Expedition mothership tour through Patagonia
Everyone, focus on remote travel and comfort
* Kayaking trips & tours to destinations outside of Canada are priced and charged in US dollars; prices in other currencies can be estimated by clicking here. There is no additional tax on tours to international destinations. Please see our terms and conditions for full payment and fees information.
FROM CHILEAN WINERIES TO THE SAN RAFAEL GLACIER
Join Spirit of the West Adventures for a trip to incredible Coastal Patagonia! This tour allows you to experience Spirit of the West Adventures quality while exploring the beautiful outer islands of southern Chile. We will experience the best of what Chile has to offer in a mothership-style sea kayaking tour: wine, wildlife and wilderness paired with sea kayaking in one of the most stunning places on earth, all from the comfort and convenience of our personal expedition ship.
The coast of Chile stretches for over 4300 kilometres, providing endless opportunities for kayakers. The region we have chosen for our tours is considered Northern Patagonia and is part of the Aysen Region. Most people think that the southernmost portion of Chile (Southern Patagonia) is the most rugged and wild but think again. We will take you into difficult-to-access areas with stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, hot springs and glaciers dropping into the sea, all while enjoying the Spirit of the West Adventures safety and service you have come to expect.
We’ve crafted this trip to take in most of the highlights that we’ve discovered over the past 15 years of traveling to the area and feel that it is an excellent and in-depth introduction to the wonders of Patagonia. Some of the top selections include paddling in beautiful and pristine Traiguén and Goñi Islands finding traces of the original inhabitants of the area among small islands of the archipelago, viewing abundant wildlife, soaking in remote hot springs, basking in the immensity of the San Rafael Glacier and taking in a traditional Asado (barbecue) at a remote estancia (ranch) – all among the backdrop of volcanoes and mountains.
This trip is suitable for all ages and ability levels. Participate in our activities as much or as little as you want while experiencing some of the most remote parts of Patagonia (minimum age of 12 unless a family-specific tour).
Everything is included in the tour cost from the time you arrive in Santiago until the last day of the tour. All you need is a sense of adventure and possibly a camera to catch the incredible beauty of the area so that your friends will believe you when you try to describe this wild and wonderful place to them upon your return home.
The tour starts in Santiago and enjoys one day of touring and wine tastings in Chile’s fantastic and plentiful wine-producing regions. On our second day, we travel to Patagonia via a short regional flight. We will then meet our floating home, the 57-foot motor vessel called the Noctiluca. From here the world is our oyster as we explore this incredible coastline.
Everything that you should need to enjoy Chile is included. Accommodation from night one of the tour through to departure day, pick up and drop off at the airport if arriving during one of the Spirit of the West Adventures pickup times, domestic flights as included in the itinerary, all food and non-alcoholic beverages (wine and beer will be provided while on the Mothership), all kayaking gear, bedding, dry bags, a paddling top (for use during the kayaking portion of the tour), guides, tours, and admission fees during the Spirit of the West Adventures tour.
What’s not included?
International airfare, costs associated with passports, travel insurance, gratuities, alcohol while not on the Mothership, personal purchases such as souvenirs, toiletries, etc, your personal clothing and luggage, arrival and departure taxes, reciprocity fees, and/or transport costs if arriving outside of our pick up times.
BASIC TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR CHILE
International travel can be daunting if you haven’t been overseas much before, but the rewards are well worth the preparation and long flights. We aim to make your travel experience as relaxed and comfortable as possible. After booking your trip you will get a Guest Handbook which includes detailed info, tips, and tricks we’ve learned over the years for making travel in Chile a breeze, as well as the basic information to help you plan your journey and get the most out of your stay in Chile.
How to Get to Chile
Santiago can be reached by direct flight with several different airlines from all over the world. When flying into Chile you will land in Santiago at Arturo Merino Benitez Airport (SCL) which is located approximately 20 minutes (21 km) from the city center. Spirit of the West Adventures will arrange transport for you from the airport to our hotel if arriving/departing on our scheduled days. The Guest Handbook will include more details regarding travel options and airlines to fly to Santiago, Chile.
Before You Go
It is important to take a few easy precautions that will help to make your trip run smoothly and help you get over any obstacles you may face.
- Ensure your passport is current and will remain valid for 6 months after your return date.
- Purchase travel and medical insurance. This will cover you in the event of needing medical help while abroad and will cover any expenses incurred from unexpected changes in travel plans or circumstances out of your control (i.e. missed flights because of weather, lost baggage, theft, family illness). Trip cancellation, interruption, and medical coverage are mandatory to participate in Spirit of the West Adventures’ Chilean tours.
- Make sure your inoculations are current. While there are no required vaccinations for traveling to Chile it is suggested you have Covid shots and boosters, Hepatitis A & B, and Typhoid Fever vaccinations. Please also ensure your Tetanus/Polio/Diphtheria shot is current (you need a booster every 10 years).
- Set up a pin code that can work internationally on both your debit and credit cards. Take your card into any branch with your current pin and you can reset it to something easy to remember.
- Invest in some good rain gear and warm clothes for Patagonia – it will help make your trip much more enjoyable. Please see our packing list for a complete list of what to bring.
- Send yourself an email with a scanned copy of your passport, immunization record, flight details, and important numbers including travel insurance policy numbers, credit card numbers as well as contact details for the company in case of loss or theft. This way if you happened to lose your bags you can go to the Internet and have all the information handy. It is also a good idea to leave all of the above with a trusted friend or relative at home who could help you out in a pinch.
- Have fun learning about the country, read some Chilean literature, watch some soccer (football), take Spanish lessons, drink Chilean wines, etc. This will all help you to get the most out of your experience.
More about our floating home.
OUR COMFORTABLE VESSEL THE NOCTILUCA
While we schedule our tours to try to make the most of the Patagonian weather as well as good wildlife viewing times, you never know what kind of weather you will experience. For this reason, we have found that mothership kayaking is the perfect way to experience this wild and rugged area. The mothership also allows us to cover much greater distances each day and to explore areas that would take weeks to reach by sea kayak alone.
Interior of the mothership
The Noctiluca was constructed using a unique Patagonian wood, cipres de las Guaitecas, used for centuries by the maritime Chiloe (a coastal region of Chile) seagoing culture. Blending the traditional artwork of experienced Chiloe boat builders with the latest technology in boat design, safety and interior finishing, the Noctiluca offers a cozy wooden interior and comfortable cabins as well as safety and reliability. The ship features two double guest cabins (lower double berth and upper single berth) and a front cabin with four single beds. All share two roomy heads (bathrooms) complete with hot water and showers. The yacht is handled by a skilled crew and captain with decades of experience in Patagonian waters.
THE CREW ON THE BOAT
Our Captain, Robin Westcott
Robin has over 30 years of experience in this area which he is proud to call home. He has spent years exploring this region by sailboat, motor vessels, by horseback and by foot and is the perfect guide for our adventures. A highly experienced boat captain, he is able to share the subtle nuances of every nook and cranny with us. Robin attended university in the United States and is fluent in English.
First Mate, Nico Subercaseaux
Nico is the charismatic and outgoing first mate who manages the deck, helps us move kayaks, navigates the Noctiluca and advises on new paddling opportunities. Nico is also fluent in English.
Our Chef, Jorge Barros
The most valuable crew member of any crew is the cook! Jorge is always ready with a smile or an appetizer, can provision the ship with fresh food for weeks and makes a strong coffee in the morning. You’ll love his soups after a cool day paddling near the glacier.
This route will take us deep into the southern reaches of the Chonos Archipelago to the world famous San Rafael Glacier. We will take our time reaching the glacier, kayaking amidst stunning scenery and enjoying all the region has to offer including a visit to an authentic estancia (ranch) and a trip to remote hot springs. Please read this customized trip itinerary closely so that you are familiar with how the trip is planned to unfold.
Depart your home for Santiago, Chile. Most flights are overnight (apx. 10 hours from Toronto) and arrive early to mid-morning the following day.
Meeting Location & TOUR START
Welcome to Santiago! One or both of your guides will meet you at the international airport in Santiago, Chile, wearing their Spirit of the West Adventures t-shirts (more specific details on meeting at the airport will be sent to you just before your trip starts). If for some reason we can’t meet you ourselves there will be someone holding a sign with YOUR name on it. We will then all travel back to our hotel in Providencia (a region of Santiago). In case of any problems, please note the name, address, and phone number of our hotel:
Casa Bellavista Hotel
Antonia López de Bello 0374, Providencia, https://www.casabellavistahotel.com/ (Reservations are all made in your individual names)
The afternoon is yours to explore the neighbourhood and city. Depending on how you are feeling after checking into the hotel and freshening up, you may be interested in a walk through some of the local parks & around the general area. If you prefer, please enjoy a nap or a quiet afternoon at the hotel. That evening we will all meet at the hotel and head out for a welcome dinner at one of our favourite Chilean establishments. (Please note, expenses on this day, other than the airport pickup, hotel, and dinner, are not included in the tour cost). Then it’s time for a good night’s sleep.
After a hearty breakfast, we will head out of the city to the beautiful Casablanca Valley to visit some of the best wineries in Chile. The journey through the Valley begins our encounter with some of the many different types of landscapes that we are about to experience over the rest of our journey. Here we will visit some boutique wineries as well as some of the well-known establishments for tastings and tours of their wine production. Of course, there will be time for you to purchase a bottle or two to take home. We will return to the city in time for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants and will dine under the stars while enjoying the nightlife of the Chilean streets.
Morning will come early, but the excitement of the journey to come will help with our wake-up call. After a continental breakfast, we will transfer to the Santiago Airport for our flight to Balmaceda Airport. A 3-hour flight later, we will arrive in Patagonia! We will then drive an hour through beautiful rolling hills and past waterfalls to meet our mothership, the beautiful Noctiluca. The “Noctiluca” is a 57-foot motor yacht named after the luminous plankton that abounds in Patagonian waters (what we would call bioluminescence). Once all settled aboard, the captain will give us a safety briefing and we will enjoy dinner while watching the sun sink behind the islands as we motor out of the Aisen Fjord and Paso Casma. That night we will anchor in beautiful Chiva Cove (approx 60 nautical miles covered by boat).
KAYAKING IN patagonia
Please note that while the Patagonian coastline is absolutely stunning, it can be quite exposed to wind in certain areas so we will split our time between paddling and motoring in order to get to some of the best and most remote places to paddle. Both the paddling portion and the motoring portion of this trip are weather dependent, so the following itinerary is simply a guideline, but will likely need to be flexible to work with nature.
DayS 4 & 5
There are so many places to explore in this region it is hard to say exactly where to begin our paddling, but the many small islets of Isla Traiguén and its bird colonies are a likely starting point. Paddling in the area around Isla Goñi we’ll get a sense of a Patagonian landscape that is more often found even further south: low scrub vegetation with only a few trees near the shoreline, evidence of the harsh climate of the region. Here there are also signs of the original inhabitants of the islands, the Chonos people, in the form of shell middens (mounds of shell material deposited over many years from harvesting and consuming mussels and clams).
From Isla Goñi we head south again through Estero Elefantes to the entrance of San Rafael Lagoon. Here we will gather ancient ice for a toast to the imposing icebergs of the lagoon. That afternoon we will take an excursion by zodiac to the beaches and streams near the glacier.
Today we will explore the San Rafael Lagoon. We will have lunch near the glacier, surrounded by icebergs. We will carefully navigate our way by kayak through the icebergs to visit the region’s various beaches and islets. That evening we will anchor at Port Lepardo at the entrance of the lagoon. While we eat dinner we will listen for the tell-tale cracking sounds of the calving glacier in the distance.
Today we motor to the estancia (ranch) owned by our Captain Robin Westcott. Estancia Quitralco is a private ranch that covers many square kilometers and offers us the chance to spend the afternoon exploring the river by kayak, fishing, and/or trekking on the property. We will finish off our day with an authentic gaucho lamb asado (or BBQ). The taste of fresh lamb and vegetables slow-roasted over an open fire enjoyed under the vast Patagonian sky is second to none. This meal of course will be accompanied by a great selection of Chilean wine and beer and vegetables picked fresh from the garden on-site. Is this heaven on earth?
Departing from Quitralco we will set sail for nearby hot springs. Discovered by our Captain’s family decades ago, this secluded and private location offers some luxurious soaking while taking in a fabulous view down the fiord. We will spend the remainder of the day navigating through small channels, ideal for dolphins and encounters with other wildlife. That night we spend anchored in Puerto Lynch.
We will get an extra early start this morning in order to reach the sheltered waters of Gato Cove in plenty of time to enjoy kayaking in Cinco Hermanas (Five Sisters) National Park. The scenery here will not disappoint. After exploring these beautiful islands we will motor to our final anchorage of the trip. Dinner on board will once again leave our taste buds truly satisfied and our bellies full. Really, could life get any better?
Sadly, this will be our last day on our floating home. We will get an early start to ensure we arrive back to Puerto Aysen in time to transfer back to the Balmaceda Airport in time to catch a flight back to Santiago that evening. If you are pressed for time, it may be possible to catch an international flight this evening (check with the office for details). The rest of the group will enjoy one last farewell dinner together in Santiago. The hotel this last night is included in the tour cost.
This is your last day in Santiago. After breakfast at the hotel, you will say goodbye to your guides. You are welcome to explore the city on your own, perhaps heading to a local market for some souvenir shopping before your onward flight (most international flights leave late in the day). Spirit of the West will arrange your airport transfer if departing today.
Spirit of the West Adventures will ensure everyone gets safely to the airport for their journey home or help you get on your way if you are lucky enough to have more time to explore this incredible part of the world. Please note any airport transfers outside of the scheduled arrival and departure days are at your own expense.
Please know that the above itinerary is meant to give you an idea of all the region has to offer. Weather, wildlife, and our fellow kayakers will help to determine the specifics of our daily route. Please also bear in mind that this is a remote and expansive area – if we find another place we wish to explore, we can do so!
+ How much kayaking experience is required to join the tours in Patagonia?
No experience is required for our kayak tours! Our adventures are for everyone. Patagonia is a rugged and wild place with unpredictable weather, but we have the luxury of being based on a Mothership, which allows for you and the guides to choose when paddling is appropriate. The Mothership also allows us to travel to the best areas for kayaking with ease. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected.
+ Do I need to be in great shape to join one of the trips?
No. Our adventures are not considered to be strenuous or physically demanding, and we do not require a high level of fitness. We just ask that you are capable of a few hours of moderate exercise each day. Keep in mind that good general health will go a long way if we happen to encounter some strong winds or time restrictions. Most important is an adventurous spirit.
+ Is it difficult to get to Chile? Do I need any special visa or paperwork to enter?
Chile is well worth the effort to get there. There are direct flights to Santiago (the capital city of Chile) from many cities around the world. Direct flights depart from Toronto, Canada almost daily and take approximately 10.5 hours.
Tourists from most countries do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days, however, they do need valid passports. You will also need to hold an onward/return plane ticket or a credit card and/or sufficient funds to cover the intended period of stay. Please also stay up to date regarding entry requirements surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations as this is an ever-evolving policy.
+ Do I need any special inoculations or medications for safe travel to Chile?
No, there are no required inoculations for entry into Chile. We do however recommend a current Tetanus shot, as well as protecting yourself further by receiving Hepatitis A &, Typhoid fever and COVID-19 shots. These inoculations are also not a bad idea for travelling to most countries around the world. It can also be handy to carry a course of a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as Ciprofloxacin which can help deal with mild infections such as travellers’ diarrhoea.
+ Do I need to speak Spanish to join the tour?
No, Chile is a fantastic place to explore no matter what language you speak. Your guides and boat crew are able to help with translation, and all of the finer details of your tour are taken care of by Spirit of the West staff. The tours of the wineries are also in English. This being said, it is never a bad idea to brush up on a few common phrases and greetings. A smile and being able to say please and thank you in the language of the country you are visiting goes a long way. We will also send you some phrases to help get you excited and prepared for your tour.
+ Are there any age requirements?
Spirit of the West caters to all ages of adventurers. Please contact the office to discuss options for children under 12 years of age. For those concerned with being in ‘their older years’ we would be happy to discuss your physical abilities and ensure this is the right trip for you. The Mothership, however, does make for a great way to be able to get out and explore, but with the comforts and conveniences of home close by.
+ How much paddling is generally done in a day?
Paddling time will vary depending on our destination, the group’s abilities, and desires, but is generally between 3-5 hours a day. Patagonia is ripe for exploring. We enjoy the process of travelling to each and every location for kayaking, spending approximately 50% of our time cruising through the islands and fjords on the mothership and approximately 50% of our time in the kayaks. This allows us to cover great distances and see highlights such as Glacier San Rafael (Ultimate Tour) and the Golfo de Corcovado (Ultimate Tour Extended) in our time together, while also allowing for great kayaking. If time and location permits, we also like to incorporate some walking, fishing, beach-combing etc.
+ What are the kayaks like on this Tour?
On this tour, we use plastic double kayaks. We have one single kayak that we can rotate guests through (this is what is available in this remote part of the world and what fits on the boat). The kayaks we use are stable and designed for comfort. The risk of capsizing is minimal.
+ What happens if my kayak flips over?
If for some reason your kayak flips over, all of our guides have ample practice time on the water with rescue procedures in order to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. At this point we will take you to the nearest shore to change into some warm cozy clothing and then carry on with our journey or call the Mothership for a pick up. While we are out on the water, it is of the utmost importance that the group sticks together in the event of capsize or change of route plan.
+ What is the weather like? Will I be comfortable and warm?
Oh the Mothership, a paddler’s paradise! The Mothership allows us to kayak only when we feel like it and in the best locations for kayaking. This being said it can be quite beautiful to paddle in the rain, often the winds are lowest during light rains and Spirit of the West provides you with a good-quality paddling jacket and pants. If anyone was to get cool, we can take breaks to warm up, or can always contact the boat for a pickup. The weather in Patagonia in January and February is quite pleasant, similar to conditions in British Columbia in September. The temperature where we kayak in the south is significantly cooler than in Santiago, but perfect for exercising without overheating. It is always best to come prepared for any type of weather and you will stay comfortable. Layering is the key, so that at any time if you need to put on or take off while on the water, it is possible to adjust your clothing.
+ What sort of wildlife might we see on the tour?
The diversity and abundance of wildlife in Patagonia is fantastic. With river runoff from the mountains, ocean currents, tide rips, eddies, and upwellings these waters are full of life. From the rich marine life of colorful plants and invertebrates, seabirds including penguins, shorebirds, waterfowl, mink, otters, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales, we keep a constant eye on the ocean and enjoy each unique experience and encounter with wildlife. For those with an eye for whales, and in particular Blue Whales, the Ultimate Extended Tour (19-day tour) will have a much better chance for viewing these majestic beauties. What we always try and remind our guests is that wildlife is just that, ‘wild’, and we will do our best to provide viewing opportunities, but do not guarantee sightings.
+ What are the living arrangements on the Mothership like?
The Noctiluca (our Mothership) is a fantastic wooden vessel made in the traditional local boat-building style of the Chiloe people but with modern touches for safety and comfort. There is plenty of space on the boat to find moments of solitude either on the rear covered deck, in the comfortable salon which is complete with comfortable couches and a woodstove, in your bunk below deck, or in the wheel house enjoying a cup of coffee with the Captain while enjoying the view or on the outer decks watching the world pass by. The boat has 3 guest cabins, one with 4 single bunks and two double rooms for couples or two people who are very friendly with each other! Remember that we take a maximum of 8 guests on this tour, which allows for plenty of space and individualized attention.
+ Will I get seasick on the mothership?
For the most part we travel in protected and sheltered waters. There are 2-3 days where we are more exposed to swell coming down the coast between Chiloe and the Chonos.
The winds in Patagonia can rise at any time and we do have a few more exposed crossings (which we do in the mothership) where you will feel the motion of the ocean temporarily.
If you are prone to seasickness, please bring medication to ensure your comfort. We recommend the patch that you can just put on and forget about as well as some wrist bands.
The mothership also has many places to get fresh air and comfortably watch the horizon (which helps significantly with seasickness).
+ What about showers and toilets?
The boat provides all the comforts of home, just in a compact form. Guests share two heads (bathrooms) which are each complete with a toilet and a hot shower. We are able to store plenty of fresh water on board for cooking, drinking and bathing (showers of moderate proportion, no 20-minute showers please). While out in the kayaks your guides will generally designate an area or system that works for ensuring your privacy and the health of the ecosystem.
+ What is included in the cost of the tour?
Everything that you should need to enjoy Chile is included. Accommodation from night one of the tour through to the night before departure day, pick up and drop off at the airport if arriving during one of the Spirit of the West pickup times, domestic flight from Santiago to Patagonia, all food and non-alcoholic beverages (wine and beer will be provided while on the Mothership), all kayaking gear, bedding, dry bags, a paddling top and pants, guides, tours, and admission fees during the Spirit of the West Tour.
What is not included: international airfare, costs associated with passports, travel insurance, gratuities, alcohol while not on the Mothership, personal purchases such as souvenirs, toiletries, etc, your personal clothing and luggage, transport costs if arriving or departing outside of our pick up times.
+ If I would like to tip the guides and boat crew, what is the industry standard?
If you would like to express your appreciation to the guides and/or boat crew through a gratuity, please know that such recognition is greatly appreciated. There are no rules for tipping amounts or styles as it is an expression of thanks from you. A suggested amount is approximately 10 percent of the trip cost divided amongst guides and crew. You are welcome to adjust this as you see fit.
+ I would like to stay and explore South America after the tour. Where should I go and what should I do?
The options are endless. The Spirit of the West Team has been fortunate to spend time in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Columbia over the years and would be happy to share some of our experiences with you. We have also developed relationships with several other business and tour companies in Chile who are able to help you enjoy activities and experiences such as being pampered at a remote lodge complete with hot springs, fly fishing on one of many beautiful rivers, horseback riding across the dunes or through the pampas ecosystem, bird watching, visiting museums and theaters, tasting your way through a variety of culinary and wine experiences and so much more. Please contact us in the office and we can get a sense of which activities would suit you best.
We're proud of our great reviews - but don't just take our word for it, see what people are saying over on Trip Advisor. View Reviews
“Highly professional, competent, humourous and great hosts. Awesome scenery, huge diversity of animal and plant life. No development, no people, just you and nature”
Lorraine and Richard
“Loved it all! The ranch was a super day and being able to hang on the bridge, and walking and beach combing and EVERYTHING! This SoW trip was a once-in-a-lifetime dream holiday. I’d tell everyone with a sense of adventure that they HAVE to try it, but a well-kept secret makes it that much more enjoyable for years to come. Unforgettable. “
“Awesome trip. Boat and crew were great! Food was excellent. B & R, your advance research served us all well. You created a truly outstanding trip. Mauricio, your knowledge of the area and your great personality completed the package.”
“The glacier was spectacular! We have been to Chile several times, and this trip exposed us to many new and interesting places. We would definitely recommend
John and Lani
“It was an excellent trip, made even better by the great guides. I was not sure I would enjoy this trip, but it was very well organized and the location was spectacular. Initially I thought it was expensive, but on reflection it was worth every penny. Everyone should do it.”
“My highlights were kayaking near the shore – small islands – calm water was more enjoyable. Loved seeing the whales, dolphins, etc. The hot springs are a must! Enjoyed seeing small local villages – loved
the small hikes on the beach – gives people a break from the boats. An experience to be treasured forever, ‘wine, water and whales”
“All info and logistics were bang on. An absolute thrill to travel with SoW. All details dealt with. Guide knowledge wide and varied. Ultra friendly. Don’t want to leave! [Highlights were] chances for
extra paddling, jaiba (crab) feast on aft deck, thermal beach, cordero (lamb) on beach, and Isla Kent. An incredible blending of wild Patagonia and the warm comforts of home. SoW manages to capture them all. An incredible experience!”
“Adding the Chile experience to my Johnstone Strait experience has just made me want to come back again! Thanks for a fantastic time!”
The following is a list of suggested items recommended for your safety and comfort while on your kayak tour. There will also be some clothing you may want for the city portion of your tour. Please note that fashion abounds in major cities and quick-dry clothing will work but you may feel more comfortable in other clothing. Jeans and nice tops are acceptable for most venues in the city, but if you plan on visiting fancy restaurants a jacket and tie or skirt may be required. We are fortunate to be basing the sea kayaking portion of our trip from the mothership. This awesome vessel gives us a warm and dry place to come back to each evening, but it is still important to have the proper clothing for kayaking in order to fully enjoy your experience.
Note that the Patagonia summer can offer warm, sunny days and cool nights, very similar to August & September temperatures in British Columbia/the Northern Hemisphere summers. However, this region can also experience cool temperatures and abundant rainfall. In the immediate vicinity of the glaciers it can be quite cold (it is ice after all)! Note at any time of year rain and wind can occur. It is best to come prepared for any type of weather. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear! If you have any concerns or questions about this list, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
WHAT IS PROVIDED
- Pillow and bedding – At hotels and on board the mothership.
- Paddling Jacket – This is to help keep you dry when kayaking; a raincoat is still recommended for the rest of your journey.
- Pogies – to help keep your hands warm when kayaking
- All other paddling equipment
WHAT TO BRING: GENERAL
- Passport & money belt – Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return flight. A money belt helps to keep your important documents and money close to your body and takes away the worry of travel.
- Copies of all your important documents – A simple photocopy of your passport and travel insurance details can save you a lot of hassle if you ever lose them.
- Suitcase or backpack – Stores such as Mountain Equipment Co-op or REI make great soft-sided hybrid duffels with wheels and backpack straps.
- Wet shoes – A pair that can get wet such as sturdy full strapped sandals, neoprene booties, or rubber boots. To maximize packing space, a comfortable pair of sandals that you can wear both in the city and get wet, combined with neoprene or waterproof socks may work best.
- Walking shoes – A pair of runners or other comfortable walking shoes for exploring the cities, travel days, and on-board the mothership. If you plan on doing much trekking before or after the tour, hiking boots may be in order.
- Hat – A brimmed rain/sun hat and a wool or fleece hat for evenings or cooler days will make you a happy camper.
- Sunglasses & sunscreen – A must for protection from the sun and glare from the water. A safety cord on your glasses is a good idea.
- Small towel & bathing suit – Quick-drying travel towels are handy. Don’t forget your bathing suit if you wish to enjoy the natural hot springs! We will have full-sized towels in our hotels and aboard the mothership.
- Medication – If you are bringing medication please ensure that…
1) The name and expiry date of the drug is on the container; 2) you have a copy of your original prescription in case they question your drugs at the border; 3) you have detailed instructions of your dosage and frequency; 4) it is packed in your carry on baggage
- Personal items – Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable and saltwater friendly soap, washcloth, feminine hygiene products, hairbrush, etc.
- Ear plugs and sleep mask – Great for night flights and if your friends are snoring!
- Toilet paper – A small roll of toilet paper in a Ziploc is often handy for public restrooms. While on tour all toilet paper will be provided
- Wet wipes and hand sanitizer – Good for sanitizing or a quick wash when water is not available
- Ziploc bags – These and a large garbage bag are always handy when traveling.
- Small flashlight or headlamp – Don’t forget spare batteries. Headlamps are preferable as they allow for hands-free use.
- Water bottle – 1 durable water bottle. Most of the time we will be purchasing bottled water, but we also often use purification drops to treat water when possible to cut down on plastic waste. Spirit of the West Adventures will provide safe drinking water during your journey with us.
If you plan on trekking after your tour it would be a good idea to carry some water purification tabs or drops, such as Pristine drops.
- Camera & memory cards – Packed in waterproof bag or case. Be sure to bring lots of memory cards and spare batteries, you won’t want to miss these photo opportunities. You will need a plug adapter for charging. Check your battery charger to ensure it can handle 220 voltage (most chargers are dual voltage).
- Book and/or journal – Books written in English are often quite expensive in Chile. Most hotels have book exchanges for when you are done. E-readers can be a great way to have lots of books handy but without the bulk and weight.
Clothing should be suitable for the time of year bearing in mind that it could become cold and wet at any time. Layering is the best way to regulate body temperature and maintain warmth. We suggest avoiding cotton (except for those hot days and in the city). Cotton has no insulation value when wet. An inner material that wicks moisture from the body and gives a comfortable dry feeling even while wet is the best first layer (polypropylene, nylon, polyester). A synthetic material such as fleece or pile makes the best second layer to provide warmth. Wool is also suitable.
Please note the suggested quantities below are minimum amounts to bring and we do have reasonable amounts of space for storing clothing on the mothership, so when in doubt bring it There are NOT laundry facilities on the mothership, but you are welcome to wash out a few pairs of underwear over the course of the trip and we can dry them in the engine room.
- Rain jacket & rain pants – These are essential for the unexpected nasty weather. To test your waterproofness jump in the shower and see if you stay dry! Spirit of the West will provide a paddling jacket during the kayaking portion of the tour.
- Long pants – One pair of fleece or warm comfortable pants. Two lighter pairs made of quick-drying fabric. Often these pants can also double as “city or casual” pants for exploring the city. Jeans are not recommended for kayaking but are fine in the city or for wearing on the mothership.
- Long underwear top & bottoms – Helps to keep you warm in the evenings or as a base layer during the day
- Long-sleeved non-cotton shirt – Two.
- T-shirts – 2-3 synthetic tops. Synthetic material dries quickly so you can wash in the evening and wear it the next day.
- Shorts – One quick dry nylon pair.
- Warm socks – Three pairs.
- Undergarments – As you see fit. A couple of pairs of synthetic underwear for paddling can be comfortable on wet days. Cotton underwear is good for evenings.
- Jeans – One pair. Comfortable for wearing on the plane and around the city or boat.
- Business casual outfit – Chileans in the city have a real sense of style. This does NOT need to be a fancy outfit, but a button-up shirt and a nice sweater will help you to feel comfortable in the city. I often wear a summer skirt and a nice top.
- Binoculars – We say optional, but they are wonderful to have while on the boat. There will be one or two pairs to share while on the boat.
- Small pillow – You can purchase small compact pillows at some outdoor stores or at the airport. This may make your overnight flight much more comfortable (however most airlines provide these). When on the mothership and in hotels a regular full-size pillow will be provided.
- Gloves – Wool or fleece gloves can be a cozy addition to a cool day. Biking gloves work well to protect your hands from blisters. We do provide pogies (essentially kayak paddle mittens) which are easy to use and attach to your paddle and then you slip your hand in and out, allowing you to quickly have bare hands for taking photos, etc.
- Fishing gear – Our mothership will have some basic fishing equipment available for use while onboard. If you are an expert fisher person you may wish to bring your favourite lures etc.
- Sleeping bag – You will not need a sleeping bag during this trip. However, if you wish to do some camping/exploring before or after your tour it may come in handy.
- Beverages – There will be a good selection of drinks available onboard the mothership including beer and wine with meals (these are included in the cost of your tour). However, if you wish to bring additional spirits, you are welcome to. They can be purchased in Santiago prior to departure.