Caleta Tortel might be one of the most picturesque towns in Chile. It features 5 miles of boardwalks made from Ciprés de las Guaitecas (Pilgerodendron) winding through the fjords at the mouth of the Baker River, all nestled between the Northern and Southern Ice Fields.

The town has been declared a heritage site, with architecture that tells the story of the first settlers to arrive to the area. The settlers came from Chiloé and were known for their woodworking skills, especially with axes. In 1904, the «Baker Exploitation Society» (Sociedad Explotadora del Baker) began logging in the area, bringing along workers who settled in the basins of the Baker, Bravo, and Pascua rivers. Today, the houses’ facades, the beautiful shingles, and the smell of cypress make this town an unforgettable place for visitors.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

You can find many options for lodging, including bed and breakfasts, guest houses, campsites, and hostels. Get more information at:

Region

Tortel

Province

Capitán Prat

Population

509

Climate and Rainfall

Rainy and Cold Temperate Climate, 73 inches

Nearest National Park(s)

Bernardo O’Higgins National Park

Patagonia National Park

Laguna San Rafael National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Explore the city’s boardwalks and admire the landscapes and Tortel’s unique architecture.
  • Visit Isla de Los Muertos (Island of the Dead), located 2 miles from Caleta Tortel. The island has been declared a National Historical Monument. There, you’ll find 33 wooden crosses, which are vestiges of tombs dating from 1906, memorializing 120 workers from the Baker Exploitation Company.
  • Row or boat to the Steffen Glacier, found in the section of the Northern Ice Fields located in Laguna San Rafael National Park.
  • Row or boat to Jorge Montt Glacier, found in the section of the Southern Ice Fields located in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, 3.5 hours from Tortel.
  • Hike from the town parking lot to the Cerro Tortel lookout point for a beautiful view of the mouth of the Baker River and the Mitchell Fjord.

How to get

Caleta Tortel is located 287 miles south of Coyhaique and 78 miles from Cochrane along the Carretera Austral.

Bus routes are available some days of the week between Cochrane and Tortel. For more information, contact Buses Aldea (+5667263829).

Download here public transport itineraries in low season.

If you’re coming from Puerto Natales, you can take the ferry to Puerto Yungay. From Puerto Yungay, drive 82 miles north on the Carretera Austral, passing Cochrane and continuing on to Puerto Guadal.

Sky and LATAM Airlines offer daily flights to Balmaceda Airport, located 34 miles south of Coyhaique. At Balmaceda, you can rent a car or take a bus. The Carretera Austral is 7.5 miles west of Balmaceda.

Tips

  • Vehicles must be parked in the parking lot; the village must be explored on foot, along the boardwalks. To get to the lookout points, you’ll need to go up various staircases. We recommend taking along a lightweight backpack for carrying your things.
  • Most of the available lodging can be found in the Rinconada sector.
  • Austral Broom Ferries (www.tabsa.cl) offers routes between Puerto Yungay and Puerto Natales in a voyage that takes approximately 41 hours. Prior reservations are required. The ferry also stops in Puerto Edén.
  • Remember to bring cash.
  • There is cell service, but only for some phone companies (Entel).
  • In the “Hijo del Pionero” store, there is a “Caja Vecina” (rural bank service), as well as a place to add phone minutes. You can pay with card.

Basic Services

  • “Caja Vecina” (Rural Bank Services)
  • Rural Health Services
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Cell Service (Entel)
  • Police Station
  • Oficinas información Turística
  • Aerodrome (no commercial flights)
  • Conaf (Park Rangers)

Visitor’s Center

Address: Sector Rotonda S/N

Phone: +56962304879

Open year-round

Important Dates

  • The second week of February, the community holds its annual traditional festival, as well as a festival celebrating the Baker song.
  • Caleta Tortel was founded on May 28, 1955. The town holds an anniversary celebration each year.

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