Cruising Through The Fjords and Glaciers of Chile

I read a brochure about a small boat called the M/N Skorpios I that cruised through the Fjords of Chile over 20 years ago. ex-Marine (husband, Steve) and I were in the process of putting together an ambitious trip that included: Buenos Aires, Argentina; a flight to Bariloche; a surface crossing through Argentina’s Lake Country to Peulla by boat and bus; overnight in Peulla; followed by a public bus crossing to Puerto Montt, Chile. This is where the 7-night Skorpios cruise begins and ends so we happily added it to the itinerary. After the cruise, we flew to Santiago for a few days.

An obscure mention about the Skorpios in a magazine had brought this cruise to my attention. Even our travel agent had never heard about this cruise. Never deterred, I added it to the itinerary without thinking twice. Perhaps, I should have thought twice.

generalized map of Chile cruise area

In the meantime, who would have thunk that the Chicago Bears would actually go to the Super Bowl in 1986? Not us and we would be out of the country when they played. All those disappointing years and now they go to the Super Bowl? ex-Marine was devastated but the arrangements were set in stone and he’d have to live with it. I won’t go into the gory details how he ran around Buenos Aires like a maniac trying to get Super Bowl information on the big day including trying to muscle his way in the American Embassy. This was 1986. Hotels didn’t use cable or satellite. Remember the olden days? Perhaps not.

This series is going to concentrate strictly the the original cruise from Puerto Montt down to Laguna San Rafael which still operates and is worth doing. Cruceros Maritimes Skorpios now has several cruise vessels, and one, the M/N Skorpios III cruises to the Patagonian Ice Fields. Therefore, only the relevant planning information is given.

Skorpios San Rafael general route

Air? Many airlines fly from the United States into Santiago, Chile. American, Delta, LAN, Continental, Air Canada, Aeromexico. And then continue on LAN Airlines down to Puerto Montt. From Europe, you can look into: Iberia, Lufthansa, Tam and Swiss International flights.

Travel Insurance? Travel insurance is a must for us. Just enough to cover the tour costs. This was a lengthy trip and I’d hate to lose the entire amount due to any kind of an emergency. Travel Guard provides coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation, baggage damage, and much more and that is who we use.

Clothes? No suits and ties needed for men or long dresses for women. A very casual cruise but we would need some warmer clothing for Glacier excursions.


– Three meals a day AND wine

– Accommodations (we chose the least expensive stateroom)

– All excursions

Nothing else to know, we were off for a three-week trip to South America…

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