Navimag Boat Trip

Puerto Montt Travel Blog

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My first solo trip was taking the Navimag ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. It’s a four day (three night) trip on a ferry boat for tourists and to shuttle goods. Its leaves once a week from the port at Puerto Montt on Fridays. Don’t expect the boat to leave on time though as there are usually issues with tides, other boats and weather.

 

I paid for a bed in a four birth room. I lucked out thought as it was low season so I only had to share the room with one other person and another girl. This was very handy as there was little room in move in each cabin to move let alone put things in there.

 

Over the four days the ferry navigates the Patagonian Channels in Chile. The scenery is beautiful although it does depend on the weather on how much you can see. Our captain told us a typical Patagonian saying which is that if is sunny in Patagonia enjoy it, but if its windy and rainy welcome to Patagonia!

The ferry stops in one small island on the way called Puerto Edén. This island is so isolated that only approx 120 people live on the island including the last surviving aboriginal people in the world, the Kawescar (or Alacalufe) people. They come to the boat to take of goods and place goods they make to be sold in Puerto Natales and Puerto Arenas.

We unfortunately didn’t get to see much wildlife as it’s we’re travelling into winter. All the whales and dolphins have moved north to warmer seas. We did however get to see some sea lions swimming alongside the ferry.

 

We also got some really nice days so could see a great deal of the coast line on the way. Our captain informed us that we had a fairly decent trip as some trips have cloud all the way. The captain of the boat was a lovely man who let us spend a lot of time in the control room. This meant we got to watch the crew navigate through some of the trickier small channels which was really interesting.

 

The boat I went on was particularly sociable with lots of young solo travellers. Which was great, as there are lots of times when you are resting in the main room cowering from the wind and rain. There are very few communal areas so you can’t help but get to know most people after the first day. You have to wait to the last day till the guide brings out the bingo set; they play on the fact that it’s the best bingo in Patagonia. In fact for us it was and definitely the night where we had the most fun.

 

One thing I would recommend to other people taking the trip is definitely take your own alcoholic drinks. You can buy them on the ferry but it’s much cheaper to pick some in a supermarket before. They don’t have a problem with you drinking your own drinks as long as you’re in moderation.

 

The Navimag ferry is that its expensive for the level of service you receive. If your looking for a cruise this is definitely not it! The food we got served was very poor, at times not even edible. Also be ware of sea sickness. On the second night the ferry hits the open water which is very rocky. The open sea can get winds up to sixty knots….like we did. Trying to watch a Bond movie while on a swaying boat is not easy!!! Everyone suffered that night.

 

However its a fantastic opportunitely to see the Patigonia coast and see how the landscape changes in such an isolated place in the world. Having done it I wouldnt have missed the boat trip for anything.

 

Once you arrive in Puerto Natales you can easily catch a taxi to your destination only costing $1.000 CLP. However if you have a map nothing is very far so you can walk to most destinations.  We got a taxi as there were six of us so it made it dirt cheap.

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Puerto Montt
photo by: wendermilliken