Written by quinius on 31 Jul, 2005
Getting to the town of Chaiten comes at a cost. If we're talking dollars, then the price is nothing, but if we're talking physical and emotional toil, then one might consider the cost high. The ferry ride to Chaiten is definitely one I…Read More
Getting to the town of Chaiten comes at a cost. If we're talking dollars, then the price is nothing, but if we're talking physical and emotional toil, then one might consider the cost high. The ferry ride to Chaiten is definitely one I will not forget.
I had already been in Chile for around 5 months, so I was somewhat used to what we experienced, but I cannot say the same for my friend, whose first experience in Chile was this ferry ride. The ferry lasts around 8 to 12 hours if I remember correctly, but that all depends on how many hours after the estimated departure you actually leave. Unfortunately, they were running on "Chilean time" the day we were riding, so they ran about 3 hours behind schedule.
The inside of the boat kind of looks like movie-theatre seating (not stadium seating). It's rather cramped, so try and get an aisle seat, because I'm sure you'll take frequent trips outside to get fresh air. The schedule of ferry trips is rather erratic at times, but check the Rough Guide for a rough estimate on when the ferries leave. There is a snack bar on the ferry that sells candy/drinks/hot dogs if you get hungry. There is no way to upgrade to a nice private room or anything, but it’s only about a 12-hour trip, and it was well worth it once we got to Chaiten and began our adventures. You can also fly to Chaiten, but it is much more expensive. I would recommend the ferry over the flight because you save a ton of money and it’s a great opportunity to experience the culture, meet many interesting people, and touch up on your Spanish. I would also suggest taking the ferry through the night, because I could imagine that the day ferry could be quite a long trip if you are not tired enough to sleep.
Again, this trip is probably suited more to the backpackers and is probably not a ferry for the five-star hotel tourist. There is actually a faster ferry that takes about half as long, but it costs a little more. This would be a good option as well.