Cerro Castillo Hike - 5 Days

An experience to the far reaches of Patagonia - Chile

Cerro Castillo Hike - 5 Days

An experience to the far reaches of Patagonia - Chile

Located in the lesser known Cerro Castillo National Reserve in northern Chile, Cerro Castillo is a magical location that remains off the beaten track. This hiking paradise is full of rugged peaks, glaciers and turquoise lakes.


November - April, Daily departures on request

Starting / Finishing Points:
  • The trip starts on Friday and finishes on Tuesday with pick up and drop off at Balmaceda Airport.
  • Flights should arrive between 3:30pm - 5:00 pm and should depart after 5:00 pm.
  • One of the best hikes through one of Patagonia’s lesser-known corners
  • Cerro Castillo Mountain
  • Portezuelo El Peñon
  • Challenging off the beaten path experience
  • The pristine beauty of the Aysen Region
Brief Itinerary:

Distance: 47km (29 mile)

Difficulty: Difficult - Only those with a good level of fitness

  • Day 1 (Friday): Arrival to Balmaceda, transfer to Villa Cerro Castillo  
  • Day 2 (Saturday): Trek Starts - Trek to El Turbio
  • Day 3 (Sunday): Trek to La Tetera through El Peñon del Portezuelo
  • Day 4 (Monday): Trek to El Neozelandes
  • Day 5 (Tuesday): Trek to Duff Lagoon and exit to the trail to Villa Cerro Castillo. Transfer to Balmaceda.

Local guest house at Villa Cerro Castillo (Night 1)

Your first night will be spent in a rustic, local guesthouse with simple but comfortable facilities.

Tents (Nights 2-4):

Typical mountain tents are used with enough room for 2 people to overnight in comfortable conditions. We provide all the camping gear but you have to bring your own sleeping pad and sleeping bag. Our team will set up the tents each evening at the camping site.

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Trip Itinerary

DAY 1 : Arrival to Aysen Region

Balmaceda and Villa Cerro Castillo, Chile

Following your 2 ½ hour flight from Santiago to Balmaceda Airport, we will pick you up from the airport and make the 1 ½ hour scenic drive to the town of Cerro Castillo in Northern Patagonia. We’ll take you to your bed and breakfast to get settled in, and then head into town for dinner and to go over tomorrow’s trek with your guides.

  • Overnight at Guesthouse in Villa Cerro Castillo

DAY 2: Cerro Castillo Trek Begins

Cerro Castillo National Park, Chile

We begin the first day by hiking approximately 15 kilometers along the trail known as “Las Horquetas.” You will follow an old logging road for about two hours, which gently winds through the mountain valley passing the camps of local gauchos who used to take their livestock into the mountains in the summer months. You’ll make your first stream crossing here and get a glimpse of the crystal clear waters of Patagonia.  At the Reserve entrance, you’ll register your details with the Park wardens and then continue hiking 2 km, until you reach Camp Turbio and set up camp ready to spend your first night.

  • Overnight at Camp Turbio

DAY 3: First Challenge, Portezuelo El Penon

Cerro Castillo National Park, Chile

Your second day of trekking begins by following the Turbio River through the valley until the ascent into the mountains. You’ll then cross Pinon Pass, which has an altitude of 1,300 meters, and which has a challenging descent along loose, steep rock scree and even a small amount of snow (except February and March).  After making your way past the hanging Pinon Glacier and over the pass, we will arrive at the campsite, La Tetera Camp, where our guides will help us settle in and where we will rest until the next day.

  • Overnight at La Tetera Camp

DAY 4: Laguna Cerro Castillo to El Neozelandes Camp

- Cerro Castillo National Park, Chile

After an early start, we continue to the famous lagoon of Cerro Castillo. You’ll take a short break here to take in the scenery and marvel down at the valley you have spent the last two days hiking through, before gathering yourself up to continue on. We climb up Morro Negro, reaching 1,700 meters, and then descend down the steep rock scree to Camp Porteadores. From here we continue to the upper camp, Camp Neozelandes, where you can check out views of the North face of Cerro Castillo and the glacial basin making up Castillo and Cerro Palo.

  • Overnight at El Neozelandés Camp

DAY 5: Laguna Duff and fisnish of Hike

- Cerro Castillo National Park, Chile

Depending on how you feel, you can walk to Lake Duff for a quick dip in its glacial waters. Afterward, we descend down the mountain back to the trailhead and make our way through Southern Beech forest to Villa Cerro Castillo. After a yummy lunch, we have time for a shower before continuing our journey to the airport.

Additional Trip Info

  • All ground transport - as indicated in the itinerary
  • 1-night in a local guesthouse at Villa Cerro Castillo (double room)
  • 3 nights camping
  • Park fees at Cerro Castillo National Park
  • One expert English-speaking trekking guide
  • Porters
  • Meals(B: breakfast, TF: trail food, L: lunch, D: dinner)
  • Day 1: D
  • Day 2: B, TF, D
  • Day 3: B, TF, D
  • Day 4: B, TF, D
  • Day 5: B, L

*Note: Please be aware you will have to carry your own backpack, daily snack, mat & sleeping bag

  • Flight tickets
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue
  • Tipping of guides and staff (voluntary)
  • Mat & sleeping bags
  • Items of a personal nature

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