Where the Río Baker meets the sea, Caleta Tortel is a distinctively picturesque fishing village with no streets in the traditional sense—boardwalks and staircases link its houses and businesses. For nearly half a century the only access to this isolated hamlet (founded 1955) was either slow or expensive—or both—by air, river, or sea. Since the road link opened from the Carretera Austral, though, it’s accessible overland.
In addition to the town itself—a real charmer—there is hiking to destinations such as Cerro La Bandera or, more ambitiously, to Cascada Pisagua, which requires hiring a launch to the trailhead.
Caleta Tortel (population 507) is about 130 kilometers southeast of Cochrane  via the Carretera Austral and a westbound lateral along the Río Baker’s south bank. Motor vehicles arrive at a parking lot at the Rincón Alto sector, from which it’s necessary to wheel or haul your luggage down Tortel’s steep staircases (and back up when you leave).
For accommodations, backpackers’ choice Hospedaje Celes Salom (US$7.50 pp) also serves meals. Traditionally the town’s best, Hostal Costanera (Antonio Ronchi 141, tel. 067/234815, US$15 pp with shared bath) has one exceptional room with high ceilings and sea views, but all the others are more than acceptable. It’s getting competition, though, from two bright new places: across-the-boardwalk Hospedaje Estilo (US$13 pp), which also serves meals, and Hospedaje Don Adán (hospedaje_donadan [at] chile [dot] com, US$13 pp).
For the freshest fish possible, head to El Mirador (Sector Base s/n, whose picture windows provide broad panoramas of the harbor and mountains. This is river salmon, not farmed, and while the preparation may be unsophisticated, the quality is high; there are often catch-of-the-day specials such as merluza (hake) and reineta. A three-course meal costs around US$9.
At the parking lot, the Municipalidad maintains a small but helpful tourist office that has sometimes has maps and offers suggestions for hikes and excursions. They can also help arrange six-hour boat trips to nearby glaciers (US$300 for up to 10 people).
Transporte Aéreo Don Carlos flies Wednesdays to Coyhaique  (US$32) from the airstrip immediately east of town.
From the parking lot above town, Buses Acuario 13 links Tortel with Cochrane  (US$9, three hours) at 3:30 p.m. daily except Monday and Saturday.