GPT37H - Lago O'Higgins
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- 2023-Mar-29 / Jess&Paco / Hikking main route Peninsula La Florida
Km 90 demanding Ford n°2 The refuge is closed and locked and you have to pass an unreferenced barrier to follow GPT track and get to the refuge. We advice to cross just after reaching the beach after the refuge. If you dont you have to pass by a gravelled/sandy slope that will make your ankles suffer. Km 96 demanding ford n°3 Before reaching the Ford we couldn't follow the GPT main track because it was completely flooded. So we add to follow the beach. But rocky shore makes some passes dangerous so we advice to climb just a little above the shore you will find animal trails that eventually get a few dozen meters above the river. Then you can ford but be carefull there is a lot of water and current. Fording at the extreme end of the river is also difficult because even if there is not much current, water depth can prevent you from crossing depending on the weather and the hour of the day. It was a really rainy day and we crossed at 12 approximatly.
- 2023-Mar-27 / Jess&Paco / Hikking main route Peninsula La Florida
After the settler at km 69, you have to ford between the lake O Higgins and a small inner lagoon. We werent able to pass because of water depth. It seems part of the beach have disappeared at that season. We add to climb and make a detour around the small lagoon. There are some animal trails to lead you.
- 2023-Mar-23 / Jess&Paco North Bound / Candelario Mancilla to Villa O Higgins
We crossed the lago O Higgins the 23 after only one day waiting. It seems the only company still making transfer at that season (and until ebd of april) is Las Ruedas. As said below the cost is 60000 pesos including the car transfer from Bahia Bahamondez toVilla OHiggins. In el Chalten they told us we could have a 5000 pesos discount if paying cash but it seems that Las Ruedas policies changed. There is only 16 (maybe 17 if a couple gets separated) places on the boat. The crossing last 2h if the weather is good. They usually come to Candelario Mancilla mondays and thursday but it changes a lot with the weather. You get in the boat by order of registration at the border control. So no need to hurry or worry. There will be no competition between passengers to board. And everyone is very friendly and naturally respects order of arrivals. Camping at Candelario Mancilla costs 5000. You cannot ressuply but Ricardo has some eggs and bread so you can extend your supplies for a few days.
- 2023-Mar-4 / SOBO / RR / Ondrej / Villa O’Higgins - Candelario Mansilla by ferry / 1 day
Had to wait for the boat for two days, most people I met there waited for 3-5 days. Two companies seem to be currently operating in the area: Las Ruedas (whatsapp: +56 9 6627 8836) and a guy named Pascual (+56 9 4296 4723) with his daughter Javier (+56 9 4403 6006). Both companies currently charge 60,000 CLP for the boat transfer. Las Ruedas has a faster boat and the ticket price includes a car transfer from O’Higgins to Puerto Bahamondes. With the other company, one has to pay 5 or 6,000 for the transport to the port.
When staying in the town, I was told that during the high season, it is best to whatsapp the companies a week in advance and reserve a spot to cut the waiting period. Otherwise, I suggest to go to their offices and add yourself to a waiting list as soon as you arrive. It is possible to drop in to their offices regularly to see if some people dropped of the waiting list and you can travel earlier (happened in my case).
Overall, Villa O’Higgins is a lovely place to rest and resupply while waiting for the boat. If you can bear the rain. I stayed at Hostal El Mosco - really nice and lively place. You’re going to meet mostly other travellers waiting for the boat too. The place has hot showers virtually all the time and a beautiful kitchen area. Camping is 9,000 CLP per night - bit on the pricy side but you can use all the hostel facilities such as kitchen and indoor showers. They also offer dorm and private rooms.
I found the Cordillera supermarket to be the best place for resupplying. They also sell camping canisters. The wifi is generally bad in the town apart from some companies that have a starlink connection. You can get such fast wifi for free from Copec gas station.
- 25 February 2023 / Will / Southbound
Getting the ferry wasn't really feasible when I was there. I was pretty far back on the waiting list, and conditions were nearly always too bad to sail. A few did make it across (they later told me it was pretty scary) but the rest of us gave up and bussed out. Thankfully I only spent the days there. Took 3.5 days to bus back up to Chile Chico and then down through Argentina.
Raining every day in Villa o Higgins.
- 13 February 2023 / Véronica & Zach / GPT37H SOBO
Waited in Villa O'Higgins for 5 days for the ferry, due to strong winds and rain. There are two ferry companies — one is Las Ruedas de la Patagonia which operates on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday if the weather is good. If the weather is bad, then the boat crossing may happen anytime there is a good weather window. They can take 16 passengers. The other company is very small and operates very infrequently, since they can only take 8 people at a time and require a longer weather window because their boat is slower. Both companies charge 60,000 clp per person. We recommend reserving AND paying for your ferry ticket as soon as you arrive in town. People who only reserve and don't pay are subject to being pushed off the passenger list if other people come and offer to pay beforehand.
- 2022 Dec / Yannic & Mirjam / Southbound
We had to wait 8 days in O'Higgens because the ferry was postponed twice due to wind and the waiting list grew. Currently, there is only one operator (Las Ruedas). It is best to contact them early via Whatsapp and reserve a ticket. You can also drop by spontaneously the evening before departure. If someone has not paid, tickets will become available at short notice...
- 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.