We just got back from a 4 day ferry journey from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales on the Navimag ferry.
We chose the cheapest option which was a bunk bed in a 22 bed room and the weather for the 4 day trip was pretty much as bad as it could be, however, I would still totally recommend the trip and think the $400 fee was well worth the money.
Here are some of the best bits:
There were a number of questions that I had before I went or things I’ve learned on the trip that should help to decide if you’d like to take this trip as well:
What is the Food Like?
Well one thing for sure is that you won’t starve on this trip as portions are typically Chilean style large and you are given 3 big meals a day.
- Breakfast is served from 8-9:00 am and consists of toast, ham, jam, a selection of cereals, fruit, nescafe coffee and juices, which are served in a self serve buffet.
- Lunch is served at 12.30, which was pretty early for me and was usually made up of a soup, a main course and some kind of postre.
- Dinner was between 7 and 8 and was a three course meal as well.
My girlfriend is a vegetarian and they also cater for any kind of food allergies as long as you let them know when you get on the ferry
The food wasn’t the best in the world to be honest, but remember we’re not on a cruise ship and you’re definitely not going to go hungry!
The other nice thing is that you can help yourself to hot drinks, juices and water all day long.
How many People are on the Ferry?
I’m not sure but I think there was a capacity of 120 guests on the ferry, however, it never felt crowded at all. There was plenty of room on the decks, in the cafeteria and the lounge area and you never had to queue for showers/toilets.
The food queue was also really small and service was excellent all round.
Is Drinking Water Provided?
Yes, in the cafeteria area there are water coolers that are open 24 hours.
What are the Staff Like?
All the staff on board from the cleaners, food servers, guides and working staff were extremely nice, helpful and always smiled and said hello to you.
Are the Toilets / Showers Clean?
The toilets and showers were always clean and the good news was that there was plenty of hot water. The only annoying thing was the button you had to keep pressing to get more water from the shower, but otherwise I couldn’t fault it.
Will it be Cold on the Ship?
Whatever time of year it is you’re going to need a good waterproof coat and some warm fleeces underneath when you’re on deck as there is always going to be the biting Patagonian wind to contend with. Make sure you take a hat and gloves as well for extra protection and plenty of sun block.
Inside of the ship it’s warm and there were plenty of covers on my bed to keep me warm at night
Where do you Keep your Bags?
Next to your bed you will get a big locker which has a key and has enough room to fit a 65 litre rucksack. I actually had my rucksack, small guitar and a day pack which all managed to be stored in this locker.
What are the Dormitories Like?
The dorms are basic but actually fine for the price. We were in the 22 bed area, however, this is split down into sections of 4 beds.
Each bed has a curtain that you can block yourself off in, a reading light and a charging socket, so its actually pretty cosey.
Are the any Communal Areas?
There were 3 main communal areas on the ship that could be accessed 24 hours:
- The deck – Passengers have a large area on both the front of the ship, the back and on both sides of the ship where benches are provided
- The Cafeteria – Large area with tables and chairs, tea, coffee, water and the buffet for your meals
- The bar/lounge – This area is on the upper deck and has comfortable chairs, bean bags and the bar… which is not really a bar as it only provides soft drinks! This is where most of the entertainment is provided.
During our trip there were talks each day, either about the route we were going to take, about the flora and fauna and even a talk about mate.
There were 2 yoga classes each day, which was a great way to unwind. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great on our trip so we had to take these classes in the lounge area, however, in good weather you’d do this on deck, which would be amazing.
Each evening they also put a Chilean film on in the lounge area and on the final night there was a bingo night as well.
The other activity is that you get to go up to the bridge, meet the Captain and some of the crew and look at how they operate the ship, which is quite interesting.
Can you drinkg Alcohol on Board?
I had some friends who went on this trip a few years ago, and told me that there was a bar and a party each night and that I should take some rum with me as well… However, it seems that an incident occured on board where there was a fire and this was linked with alcoholic activities, so alcohol is strictly forbidden on board.
You can’t buy it anywhere on board and you’re not allowed to drink your own supply either. That being said we still snuck a bottle of rum on board, which we descretely drank, and I think if you have your own cabin there’s no harm in bringing a few tipples on board!
Is Smoking Allowed?
Yes, you can smoke anywhere on deck, however, of course smoking is prohibited in enclosed areas.
Should you go if you get Sea Sick Easily?
Well, on the second night, you are likely to have a rough sea crossing as you head on out into the open waters around Anna Pink.
ust after your evening meal the crew will give you sea sickness pills if needed, although these are likely to make you quite drowsy.
The rough part of the trip is going to last about 8 hours through the night, so if you get sea sick easily it’s probably best to take these tablets.
My girlfriend is easily sea sick, however, managed to survive without problems, and I didn’t see too many people suffering even though the boat was moving around quite a lot.
I don’t get seasick but found it hard to sleep as I was rocking around in my bunk imagining huge waves outside and that we were going to sink any second… in the morning I had a look outside when the boat was still rocking around and the waves were actually quite small, so this was all in my head!!!
What are the Weather Conditions Like?
Well, you are travelling through Patagonia so it is going to be cold, very windy and rainy as well.
Unfortunately for our trip 90% of the crossing we were surrounded by mist and fog so we couldn’t see much at all. However, in the short time that the sun came out, the scenery was simply breathtaking.
Just come prepared for all weather conditions and have a mindset that the weather will be bad and cloudy because anything you see after that will be a bonus.
I spent a lot of the time thinking about how amazing it would be if the weather was great, so a different mindset is needed. To be honest though, the mist and fog made the trip really atmospheric and I still had a fantastic time slowly passing through the fyords without and of the distractions of the modern world around me.
Is Internet Available?
No, there’s no wifi on board and you won’t get a phone signal until you’re back in Port, apart from maybe a brief signal at Puerto Aden. In my view this is a good thing as it really gives you time to switch off.
Are Delays Likely?
Yes. When you book this trip make sure you give yourself at least a day’s buffer before doing any other activities on the other side.
There are a number of things that can hold up the passage…
The weather needs to be good, you need to be at certain places at a certain time in order to make the tides, and even docking in Puerto Natales can take hours as even with a slight wind it’s really difficult to dock in the Port.
We had to wait about 3 hours on arrival in order to get off the ship, so be prepared for delays.
What Wildlife will I See?
Of course, it’s a complete lottery to what you can see and hanging around on deck as long as possible is going to give you the biggest chance of spotting some wildlife.
The good news is that as there are a lot of people on board, if there is something to see, someone is likely to spot it and the news spreads quickly around the ship.
For example, I was upside down in a yoga class doing the downward dog, when people started leaving one by one to go out on deck. We ran and joined them to witness the spectacle of a Mother with her baby Orca Whale jumping out of the water…
There’s also a good chance that you’ll spot some hump back whales, or at least like we did you’ll see and hear them expressing air through their blow holes.
Seals and sea lions will accompany you for a large part of the trip and if you’re lucky you’ll pick up a squad of passing dolphins as well.
If you’re a twitcher as well then there’s a wide variety of birdlife that you can see from the ship, the most famous being the huge-winged Albatross.
If you liked this article, then why not PIN IT as well!!!