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Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

Chile: Private Patagonia - Puerto Toro

Take your pick of adventures from this major ferry stop about three hours from Natales: Beach camp next to a private glacier or paddle to a gem lake.

by: Shannon Davis

PAGE 1 2
Peking Gererro, the country's only glacier owner (by Jorg Badura)
Peking Gererro, the country's only glacier owner (by Jorg Badura)
A zodiac ferries kayakers up the Serrano River. (Jorg Badura)
Photo by JAN13CHILE_JBadura_boat_5989_445x260
A zodiac ferries kayakers up the Serrano River. (Jorg Badura)
Hiking next to Lago Geike (Jorg Badura)
Photo by JAN13CHILE_JBadura_hiker_5885_445x260
Hiking next to Lago Geike (Jorg Badura)
Paddling dreamy Lago Azul (Jorg Badura)
Photo by JAN13CHILE_JBadura_kayak_JB37385_445x260
Paddling dreamy Lago Azul (Jorg Badura)

Kayak Lago Azul

We paddle southwest down the wide and slow Serrano River, beneath long wisps of clouds hugging the cliffy shore. Peach alpenglow lights the snowcapped peaks far above, and waterfalls bound like Slinkies from the glaciers. We’re heading five miles from Puerto Toro to Lago Azul (Blue Lake), an 1,100-acre pool just outside Torres Del Paine National Park.

At Lago Azul, cascades dotted with fuchsia flor de la cascada (waterfall plant) horsetail into the teal water from sheer cliffs where Andean condors roost. The west shore, near a small inlet, has the best camping options: sandy strips of beach near fresh water and banks of trees for windbreaks. Navigation is a breeze, the waters generally remain calm thanks to narrow passages with leeside protection, and rangers at Puerto Toro are never more than a day’s journey away, making this a great first foray into Patagonian paddling. No ice chunks here; only paradise.

Guide Antares Patagonia (see Trip Planner for additional info)
Cost $600/person for an overnight including ferry from Puerto Natales, all gear, and food


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