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Seakayaking Chiloe wetlands Chepu river & Penguins tour (2 days)

Kayaking the Wetland of Chepu River in Chiloe Island

General Information


Why Chiloé ?

It is an archipelago formed by the Isla Grande and two hundred smaller islets, with a total population of 100.000 inhabitants. Within the island exists a central valley habitually in all of the national territory which sinks, giving rise to an interior sea, the coastal cordillera is fragmented into multiple islands and the Andean mountains give clarity to the oceans limits.

It is a land and sea of myths and legends, history, traditions and customs and traditional celebrations offered by the people.

The story goes back to 1540s where the island of Chiloe was viewed by the early Spanish explorers

Isolated from the rest of Chile during the colonial centuries, it developed it's own culture; populated by fantastic and mythological beings who have distinct music, food and architecture. 

Chiloe Church

Chiloé invites tourists to visit its churches built in the XVIII and XIX century from noble wood such as larch and cypress, 16 of which have been declared World Heritage Sites; to see their sailors sailing in their boats through the channels and islands; to know their country works through agrotourism; their cities and homes built on palafitos (stilt houses) -; the beautiful landscapes and customs and traditional celebrations; their unique gastronomy based on fish and seafood and most of all to feel the hospitality of its people.

What do we offer ?

A multiactivity nature cultural tour for people that respect the nature and the local people .

A trip that combines multicultural experiences amongst a marvelous and authentic scenery in the south of Chile.

A trip for  travelers who wish to experience more than just the beautiful sights by promoting interaction with the local culture

Sea kayaking and trekking, at a remote, rural site on Chiloe's Pacific coast

Seakayak at Dawn , an unique experience with the  first sun rays and the amazing sound of different birds

Just us on the paddle - nice to get off the main tourist trail.

Visit Chepu, an unique place in a remote part of Chiloe Island.

Hike the spectacular Chiloe coast line, discover a stunning natural treasure

Level Suitable for active travelers, that like to travel in small groups, connecting nature and local culture.


Northern Patagonia
Duration 2 Days
Time of Year

All year , upon request


Please Ask

Trip Details Begin/Ends in Puerto Varas
Number of participants 8 persons
Lodging 1 night with local chilote family
Itinerary Itinerary
Climate Weather in the zone
Photography Opportunities Chiloe churches museum, chiloe village and it´s church; spanish forts, sea kayaking in the Dead Tree Valley of Chepu river ,   variety of marine birds, spectacular views of chiloe cliffs, trekking in the coastline with magnificent formations
(not incuded)

Other seakayak trips in the area:

*Seakayak Mechuque Archipielago in Chiloe.(5days)

* Northern Patagonia Fjords of Pumalin Park (4,6 days)

* Todos los Santos Lake (1-3 days)

* Reloncavi Fjord (1-3 days)

* Discover Cochamo Valley horseride and Hike ( 1 Day)

* Horseriding and trekking PUELO river valley
(2 Days)


*Visit Chiloe Churches Museum , *visit Ancud Historic Museum
* Hike along the rough Pacific coast or visit to the penguin colony of Puñihuil in Chiloe
*navigation in seakayaks in the Dead Tree Valley of Chepu river (wetland, flat river)
* authentic interaction with the local peolple while we stay with them.

Suggested Gear Please Ask
How to get to Puerto Varas ?


Fly to Santiago airport and then fly 1.5 hours to Puerto Montt airport , then take a 30 minutes taxi to Puerto Varas


DAY 1:

(Puerto Varas
- Chiloe Island : Chiloe Churches mini Museum - Chiloe Ancud Historic Museum - Penguin colony of Puñihuil or Trekking Chiloe Coastline)

Puñihuil Penguin Colony
Puñihuil Penguin Colony in Chiloe Coastline close to Ancud.

Puñihuil Penguin colony At 8 AM we will meet in Puerto Varas. This is a small pleasant city 20 km north of Puerto Montt, located along the shores of Llanquihue Lake and in front of Osorno volcano.

We will have to drive south east for one hour for a 30 minute ferry crossing through the Chacao Channel till Chiloe Archipiélago, located inmediately north of Corcovado Gulf.

As soon as we arrive to the town of Ancud, we will visit a kind of museum installed in an old church , where are represented in scale , samples of the Churches of Chiloe that are declared by UNESCO as World Heritage.

While we visit the place, we will receive complete information about them. Also there you can see some original parts that are being restored by chilote wooden artisans.

After this we will go to visit the Ancud Museum , to have an idea of the geographical, historical and cultural dimensions of this island. Then go for lunch (not included) and inmediately after, we will drive west , close to Quetalmahue Gulf.

September till March:
When we arrive at the Pacific Coast we embark in boats to get to the unique penguin colony on the islands off the coast of Puñihuil– the only place in the world where Humboldt and Magellan penguins nest side by side. It is not allowed to leave the boat, because these are protected breeding grounds. The area is very rich and supports many other species, including 3 species of nesting cormorants (Red-legged, Rock & Imperial), Kelp Geese, three gull species, skuas, Blackish and Magellanic Oyster Catchers, sometimes sea otters , flightless steamer duck).Some penguins start arriving in August , mostly from September till March. If we have time we will go for an short hike to have an idea of the area where we are.

From April till August :
After visiting Ancud, when we arrive at the Pacific coast , we will start a trekking in the rugged Chiloe coastline , with impressive views of the sea.

In the afternoon we will drive south by rolling hills and beautiful farmlands to a special zone, the Dead Valley of Rio Chepu (Chepu River). This tidal effected valley dropped 2 m (7 ft) during the massive earthquake in 1960, which formed huge wetlands at the juncture of two flat rivers.

We will spend the night at a local chiloe family house sharing with them their dinner and learning from their stories. (B-L-D)

Chiloe roads conecting culture and nature
Chiloe roads conecting culture and nature

DAY 2:

(Sea kayaking and birwatching at Dawn in the Dead Tree Valley wetlands of Chepu River

Early in the morning, after a fresh breakfast , the exploration starts ....

Chepu River wetland  in Chiloe
Dead Tree Valley in the Wetlands of Chepu River

Why we choose to paddle our seakayaks in the Dead Valley of Chepu River ?

If you like nature and appreciate tranquility, this is the right spot for you.

The wetlands of Chepu were created in 1960 when there was an earthquake, the largest earthquake recorded to date, , which sunk the ground by 2m. It let salt water in and that killed thousands of trees, so the whole area is covered with grey ghostly tree skeletons surrounded by lush green forests and grasslands, naked trees which give this spot a mystic touch.

This area is a combination of extensive coastline and complex wetlands , bays and estuaries , intricate river networks.... a top-quality birding place.

We travel silently by kayak up this flat river, past the remnants of the submerged forest, and look for birds, such as the Snowy, Great and Cattle Egrets, the Cocoi (White-necked) Heron, White-winged & Redgartered Coots, White-tufted & Great Grebe, and the Spectacled Duck. This unique area is home and nesting area to more than 60 species of birds, offering a special opportunity for observation. The mixture of forest, freshwater and tidal areas offers a wide range of species to observe, making this a wonderful day of birding.

The plan is to start kayaking at dawn so you can experience the sunrise over the water , listen the first birds , to be alone in a kayak surrounded by dead trees, wetlands, and rare and endemic birds that stay quiet while you picture them .....all this will make you feel in a different time and space. While we paddle we will stop for a boxlunch and continue exploring this special place.
In the afternoon, early dinner (not included) and return to Puerto Varas at night / (B-BL-D).

It is characterized by a temperate maritime rainy climate, but not particularly cold; the average annual temperature is 10,7ºC. The best weather is found between October and April. Summer temperatures are nice and with occasional rainfall.


  • Swimming expertise.
  • Physical state and health compatible with the activity to be performed. 
  • Previous indication of any illness or health problem 
  • Positive attitude in front of unexpected situations. You'll find your trip even more enjoyable if you remember to bring flexibility and a sense of humor with you.
  • Understand that this kind of trips requieres team work meanaing the participation of each person at each stage .  
  • Understand that all activities performed in nature can indicate some risk. 
  • The program could be modified at any stage due to weather conditions or sudden incidents that could affect the security of the group 
  • Before trip starts you must send us signed the Release of Liability Form. and the Reservation and Medical Forms that appears after you press the Reservation Button.
  • To have read and have a clear understanding of the Terms and Conditions section.

  • SMALL GROUPS, maximum of 8 (safety and respect for the environment and the local colonos) 
  • Authentic interaction with the local people we meet in the area.  

  • Safety talk about paddling and rescue techniques.
  • Penguin colony boat trip
  • Lodging in local chiloe family house
  • Transportation in private vehicle Puerto Varas-Chiloé-Puerto Varas.
  • Ferry tickets to cross the Chacao Channel 
  • All the food from lunch day 1 till lunch day 2
    (Breakfast / L: box lunch / D: dinner)
  • Complete Paddling Equipment : expedition double sea kayaks imported from the USA, Germany and Canada , with  original rudder, spray skirt, paddles, life jackets, paddling jackets , paddle float and pumps.
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite Telephone, VHF Marine Radio, towing equipment, tide tables.
  • Guide: certified as BCU 4 STAR Seakayak Award, English speaking guide with NOLS trainning, first aid and rescue knowledge  (Wilderness First Responder Course).


* This is not an ornithological tour.
* We must state that the success of this type of trips is subject to unexpected weather and personal situations, so a positive attitude , an adventurous spirit and good disposition will be fundamental.


AFTER  you press the RESERVATION button, send us an email specifying:
- Your Name , age
- Name of the trip you want  (number of days)
- Number of participants
- Date of the trip you want (and your availability)

* we will send you a Reservation and Medical Forms that you have to send us back by email.

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