Travelling To The End Of The World – Taking The Navimag South To Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales Mountains, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

When Jake and I started to map out what we wanted our Inca to Inuit route to look like, we knew that it had to include exploring the remote lands of Patagonia.

Travelling South from Peru, our excitement to visit Patagonia increased with every passing day. Eager to explore the lands that we had only seen on nature documentaries (and Top Gear) we wanted to experience a slice of this untamable land for ourselves.

Before arriving in Chile, we had heard about a cargo ship that took people South from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. We were keen to explore this rugged and beautiful landscape by water, weaving our way through the huge maze of fjords and canals that are home to dolphins and whales.

Cerro Maca, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

Naively we assumed that catching a cargo ship would be cheaper than catching a bus. We were oh so very wrong. There is only one commercial boat service that takes passengers from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt – The Navimag. As such prices are at a premium. Expect to pay around £400 per person for four days and three nights on board the Navimag. This includes three meals a day, a private room (bunk beds) and shared bathroom. Private bathroom suites are available but places are limited and the price significantly higher.

The Navimag sails South To Puerto Natales from Puerto Montt once a week, every Friday. Having arrived in Puerto Montt on a Monday, we had visited the Navimag office on the seafront, bought our tickets and decided to have four days of exploring the Island of Chiloe and the Chilean Lakes District

Chiloe Houses, Chiloe Island, Inca to Inuit

The day of our voyage had finally arrived. Poised with sea sickness pills and the Monopoly app, we headed to the Navimag office late one Friday afternoon to embark on our Navimag adventure. After a short bus ride from the Navimag office to the Port, we made our way onto the Navimag Ferry. After weaving our way through the cargo area, past stacks of huge steel containers we marched up the narrow staircases to the main passenger area of the Navimag ferry.

Jake mason, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

After finding our small but homely room for the next four days, we relished in being able to set up camp for longer than one night, unpacking our monstrous backpacks, setting out our bits and bobs and making our little bunk feel like home. After three hours docked at the port, we were off. Pulling away from the dock we had absolutely no idea what the next four days would have in store for us. With our camera at the ready, we wrapped up warm and took the deck, ready to experience the long awaited lands of Patagonia.

Navimag Dorm Room, Inca to Inuit

Lyndsay Broughton, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

Over the next four days, we would wind and weave our way through the Patagonian fjords and canals. Splitting our time between the bitterly cold top decks and our cosy dorm, we would see dolphins, humpback whales and baby seal pups.  The first night we enjoyed calm waters so much so we sneaked onto the top deck in the middle of the night to see the Southern Cross. I’ve never seen a night sky like it. Truly unforgettable.

Seal on back in water, navimag, Inca to Inuit

Sea Lions on Boye, Inca to Inuit, Navimag

After a breakfast of freshly baked bread, fruit and yoghurt we went up to the top deck to enjoy the sunshine. A rarity apparently in Patagonia. Basking in the sunshine we sailed past the majestic Cerro Maca, watching the sunshine reflect off its snow-capped peak. As we navigated into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, the wind and waves would increase and the temperature would plummet. Night two was not for the faint-hearted traveller. Grasping for our sea sickness pills we bunked up early that evening. Needless to say, we were rocked to sleep.

Navimag, Inca to Inuit

Cerro Mece, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

Sunday was spent navigating through tight eighty metre passages as if we were a tiny sail boat. Be prepared for freezing temperatures and bitterly cold wind, rain and snow showers. The majority of Sunday was spent indoors, dancing in and out of the ferry, fearful of missing spectacular scenery or even better a Whale.

Lyndsay Broughton, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

On Monday morning, we woke up at 5 am, bundled on our layers and made our way to the top deck with the hope of seeing our last glimpse of some humpback whales. Unfortunately, the whales didn’t appear, but it meant we got to soak up the last glimpses of the Patagonian Fjords before we docked in Puerto Natales.

Puerto Natales Dock, Navimag, Inca to Inuit

Despite the initial cold sweats at the cost of taking the Navimag, it was most certainly worth every penny. After all how often in your life do you get to sail through Patagonia.

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