For those of you that have the luxury of time on your travels this ferry is a great way to get from Punta Arenas to Isla Navarino and afterwards Ushuaia. The Yaghan Ferry is operated by Transbordadora Austral Broom and has a weekly service every Thursday, Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams.
The ferry travels south and east through the Alberto de Agostini National Park and then along the Beagle Channel, named so for Charles Darwin’s ship that sailed through here back in the 19th century, past Ushuaia to the Isla Navarino. The views outside the ferry are amazing – glaciers, waterfalls, islands, snow capped mountains, and an abundance of sea life. We spotted many animals including sea lions, dolphins and lots of birds. The dolphins even put on a show in front of one of the glaciers to the delight of everyone on board.
You need to book at least a day or two in advance and be aware that the company holds seats for Isla Navarino residents that are released to the public 24 hours before departure.
From Calle 21 de Mayo in centro Punta Arenas you can get a Collectivo number 15 or 20 ($450clp pp) to take you to the Terminal de Ferry where you can buy your semi-cama (Pullman seat 150 degrees recline) ticket for $102,000clp (cash only). The cama ticket is $140,000clp (a seat that reclines 180 degrees).
The ferry leaves at 6pm with boarding commencing at 5pm. You are served dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner again before arriving 30 hours later at around 11pm. Passengers were welcome to sleep the second night on the boat and disembark the next morning, which is great if you’re looking to offset the ticket cost with another nights accomodation.
The boat has a separate dining area, toilets, showers, and viewing deck. There is tea and coffee available the whole trip and you can drink the water – but I would advise to bring your own as it had a very weird metallic taste, which made it unpalatable. I also suggest bringing snacks with you as the meals are small and they don’t sell food on board. There are loads of power points so you can use your devices to play games and watch movies, although there’s no wifi.
Some people on board were heading to Isla Navarino to do the Dientes De Navarino trek. Others were just here to sight see and once they got to Puerto Williams they flew straight back out. This is why I think the price is so high.
The ferry also returns to Punta Arenas every Saturday evening but be aware that the ferry passes through the national park at night so the views on the return trip aren’t as impressive. But you may not have an option if you can’t get off the island!