GPT37H - Lago O'Higgins
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Season Section Log
- 2020 Jan / Oreste Marquis / Northbound
I only had to wait for 2 days before the boat came, but some people waited 5! Bought my tickets in advance at Glaciares Expedicion if my memory is right. Book the trip for the two boat (Lago del Desierto and to Villa O’Higgins). I don’t recommend to book the one on Lago del desierto because it is actually super expensive (60 US$) and you can walk it pretty easily.
- 2020 Jan / Olrik / Northbound
Bought the boat tickets in El Chalten. There are 2 options, Zona Austral which works with Ruedas de la Patagonia, and Expeditiones which works with Robinson Crusoe. Ruedas is cheaper, 54USD pp. Boat is just smaller. You can end up stuck for a long time in Candelario Mancilla so plan enough food. The only option is the paid campground which is 5000CLP. The carbineros will kick you out and redirect you to the campground. I would recommend to buy the boat ticket in advance as those with no tickets are not first when the boat comes. Transfer is 1h30.
- 2019 Dec / Matthieu / Northbound
The official schedule is Monday, Wendesday and Saturday, From Villa to Candelario in the morning and back in the afternoon. But it is extremely dependant on the weather conditions, so it can actually be every days and every hours.
I waited three days in Candelario. Mandatory to take the camping there (5000 CLP per days, possibility to pay by card after leaving the camping with the capitan of the boat La Rueda, who is a friend of the camping owners). Take some food with you to spend a few days there, because there is litterally nothing. Possibility to buy eggs and bread from the woman of the camping. I personally had a good time there, making good fires for hot shower and cooking.
For the prices of the boat, I personally paid 35 000 with Ruedas, and I saw only two boats (Robinson Crusoe too). I would recommend NOT to take tickets from companies in El Chalten which sell them very expensive, sometimes double. You can buy it directly at the boat, possibility by card. There is 16 places on each boat, so 32 for my crossing. My boat was almost empty after 4 days of no passage, so no stress.
- 2020-Jan-10 / Jan Dudeck / GPT37H Lago O‘Higgins Motor Boat Crossing
Currently 3 companies offer motor boat crossings of Lago O‘Higgins between Villa O‘Higgins and Candelario Mansilla. Prices for a crossing without a visit of Glacier O‘Higgins range from 36‘000 to 45‘000 CLP. These companies are: 1. RobinsonCrusoe (biggest and most expensive) 2. La Rueda 3. ???
Like in past years technical issues with the boats and weather (primarily wind) disrupt schedule departures and limit the capacity. This results in significant waiting times in both directions. Waiting 1 to 4 days is common but some people had to wait up to one week to get a seat in a boat. The biggest boat - La Quetru - is currently out of operation due to a motor damage.
Be patient and don’t plan with a tight schedule if intending to cross the border between Villa O’Higgins and El Chalten
Southbound travelers can wait in Villa O‘Higgins where food is available and can be paid with credit cards. But enough cash should be carried as the next ATM is in Cochrane, a 6 hour drive north of Villa O’Higgins.
Northbound travelers should carry enough food and cash to wait several days in Candelario Mansilla. Only basic food can be purchased in Candelario Mansilla (Cash only). Consider purchasing a ferry ticket in advance in El Chalten.
Alternatively TAS offers occasionally flights for 70’000 CLP between an airfield next to the border and Villa O’Higgins.
- 2019 Dec 11 Arnaud et Adriane - North to South
Be aware that you will maybe have to wait the ferry in Villa O'Higgins. It is very dependant on the weather conditions. We had to wait 4 days. It was good to have a real rest after the section 36 and Villa O'Highins is a very quiet and nice village with many walks around if you still have energy. We stayed at the Mosco hostel who has rooms, dorms and camping and the welcome and attention of the team there is perfect. Only 2 companies offer the crossing of the lake. With robinson crusoe, it costs 45000clp/pers and the trip is 1h30 long. With La Rueda, it costs 40000clp/pers and it is 2h30 long.
2019-Nov-11 / Lea Geibel, Kevin Moe / 1 day / northbound / ferry ride There's two different ferry companies. We were told in El Chaltén that it runs every Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday 3 times a day, at 11:00, 14:00, and 19:00. Cost is $50 USD, can pay with card. We took the other ferry company (Robinson Crusoe) because it showed up at 10:30 and told us the winds were rising so the first company might not be coming. They charged us $47,500CP each at the yurt in Villa O'Higgins.
|GPT37H: Lago O'Higgins||Hiking||Packrafting|
|Group||I: Campo de Hielo Sur 1||Total||7.6 km||2 h||7.0 km||1 h|
|Region||Chile: Aysén (XI)||Trails (TL)||-||-||-||-|
|Start||Villa O'Higgins||Minor Roads (MR)||-||-||0.3 km||4.3%|
|Finish||Candelario Mancillo||Primary Roads (PR)||7.6 km||100.0%||3.1 km||43.9%|
|Status||Published & Verified||Cross-Country (CC)||-||-||-||-|
|Traversable||Nov - Apr (Maybe: Sep, Oct, May)||Bush-Bashing (BB)||-||-||-||-|
|Packraft||Ferry Mainly||Ferry (FY)||(50.2 km)||(86.9%)||(50.2 km)||(87.7%)|
|Connects to||GPT36H, GPT36P, GPT37P, GPT38||Investigation (I)||-||-||-||-|
|Options||78 km (1 Options & Variants)||Exploration (EXP)||-||-||-||-|
|Hiking||Packrafting||Total on Water||3.6 km||51.9%|
|Attraction||-||-||River (RI)||3.6 km||51.9%|
|Direction||Both ↓↑||Both ↓↑||Fjord (FJ)||-||-|
Satellite Image Map
Elevation Profile of Regular Hiking Route
Section Planning Status
Recommended Travel Period
Benefits of Hiking and Packrafting
Recommended Travel Direction
Section Length and Travel Duration
Suitable Section Combinations
“Town”: Calendario Mancilla
Calendario Mancilla consists of a single, small hospidaje and campground. Sometimes you can purchase meat or eggs from the owners, but there are very limited options for buying food.
Services: ATM and Money Exchange
Accommodation: Hostals and Hotels
Transport: Ground Transport
Transport: Shipping Services
Resupply on the Trail
Location, Names, Available Items and Services
Access to Route and Return
Access to Start
Return from Finish
Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues
Regular Hiking Route
- Route description by Kara Davis after Season 2017/18:
There are a couple of options to consider for transportation across O’Higgins/San Martin Lake. There is a large ferry which is the primary option for transport when it is functioning. The second option is a smaller ferry run by Marco Campo. This was the only option during the 2017/2018 season because the main ferry had broken down. Marco Campo frequently caused hikers difficulties for several reasons: the ferry only runs a few days a week; the ferry only seats around 15 people and is in high demand since crossing the lake is a part of the Carretera Austral; the waiting list is long and it was not uncommon for travelers to spend several days in Villa O’Higgins waiting for a seat; it does not run when the wind is strong so last minute cancellations were frequent; it’s expensive (~45.000CLP). If possible, try and make arrangements beforehand or be prepared to wait for several days in a primarily cash-functioning town without an ATM.
- Comment by Jan Dudeck:
Once the big ferry is repaired crossing the lake should be easier. The big ferry carries up to 100 passangers. Advance reservation is anyway recommended.
If you are lucky enough to get spot on the ferry, board your ship at Puerto Bahamóndez. Marco Campos offers a shuttle from Villa O’Higgins for a price or you can road walk ~5 km. The ferry ride across Lago O’Higgins is notorious for being pretty choppy. It takes about 3 hours.