The Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

On Thursday July 7, my father and I went on a cruise from Puerto Natales to the glaciers of Balmaceda and Serrano. We booked the tour the day before at the agency Tourismo 21 de Mayo. The cost was 80’000 pesos per person for a full-day. Included in the price : the bus transfer, the cruise, the guide, lunch, tea and coffee on the boat.

The meeting point was at 7:30 am at the agency. From there we took a bus that drove us to the port where we got on the boat. Of course as we are in winter, it was dark in the morning. The sun rises at 9am and it sets down around 5pm so there are not many hours of daylight. It was also cold, but luckily I was wearing thermal clothes, a down jacket, a gore-tex ski jacket, a warm hat and a pair of gloves which was perfect. The weather in Patagonia can change very quickly.

We cruised along the fjords for about 3 hours and on the way we saw magnificent mountains and beautiful waterfalls. Then we arrived to the first glacier : the Balmaceda glacier. About 35 years ago, the base of the glacier was at sea level. Every year it recedes 10 to 15 m. The colour of the ice is blue and you can see all the cracks.

We continued navigating towards the Serrano Glacier. This one is not directly situated on the sea so we walked for about 30 minutes to the base of the ice giant. The walk was very nice, along the Patagonian forest were the smell of the nature is so good ! At the base of the Glacier, there is a lake where icebergs are floating. The glacier is still on the lake level, unlike Belmaceda but it is also melting, unfortunately. When we got to the view point we were close to the base and we could hear the sound of the ice cracking and falling which was very impressive and a perfect example of the force of Mother Nature – it’s so astonishing !

When we got back on the boat, the guide served us a whisky with an ice cube from the glacier. Somebody was very happy, my dad (he has a fine whisky knowledge and he loves it). I’m not a massive fan but I did drink half a glass then I gave the rest to my dad. I think it’s the first whisky I’ve ever drunk in my life – which is quite cool as I am in Patagonia, my dreamland.

We cruised for another two hours before we arrived in the Estancia where we had lunch (around 2pm). I was really hungry when I got there and was totally full when I left. We had a good soup as a starter then a lamb barbecue, the meat was delicious. To be fair, I haven’t been disappointed once with the meat in Chile.

After our late lunch we went back to the boat which then sailed back to Puerto Natales. We had an amazing day and I’m so glad we did this tour. The weather wasn’t the greatest but it could have been worse. In the afternoon is started raining but during the important part of the trip we were dry.

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