There were no roads to Caleta Tortel until 2003; thus, settlers and visitors relied on the mighty Baker River to arrive. Recreate this historic tradition, by traveling the final kilometers to Caleta Tortel, aboard a wooden, locally-crafted launch. The luxury of having your luggage transported to the dock closest to your lodging, is a welcome bonus!
Before 2003 there were no roads connecting Caleta Tortel with the rest of Chile; the Baker River was the main transportation corridor for both residents and visitors and the docks spread throughout the Caleta were the hub of the town’s activity. In just a little over a decade, the existence of the Carretera Austral has created a totally different scenario.
Caleta Tortel is a magical little pueblo suspended above the southern Aysén fjords and strategically located at the mouth of the mighty Baker River. Its houses and stores and walkways are all crafted of aromatic cypress of the Guaitecas and attached to the face of the Bandera Mountain. The village sprang up with the boom of timbering activity for this special cypress that is extremely water resistant and valuable. During the first half of the twentieth century the estancias in Patagonia used cypress posts to erect their enormous fences that extended for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers. The majority of these posts were extracted from the Baker – O’Higgins Area of Aysén; in fact, demand was so high that it almost led to this native tree’s extinction.
Reservations: If you are interested in this experience, you should contact a captain and arrange you reservation, in advance. Captains include:
o Artemio Ruiz, Rincón Sector s/n; email@example.com.
o Claudio Landeros, Expediciones Patagonia Landeros, Playa Ancha Sector s/n; (09) 77042651; firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Noel Vidal Landeros, Centro Sector s/n; (09) 95995730 – 95793779; email@example.com; www.entrehielostortel.cl.
o Rene Vargas, Steffen Adventura, Centro Sector s/n; firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Jorge Arratia, Transporte Arratia, Sector Rincón Alto s/n; email@example.com.
o Miguel Jara, Mate Amargo, Playa Ancha Sector; (09) 56379774.