Few places conjure up the images of soaring glacial topped peaks covered in dense temperate rainforest rising from the depths of the ocean as do the Patagonian fjords. It is an area sparsely populated that boasts of 4,000 year-old trees (the Alerce, the world’s second longest living tree species), 6.5 meters (20 feet) of annual (yes, annual!) rainfall, and steep walled fjords that rise over 1,500 meters (4,800 ft) straight from the cold blue Pacific waters.
This region was partially opened by the construction of the “Southern Highway” (Carretera Austral) which began in the late 1970’s (and still continuing on), and then came into fame by the creation of Pumalin Park by US conservationist Douglas Tompkins. It is now operated by a foundation and is a Chilean Natural Monument. The opening of the regular ferry service year round in 2011 now allows people to enjoy the stunning beauty as a self-drive option.
Return drive covering the 60 kms of the Carretera Austral to the double ferry journey through the fjords followed by the 3 hour return to Puerto Montt.
Note: a 5th night's lodging in Hornopiren is possible for those not wanting such a long journey on Day 5.