Enjoy the charm of Puerto Bertrand, the village that hosts the headwaters for the beautiful and powerful Baker River. Puerto Bertrand is your basecamp for all things Baker so pick your passion; rafting, fishing, or kayaking, and head this way.
The town of Puerto Bertrand is home for a little more than a hundred people. Some are Patagones and the rest are relative newcomers who, quite rightly, have fallen in love with this small and secluded place. What attracts them? In part it’s the peace that comes from living among the native forests and crystal-clear waters of Lake Bertrand, but above all, it’s the pride that comes from living so close to the Baker River, with its unique turquoise waters, powerful flows, and excellent fly-fishing.
The location of the village makes it a great starting point for excursions and expeditions into the interior valleys and glaciers that descend from the Northern Patagonia Ice Fields. Whether you prefer hiking, horse treks, adventures on the ice, or kayak expeditions, Bertrand is your place to start.
There are several local artisans who offer traditional crafts, especially hand-woven textiles, and if you're here during the third week of March, you can be part of a lively festival that attracts people from across the region to celebrate the anniversary of the pueblo; dancing the “chámame”, a Patagonian classic, and other popular dances like the ranchera and the cumbia. During the celebration, the town sponsors one of the oldest and most important fishing tournaments of the region, attracting fly-fishing fanatics from all over the world.
Living in Bertrand and exploring the sector’s forests, rivers, and lakes, provides local guides with the knowledge and expertise they need to share this amazing place with visitors, and a special sensitivity for their natural environment that is contagious. With luck, you will have the opportunity to have local guides leading your excursions; and if you do, listen attentively and absorb their wisdom; perhaps your experience in Patagonia will turn out to be much more than a simple trip.
Bertrand Lake is fed by the waters of Chile's largest lake, the General, and returns the favor by giving life to the Baker River, the most powerful river of the country. At the meeting of these two giants of Aysén, there is a small, quiet town, almost completely protected from the stormy winds that descend from the Northern Patagonia Ice Fields. Puerto Bertrand’s charm and location have produced a small, close-knit collection of great cabañas, fishing lodges, restaurants and outfitters, who provide excellent opportunities for all kinds of excursions and expeditions in the sector.
The Baker River begins in the southern end of Bertrand Lake and transports a tremendous freshwater flow from the Northern Patagonia Ice Fields to the Fjords in Tortel. Its color is one-of-a-kind, thanks to the glacial sediments that provide the intensity of its turquoise and (depending on the section), a clarity or cloudiness that is equally intense. The recognition of this river as "the most powerful in Chile" makes it sound pretty intimidating; however, several of its sections are perfectly apt for kayaking, fishing and rafting.
El Potro Rapid
Once on the raft the excitement begin immediately; a short 400 m into the trip, you’ll be challenged with the first rapid, which is categorized as 3 - 3+ during the summer and called “El Potro”, (the colt) because you’ll be thrown around like a rodeo rider on a wild horse
El Reservado Rapid
A little further down you'll confront the "Reservada", (reserved) rapid named for those colts that are reserved for only the best riders. The large waves in this section will make your five meter long raft seem little more than a tiny leaf being playfully tossed along in the water.
The trip ends on a beach, where the BPA support team will be waiting for you with dry clothes and a snack. Don't forget to take a few photos with your travel companions so you can show off the incredible accomplishment of rafting the waters of the Baker, one of the most respected and admired Rivers of Patagonia.
Baker Patagonia Adventure (BPA)
Reservations: You can book directly with Baker Patagonia Adventure (BPA), by email firstname.lastname@example.org, through their web site www.bakerpatagonia.com, or in person at the office located by the waterfront of Puerto Bertrand. You can also coordinate your reservations with the Casa del Turismo Rural (House of the Rural Tourism), located in Coyhaique the tourist information kiosk alongside of the Plaza de Arms; (067) 2524929; www.casaturismorural.cl.