While the length of the Carretera Austral in Chile’s Northern Patagonia is nothing less than spectacular, the town of Caleta Tortel, the Patagonian Venice, captures the adventurous spirit and magic of the region better than any other place, yet is still relatively unknown and undiscovered. Sitting on the crème de menthe colored Rio Baker, the small lumber town clings to the hillsides and waterfront via hundreds of wooden walkways that span the entire length of the maze like town. Snow capped mountains, fjords, and cypress forests inspire you at every turn. Apart from a parking lot above town, there are no cars here. Tortel is the place everyone has always imagined existed in Patagonia, but never knew existed or could even get there previously if they wanted to as the road here was only finished in 2003. A $3 billion hydroelectric project, Hidro Aysén, could drastically affect the way of life here and has been met with mass protest in Chile. Currently, the project is stalled.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.