating the ice
Navigate the ice of the Serrano Lagoon

Early in the morning, after a camp-side breakfast, portage your kayaks about 100 feet (30 m) from the Laguna Serrano, where the Serrano Glacier ends. Then spend the morning paddling alongside the blue icebergs broken off from the glacier.

At midday, embark on a larger boat that will take you back to Puerto Natales through the Ultima Esperanza Fjord. During this journey, you'll have the chance to enjoy incredible views of the Balmaceda Glacier before stopping at Estancia Perales for a traditional meal of Patagonian roasted lamb. Arrive back at Puerto Natales around 6 pm, and spend the evening relaxing at your leisure. 

Day 12: Depart Patagonia

Sunrise in Torres del Paine National Park
Sunrise in Torres del Paine National Park
Say goodbye to Patagonia today! A transfer will pick you up from your hotel at an agreed-upon time to take you to Puerto Natales' international airport, where you'll catch your flight to Santiago and then home. If no direct flight between Puerto Natales and Santiago is available, catch a connecting bus to Punta Arenas instead. ¡Buen viaje!

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Map of Chilean Patagonia for Kayakers - 12 Days
Map of Chilean Patagonia for Kayakers - 12 Days