Puerto Chacabuco, Chile Cruise Port
Cruise through the South Pacific Ocean and the Darwin Channel, and you may come across the port of Puerto Chacabuco, Chile near the Aisen Fjord and located within the Aysen province. The region's main port, it's typically used for ships heading to the Laguna San Rafael National Park. Named for the Battle of Chacabuco that took place in 1817, it takes the place of importance from Puerto Aisen, whose location was compromised when the eruption of the Mount Hudson volcano and ash from the Patagonian forest fires made the Aisen River unable to be navigated. Despite past environmental issues, it’s a nature-lover’s paradise. Birdwatchers might spot the black necked swans and the endangered giant condor, while the area's mountainous beauty provides plenty of color and photo opportunities (not to mention adventures for hiking enthusiasts). Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Puerto Chacabuco, Chile:
Catch a tour to the Laguna San Rafael National Park, designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1979. Here's where you can see (among many things) the Northern Patagonian Ice Field, some of the higher Andes Mountains, and plenty of marine wildlife. Keep an eye out for Chilean dolphins, marine otters, elephant seals, and more.
If you want nature closer to port, check out the Parque Aiken del Sur. A private park only that takes only about 15 minutes to reach by car, this nature preserve and botanical garden includes several nature trails that lead you through a lush forest and scenic waterfalls to the serene Riesco Lake. Especially impressive are the giant ferns, whose leaves dwarf the average human.
For shopping options, you’ll find several stands and kiosks at the port terminal where you can purchase small souvenirs. If you’re in need of something more substantial, take a ride to Coyhaique (around 48 miles) for a much larger variety of items.
There are several shore excursions where you can combine nature-watching with entertainment and a good meal. The Chilean and Argentinean folk dancing is a delightful way to spend some time relaxing after all of the sightseeing.