Laguna san rafael tours

Laguna san rafael tours DEFAULT

Catamaran sailing through the San Rafael lagoon 13 hours

  • Departure: 07:15
  • Duration: 13 hours
  • Includes: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Pickup: Hotel Loberías del Sur in Puerto Chacabuco
  • Dropoff: Hotel Loberías del Sur

What you will visit:

  • 1Laguna San Rafael National Park
  • 2Carretera Austral Sur
  • 3Puerto Chacabuco

We leave from the Hotel Loberías del Sur, located in Puerto Chacabuco at 07:15 a.m. to do the check in. Then we board the catamaran and have breakfast on board. We will sail around 5 hours in the direction of Laguna San Rafael National Park. The route is characterized by its imposing nature of native forests that merge into the sea. We  are going to sail through fjords and channels of Chilean Patagonia, while enjoying a delicious aperitif on the catamaran.

Lunch on board.

We are going to be able to witness the Tres Cruces gulf and the Estuario Elefante. The catamaran makes a stop in a bay where there is a colony of sea lions.

We will continue advancing and find icebergs that indicate that we are already in the Laguna San Rafael National Park, until we reach the San Rafael Glacier, where we will climb a zodiac and we will approach about 300 meters from the ice massif. There we can see how ice that have thousands of years are shed.

After 2 hours, we will return to our place of origin sailing through the channels of Patagonia to the Hotel Loberías del Sur, in Puerto Chacabuco.

  • Physical
  • Cultural
  • Nature
  • Nightlife
  • Catamaran sailing
  • Full board food: breakfast, snacks, lunch, cocktail and open bar
  • Whiskey with millenary ice
  • Life insurance
  • Guide
NOT Included
  • Transfers to reach Puerto Chacabuco. It is suggested to sleep the night before in the same sector.
  • Everything that was not mentioned in the Itinerary.


Clothing for cold days (parka, polar, cap), Warm clothing (windbreaker, jacket), camera



Get onboard at Puerto Chacabuco and set off towards Laguna San Rafael to be part of an adventure to one of the last natural wonders of the world.

Sailing through the channels of Chilean Patagonia, discover the native forests merging with the sea in a stunning spectacle. Sail the 125 nautical miles onboard the Aysén or Chaitén catamaran rough Patagonian channels, green islands and lush natural fjords, ending your trip at the foot of the San Valentin glacier, where the spectacular breaking up of ice-sheets, sends ice floes into the Laguna San Rafael

Live this experience from the comfort of our modern catamaran and its maximum safety, along with our renowned onboard service.

Hotel Loberías del Sur


  • Catamaran ticket (without an assigned seat)
  • Food services: Breakfast, cocktail, lunch, hot chocolate and tea service and an open bar (on the return journey)
  • Trip on inflatable boats through the ice of Laguna San Rafael (subject to weather conditions)
  • Whisky with millenary ice
  • Check out our general service conditions
  • Review our modification and cancelations policy


Level 1
First 40 Spaces
Level 2
Spaces from 41 to 90
Level 3
Spaces from 91+
ADULT (from 12 to 59 years)USD$245USD$290USD$350
SENIOR CITIZEN (60 + years)USD$220USD$260USD$315
CHILD (from 4 to 11 years)USD$120USD$145USD$175

Senior citizens* From 60 years old
Children** From 4 to 11 years, 11 months.
Under 4’s do not pay (for security reasons, children under 4 years of age will not be able to go down to navigate in Zodiac boats and must remain on board the Catamaran under the care of an adult).

Low Season: Apply level 1, 2 and 3
Mid Season: Apply level 2 and 3
High Season: Apply level 3

Season 2021

April 05th to September 12th
March 01st to April 04th September 13th to December 26th
January 01st to February 28th and December 27th to 31th


  • Rates during low season (levels 1 and 2) subject to availability for the date of service
  • Full Day Laguna San Rafael Tour Service does NOT consider the transfer to/from Puerto Chacabuco
  • Rates per person


Laguna San Rafael Full Day Trip

7amCheck in at Hotel Loberias del Sur
8amSet sail
8:15amBreakfast on board
9:30amGuided informative talks
1:30pmArrival at Laguna San Rafael
2pmInflatable boat trips begin
3pmToast with millenary ice and open bar
4pmTea service
8pmArrival at Puerto Chacabuco and check out

Salidas Regulares

Año 2021-2021

  1. Debby ryan 2014
  2. Costco car rental seattle
  3. Private internet access countries
  4. Moroccan ottoman pouf
  5. Decorative glass vases

Laguna San Rafael

Glaciar San Rafael is the glacier closest to the equator reaching the sea. It descends from the northern Patagonian ice field into a Pacific fjord. Although it has decreased considerably in the past decades, it still stretches for about 120 kilometres and reaches up to 60 metres in height and 3 kilometres in length. Huge icebergs in all shades of blue float in the lagoon - certainly a highlight of any trip to Chile.

You have 3 options for visiting the Laguna San Rafael:

1.     with Skorpios on a multi-day boat tour starting in Puerto Montt

2.     off Puerto Chacabuco on one day with the catamaran "Chaitén"

3.     with small expedition boats starting at Bahía Exploradores

Day trip starting in Puerto Chacabuco

Organizer: Loberías del Sur

Ship: Catamaran “Chaitén”

Season: all year round

Travel dates: Jan/Feb 4x a week, March/Apr and Aug-Dec 3x a week, May-July 1-2x a week

Duration: 13-14 hours

Capacity: 95 passengers

Depending on weather conditions.

Price: starting from 200,000 Chilean pesos (approx. 300 USD per person)

Includes: Breakfast, cocktail, lunch, hot beverages, open bar (return trip), whisky or pisco with thousand-year-old ice, dinghy trip to the glacier

7 am Check-in at Puerto Chacabuco

8 am Departure

Breakfast, Lectures, Cocktail, Lunch

1.30 pm Arrival at the lagoon San Rafael

2 pm rubber dinghy tour

3 pm return journey

Tea and snacks, open bar

8-9 pm Return to Puerto Chacabuco

Expedition boat off Bahía Exploradores

Organizer: Destino Patagonia

Ships: Cabin inflatable boats "Sisu" and "La Resistencia"

Season: September to May

Travel dates: flexible, as needed, minimum 4 passengers

Duration: 8 hours

Capacity: 10-12 passengers

Depending on weather conditions.

Price: approx. 230 USD per person

Transport: starting in Puerto Río Tranquilo: approx. 23 USD p.p.

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, coffee and tea, whisky with thousand-year-old ice, insurance, park entrance fee.

9.30 am Embarking at Bahía Exploradores (approx. 2 hours drive from Puerto Tranquilo)

12 pm Arrival in the lagoon San Rafael, short shore leave at the park ranger station (restrooms), visit the ruins of Hotel Ofqui

1pm Drive to the glacier wall, lunch and whisky with glacier ice

2.30 Return trip

5pm Return to Bahía Exploradores

Non-binding inquiry


Boat Trip to Laguna San Rafael National Park & San Rafael Glacier

Enjoy stunning views on Laguna San Rafael

47 miles (77 km) west of the Patagonian lakeside town of Puerto Río Tranquilo lies Bahía Exploradores (Explorers Bay). This bay sits at the western end of Valle Exploradores (Explorers Valley), which is situated at the confluence of the Exploradores, Oscuro, and La Teresa rivers at Laguna San Rafael. The entire valley is notable for its temperate forests and rich exotic wildlife, including pudus and pumas. This day's excursion involves making the trip here by vehicle before connecting to a boat for an excursion on the lake. An expert guide will provide a brief safety lesson before embarking on the water.

Thus begins an easy route through the delta of the Exploradores River, which is surrounded by stunning Patagonian scenery. After about 2.5 hours, the boat will reach LagunaSan Rafael National Park and the San Rafael Glacier. There will be ample time to enjoy the views and snap photos of the floating blocks of ice and wide variety of wildlife that's commonly visible, including marine otters, sea lions, black-necked swans, and condors. The excursion includes a box lunch, and imbibers can also sip a glass of whiskey chilled with ice from a nearby glacier boasting millions of years of history. 

Itineraries with Boat Trip to Laguna San Rafael National Park & San Rafael Glacier

Marble Caves & Carretera Austral - 5 Days

Chile is chock-full of distinct natural wonders. Case in point, the otherworldly marble caves of the unspoiled Aysén region, in Chilean Patagonia. On this five-day jaunt, you'll visit these geological formations, along with massive glaciers and marine life in Laguna San Rafael National Park. Round out the adventure with a night in Santiago for a dose of cosmopolitan cuisine and culture.


Rafael tours san laguna

Patagonian Fjords Expedition Cruises. With the aim of guaranteeing our passengers a fast and efficient service, we would like to draw your attention to the following norms since April 15th, 2013 (any past norm is obsolete).

• The cruise ticket contains and certifies the conditions in the agreement between the passenger and Naviera y Turismo Skorpios S.A., hereon “SKORPIOS” or “the Company” which is ruled under the dispositions of the III Book of the Commerce of the Republic of Chile.
• The published rates could be modified at the discretion of SKORPIOS, making any previous rates obsolete. If any passenger has already paid his/her cruise ticket and there is a modification in the rates before the sailing, this modification will not apply for this specific passenger, and SKORPIOS will honor the given rate.
• The passenger, who does not present him/herself on time and place specified on the ticket, based on any reason including fortuitous or major force cases or circumstances, will be under his/her responsibility and it is not allowed to complain to SKORPIOS. There will not be any indemnity or refund of the amount paid.
• SKORPIOS may delay the sailing for up to 24 hours due to bad weather or unforeseen major force circumstances. If these circumstances
maintain in time, the Company may cancel the cruise, returning the amount paid for the cruise portion only. The passenger will not have any right to other indemnities or payments of any sort.
• The passenger, cannot change his/her designated cabin number which is indicated on the passenger’s ticket, apart from exists cabins available and he/she pays inmediately the rate difference before formalize the cabin change.
• Passengers could cancel or modify their cruise with the following reimbursement plan:

120 days prior to departure, no penalty, 100% refund.
Between 120 and 60 days prior to departure, USD200 per person penalty will apply.
Between 59 and 50 days prior to departure, 20% penalty will apply.
Between 49 and 40 days prior to departure, 40% penalty will apply.
Between 39 and 30 days prior to departure, 60% penalty will apply.
Between 29 and 16 days prior to departure, 80% penalty will apply.
Between 15 and 0 days prior to departure, 100% penalty will apply.

Passenger’s cancellations must be informed by e-mail, fax or telephone and re-confirmed in written by certified air mail, in the same day of the first advice, being the letter signed by the buyer, the only valid document for the cancellation. The corresponding refund will be applied within 30 working days since the date of the cancellation advice.

• The cruise ticket may be re-issued or passed on to another person by the owner of the ticket, when prior notice is given to SKORPIOS in written and signed document, by the owner of the ticket, up to a period of five (05) working days before the sailing date. Beside the written communication, the ticket endorsement should be certified with the original passenger’s signature, showing name, identity number and the new passenger’s details. If the payment of the cruise has been done by hire payment, both original and new passengers will be responsible of the final and complete payment agreed.
• SKORPIOS offers safe-keeping on board free of charge. Not use this service release to SKORPIOS of any responsibility above all any loss.
• Each passenger is responsible of carrying all documentation needed, being this documentation as usual requested for chilean or foreign
• SKORPIOS can prevent the embarkation of any passenger that, at the Company’s judgment, could disrupt the wellbeing of the rest of the
• The general medical service on board is free of charge, as well as the basic infirmary supplies. Specific medications are of exclusive responsibility of each passenger. At the same time, is his/her exclusive responsibility taking care his/her meal and/or drink restrictions based on his/her medical restrictions. SKORPIOS only can makes basic adjustment meals informed by the passengers without major change or alterations of the regular cruise meal menus.
• It is absolutely forbidden for any passenger to carry any time of weapon or hazardous objects, passengers could be disembarked by the
Captain without any right to complain.
• It is absolutely forbidden the use and consumption of any type of drug and/or similar. If suggested by the Captain, the passenger could be disembarked to guarantee the tranquility and safety of the rest of the passengers, without responsibility for SKORPIOS or any type of refund.
• Pets and animals are not allowed on board any SKORPIOS boat.
• Every passenger is obliged to follow every rule and norm passed by SKORPIOS, related to the transportation of passengers and their goods, as well as observing the Captain’s orders during the navigation and excursions.
• Every passenger must read and follow the instructions and rules of safety issued on board and in every cabin, understanding that every safety measure starts by taking care of oneself; not putting oneself in danger, mental or physical; during the navigation and/or excursions of board.
• Tips are not included in the ticket fare. Those passengers who wish to express their gratitude in this way should give the tip to the Captain in a sealed envelope. The Captain will, according to the SKORPIOS tradition, share it amongst the members of the crew. We suggest USD 50 per passenger.
• SKORPIOS reserves the right to cancel a cruise if not fulfills the minimum of required passengers to make the trip, with up to 30 days before the departure date. In this event, the Company shall first relocation to another Skorpios cruise, covering the costs of re-issue of air tickets or accommodation on another airline, budget and approval by Skorpios Cruises will be mandatory. If the passenger is not satisfied with all these solutions that SKORPIOS offers, SKORPIOS will proceed with a reimburse of the rate already prepaid by the passenger to SKORPIOS based on the cruise rate only, is not entitled to other compensation, or claim payment to the passenger.
• Children’s safety on board is of exclusive responsibility of their parents, who should bear for their control and care in every moment.
• SKORPIOS Cruises reserves the right to include photographic and other visual portrayals of passengers in SKORPIOS Cruises advertising and promotional materials.
• The excessive consumption of food and beverages, food allergies or medical indications are of exclusive responsibility of each passenger.
• In case of death of the passenger before board the ship, the cruise ticket could be endorsement to any other passengers, or ask for refund, based on the table previously informed.
• The rate of the transfers, from/to Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales airports will be rendered based on formal requests of every passenger and per current tariff, having in mind many of them would be on group with SKORPIOS’ passengers only. If any passenger demands a private and/or exclusive transfer, reservation in advance is an obligation. The request must be asked to SKORPIOS and/or your travel agent, based on current tariff as well.
• SKORPIOS Cruises is not responsible of any delays in case of general strike, delays/cancellations airlines flights, earthquakes, tsunami or any other reason without exception, not attributable to SKORPIOS, because all passengers are responsable of their presentation in the pier for their boarding, as per information mentioned in their cruise tickets where indicates dates and time as well.
• SKORPIOS has Accident Insurance for all its passengers. The cover amounts are:

Accident Insurance, medical, pharmacy and hospital assistance until USD 10,000.-
Emergency Transfer insurance until USD 8,000.-
Chance Death insurance of USD 38,000.-
Permanent Disqualification by Legal Desclaimer with an upper limit of USD 30,000.-
Those items are included without extra costs inside the rate of your cruise ticket. (Our insurance applies after your individual or health insurance, and they have limits in their coverage for special situations that they include 8 or more people).

• SKORPIOS may change the itinerary and navigation track due to weather conditions or unforeseen major force circumstances, this will be determined exclusively by the Captain of the ship and the passenger will not have any right to other indemnities or payments of any sort. Patagonian Fjords Expedition Cruises.

Tour Laguna San Rafael 2020
San Rafael Glacier & Lagoon visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit

If you’re planning a trip to Patagonia, chances are you’ve heard of Perito Moreno, Argentina’s constantly advancing glacier.

Well think of San Rafael Glacier as its little brother, only more difficult to reach so more adventurous and way less touristy.

One of the largest glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice field in southern Chile, you can only access San Rafael from the water. This gives rise to the opportunity for a mini cruise through Chilean fjords to witness spectacular scenery few other visitors get a chance to see.

Located a few hours away by catamaran from Puerto Chacabuco, visiting San Rafael Glacier and lagoon is a wonderful way to explore Patagonia’s Aysén Region from this unique perspective.

The fjords, glaciers and magnificent scenery of Chilean Patagonia attract visitors to this vast wilderness every year. And you can roll it all into this one trip.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Laguna San Rafael & glacier.

Visiting San Rafael Glacier & Laguna in Chilean Patagonia

San Rafael Glacier Facts

  • The glacier is located within the San Rafael National Park, the largest in the Aysén Region of southern Chile.
  • The national park covers almost 4 million acres and includes the entire Northern Patagonian Ice Field.
  • The ice field has many glaciers, the largest 2 being San Quintin and San Rafael, both falling into the Pacific Ocean.
  • The glacier is about 70 metres tall and about 4 kilometres long, disappearing into the Patagonian Ice Cap beyond the horizon.
  • The face of the glacier is deceptively wide – 2 kilometres!
  • Increasing global temperatures has seen San Rafael Glacier retreat on a significant scale – 12 kilometres in less than 150 years. 
  • San Rafael is under such threat, scientists reckon it’ll have disappeared by 2030.
Zodiac with passengers sailing towards the blue face of San Rafael Glacier

The Aysén Fjord Cruise

The interior seating arrangement on the catamaran is a bit like being on an aeroplane. Rows of seats with limited leg room and drop down tables attached to the seat in front.

Only the windows are much bigger, the views infinitely more spectacular and you can go outside!

We loved this part of the tour. After the onboard breakfast, we ventured out on deck. Wrapped up warm, the biting wind still made its presence felt.

But the views kept us from retreating indoors. 

The dark waters of the deep fjord cut through the steep sides of the snow capped mountains. We’d glimpse an occasional seal, bobbing up from the depths to check us out.

The morning sun, breaking through ill-boding clouds, spilled golden rays onto lush forest covered islands.

In awe, we sipped bubbles from champagne flutes held in our gloved hands. This indeed felt like luxury in a crazy, idyllic setting.

We spent the next few hours gawping at the views, trying to spot seals, dolphins and birds.

moody grey skies above the mounatins surround the Aysén fjords of Chilean Patagonia
moody grey skies above the mounatins surround the Aysén fjords of patagonia

Zodiac Cruising in Laguna San Rafael

After a decent lunch, the catamaran approached the entrance to Laguna San Rafael. The water here looks rough but the catamaran’s stability ensure we hardly feel a wave.

A sharp left, sharp right and one more left, and we’ve safely navigated into the Laguna San Rafael and the glacier comes into view.

Icebergs litter the lake, their bright blue crevices contrasting against the grey skies above. These are the first icebergs we’ve seen and we’re awed.

We continue sailing towards the glacier, emptying itself into the lagoon. We pass high cliffs, years painted in large numbers to show where the face of the glacier once was.

A small tour boat with a a few passengers sails towards the face of a glacier through brash ice

It didn’t take long to sail past a few decades, a sad reminder of the impact climate change is having on the world around us.

Our pilot manoeuvred the boat as close to the glacier face as he dared – so not close at all really. Then, seat by seat, the passenger were called to climb aboard the inflatable zodiac boats.

Once onboard, we motored through the brash ice, getting ever closer to the looming blue wall ahead. 

At sea level, we still didn’t feel too close. Which was just as well, for calving icebergs were falling thick and fast, creating some intimidating waves.

The zodiac’s pilot retrieved a large piece of ice. Over 1000 years old, with air bubbles from that age still trapped within it. 

No point in dumping it back into the ocean though. We can put this ice to good use!

2 zodiacs full of passengers are dwarfed by the massive blue walls of San Rafael glacier in Patagonia's northern Ice Cap

Whisky On The Rocks!

Back onboard, we rid ourselves of the extra layers. The mood is high, everyone ecstatic at what we’d experienced.

The bar is opened. Chipped from the block, ice is loaded into tumblers and the whisky is poured! 

And with that, a toast to something we couldn’t figure out and a 2nd round, the drinks flowed and the party began.

The journey back to Puerto Chacabuco felt considerably quicker than the outbound leg. 

Perhaps because we were having such fun at the karaoke party, and making sure that ice wasn’t wasted.

But all too soon, 14 hours had flown by. A catamaran full of passengers had made friends over drinks, dancing and music. We’d taken an incredible cruise through Chilean fjords and witnessed our first ever iceberg calving from the face of glacier.

Well worth every penny!

A boat dwarfed by the edge of San Rafael glacier in Patagonia

How To Get To San Rafael Glacier

You need some commitment and deep pockets to experience the San Rafael Glacier. Those willing to take the time and lucky enough to get a ticket, will be rewarded with an adventurous story to dine out on for years. Here’s how to get to Laguna San Rafael and glacier.

A iceberg floating in San Rafael lagoon with green forest behind it

A Day Trip From Puerto Chacabuco On a Catamaran

This is how we visited the glacier and you’ll know from reading this article, we loved every minute of it. 

The total journey takes around 14 hours and costs about between CLP 150000 and CLP 215000 per person. All costs on board are included. Food and drink is covered and they’re not shy with the measures on the return leg either!

At the exchange rates at the time of writing, that’s about US $190 to US $275 or GBP £155 to GBP £225.

The cheapest way to buy tickets is to book well in advance directly with Loberias del Sur hotel. The first 40 seats sell for the lowest price and prices go up after that.

We managed to buy 2 of the last 4 seats available the day before for CLP 200000 each when we arrived at the hotel. Not the cheapest way to do it but we couldn’t guarantee our arrival day so had limited choice.

A sip and a zodiac in front of the glacier surrounded by brash ice

How To Get To Puerto Chacabuco

If you’re driving the Carretera Austral, Puerto Chacabuco is about 78 kilometres west of Coyhaique. 

From the north, turn right off Ruta 7 a little south from Villa Maniguales, then Ruta 240 all the way into Chacabuco.

From the south, turn left out of Coyhaique and follow Ruta 240 all the way into Chacabuco.

Where To stay In Puerto Chacabuco

For overlanders | the lovely reception staff at Loberias del Sur hotel allowed us to park our campervan in their secure parking for free for 2 nights. 

This gave us peace of mind the van was in good hands while we visited the glacier and meant we could indulge in an extra whisky on the return leg of the cruise.

Loberias del Sur hotel | minibuses pick up and drop off guests for the day trip from here so it’s a convenient place to stay. And it’s the finest hotel in town. Check availability here.

Cabanas and hospedaje | these smaller accommodation options will suit those on a tighter budget. There’s plenty to choose from all within a short walk of the pick up point for the cruise too. Check options and availability here.

If you’d prefer more budget accommodation, make sure to check out Hostelworld for their latest rates and availability.

A distant glacier in the mountains on the edge of the Aysén fjords

Overland & Boat Trip From Puerto Río Tranquilo

When we were looking into booking tickets, we wanted to take a boat trip from Bahia Exploradores. Because the port is significantly closer to the glacier than Puerto Chacabuco, we hoped it’d be cheaper. 

However, a month or so before we arrived, a massive landslide cut off the road to traffic and we couldn’t get up-to-date information about any affect on the tours.

It’s since sorted so the trip still run. US $250 will secure you a seat on this day trip. It lasts about 12 hours and includes a light breakfast, a lunch box and a whisky tasting with glacial ice.

The boat is considerably smaller, carrying only 20 passengers compared to the large catamaran we were on and you get the opportunity for a little hiking too. 

If you plan on visiting the Marble Caves, this option will save you a few extra driving miles as Chacabuco is a 70 kilometre diversion off the Carretera Austral.

You can book in advance here or if you’re flexible on time, haggle for a discount when you book your Marble Caves tour.

If sea kayaking interests you, check with the tour operators here too because it’s possible to kayak in the lagoon.

A huge iceberg floating in the San Rafael lagoon

Where To Stay In Puerto Río Tranquilo 

The town has a few hostels and hotels you can book in advance too – probably best in the high season. You can browse for availability here.

Overlanders need not worry. You can park overnight for free on the shores of Lago General Carrera. Nearby, there’s some wonderful wild camping opportunities too. 

Explore the surrounding area and find your own lupin scented spot, or check out iOverlander for gems others have found before you.

Know Before You Go

Before visiting San Rafael Glacier, here’s a few things you should know to help you get the most out of your trip.

The Views Are Incredible 

We suspect having seen photos in this post, you’ll already know this, but it’s worth spelling it out. The views along the entire length of the fjord from Puerto Chacabuco all the way to Laguna San Rafael are out of this world.

When we went, the weather was grey and overcast, as is often the way in Patagonia, but we had spells of patchy blue skies too. 

The moody weather only enhances the views – it somehow feels more adventurous than if the sun is shining and there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

Wrap up warm and spend time out on the deck to breathe in the fresh Patagonian air and appreciate the land lying before you.

Blue skies above Aysén fjords in Chilean Patagonia

When Is The Best Time To Visit Laguna San Rafael?

For the best chance of good weather, the best time to visit Laguna San Rafael is during the southern hemisphere summer, December to February.

The tour from Chacabuco operates all year though and you can bag cheaper tickets in the off season. Check with the tour operators though because the number of sailings falls drastically.

We’d particularly like to do the same cruise again during the April or May to see the Fall colours lining the fjords. It must be spectacular!

Bear in mind, the ultra cold winters and wet weather may make the Carretera Austral treacherous in places. But the buses still get through.

Check out our definitive guide to the regional seasons to find the best time to visit Patagonia.

What To Pack

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Even in the summer, you can expect rain, wind and cold in Patagonia and sailing through the fjords is going to intensify the real feel. 

To get the most out of the trip, you’ll want to spend at least some time out on deck. Layering up is essential so you’re not too hot indoors but can still enjoy the outdoor scenery. Hat, gloves and a scarf or 2 are essential.

Good footwear is essential too – leave the high heels at home – your fellow passengers in the inflatable zodiac boat will thank you for it!

And of course, don’t forget your camera with extra batteries.

Check out our full guide of what to pack for Patagonia before you  go.

The edge of the glacier

Onward Travel

Nearby | Don’t miss a trip to see the incredible Marble Caves from Puerto Río Tranquilo.

Southbound | Keep following the Carretera Austral and explore Lago General Carrera. 

Heading north | Stick to the Carretera Austral and hike Cerro Castillo and visit Coyhaique.

Eastwards | If you’re going into Argentinian Patagonia, don’t miss a visit to Cueva de las Manos.

Many people who’ve visited Laguna San Rafael and glacier have called it a once in a lifetime trip. 

With phenomenal landscapes, inquisitive marine life and an endless supply of Scotch on the rocks, it’s easy to see why.

We loved this trip so much it was the final deciding factor in booking our Antarctica cruise!


  1. Find the best time to go to Patagonia for the things you enjoy.
  2. Book a cheap flight to Patagonia with Skyscanner. Better still, if you’re planning a long-term trip, ship your camper van to South America as we did! 
  3. Plan a rough itinerary with an idea of how long you’ll stay in each place. But be flexible - Patagonia will get under your skin and you’ll wish you had more time. Get a copy of the Moon Patagonia travel guide to help you plan your itinerary.
  4. If you want to explore Patagonia in a rental car, make sure to book in advance. Especially if you travel between December and February. Get free comparison quotes with
  5. Check out our extensive and still growing guides to Patagonia for more information on both Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia with places to go, things to do and see & loads more.
  6. Book your accommodation in advance, at least for the first destination. For hotels, use For apartments use Airbnb and get a discount on your first booking. For free camping, use the iOverlander app offline.
  7. Try to learn Spanish or at the very least have some basic phrases. English is widely spoken in the major tourist towns in the south, like El Calafate, El Chalten and Puerto Natales. Everywhere else, you’ll need some basic language skills to get the most out of your trip.
  8. Reserve your tours and activities in advance with Viator and Get Your Guide.
  9. Get your rucksack ready with our definitive Patagonia packing list.
  10. Go have the adventure of a lifetime!


We hope this helps you plan your travels in Patagonia. It’s an enormous region and one we completely adore. Yet we found it difficult to plan our first trip, so we've written extensively about it to help you out!

If you have any questions about Patagonia, travelling in a vehicle or even building a campervan, contact us by email at [email protected]

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San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit
San Rafael Glacier & Laguna visit

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Steps. The momentary paradox happened at the wrong time. However, it always happens at the wrong time, but now it is not at all at the right time. Everything in the XPS007A3 star system happens at the wrong time. What can I say, lucky me with the practice.

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