The Wonders of Aysen, Chilean Patagonia

    Puyuhuapi Hot Springs, Credit-termasdupuyuhuapi.com

Puyuhuapi Hot Springs, Credit-termasdupuyuhuapi.com

Ecotourism and Adventure tourism lovers will find in the most southerly regions of Chile an spectacular, untouched Nature that will give them a magnificent scenery to achieve their goals.  The Patagonia, Chilean side, is made up by the Regions of Aysen  (a deformation of the English words “Ice End”)  and the Region de Magallanes y Antartica Chilena.

Chile’s XI th region of Aysen is a territory that covers an area of 108,494 Km2 of a wild geography, full of fascinating landscapes, with too little human intervention, almost in natural state, besides being a paradise for rafting and recreational fishing lovers. The most common access is by plane through Balmaceda’s airport,  55 Km. away from Coyhaique, the regional capital.  You can also reach Aysen by land from the North, from the neighbouring X th Region of Los Lagos or from Argentina through any the existing border passes (Coyhaique Alto, Balmaceda, Jeinimeni, etc.). Another option to get here is through the port of Chacabuco,  which is connected by paved road with the regional capital.

The “Carretera Austral” (Austral Road), considered one of the most lovely roads in the World  because of its extraordinary scenic beauty, with more than 1,200 Km. trajectory crosses almost entirely the Region, offering gorgeous views from Puerto Montt on the North  down to the village of Villa O’ Higgins, gateway to the South Ice Fields. The route is sometimes rough, sometimes smooth but, fascinating from beginning to end. The road begins its journey in Puerto Montt, capital of Chile’s X th Region, standing out as main attractions, just for mentioning some places: the village of Hornopiren, near the volcano of the same name, emerging tourist center from where you can visit several hot springs such as  Llancahue, Pichicolo, Cahuelmo and  Termas de Porcelana (Porcelain Hot Springs ), name derived from the kaolin deposits existing in the area, going to the South you will reach Parque Pumalin, the largest private Natural Park in Chile, with millenary larch woods and plenty of incredible natural beauties, the Puyuhuapi and Ventisquero hot springs complexes,  Queulat National Park, of a wild geography and mostly virgin, Lake Elizalde, the region’s most well known, paradise for anglers because of  the surrounding beauty and great abundance of Trout, the Catedral de Marmol (Marble Cathedral), an aquatic wonder that Nature has carved at Lake General Carrera.

Marble Cathedral

Marble Cathedral, Credit- Patagoniatips.cl

There are also many other attractions for the Nature-loving tourist, however stands out the Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, south from Puerto Aysen and Coyhaique, the region’s main cities. This is the region’s largest National Park, within a coastal area of 1,742,000 Hs., that includes part of the  Campo de Hielo Patagonico Norte (North Ice Fields), a huge glacial ice-cap of approximately 120 Km long by 50 Km wide, without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Also within the Park limits is located Laguna  San Rafael, a small inlet of the Pacific Ocean that gives name to the Park. Here, a great Glacier, formed at least 30,000 years ago, meets the shore. The view of the Glacier, the ever-green forests, the flora and fauna and the surrounding luminosity make of the area a wonderful postcard. Other smaller National Parks and not for that less beautiful are  Isla Magdalena (157,616 Hs.), Queulat (154,093 Hs.), Isla Guamblin (10,625 Hs.). It is also worth mentioning that in Aysen is located part of Bernardo O’ Higgins  Park, Chile’s largest National Park, with a surface area of 3,524,648 Hs., whose major part lies southwards, in the Region de Magallanes y Antartica Chilena. Here, the Campo de Hielo Sur (South Ice Field),  with its 13,000 Km2 constitute one of the the largest ice masses after the Antarctic Continent.

A vast array of rivers and lakes has also turned this region into a major attraction center for sport fishing lovers that come from all over the globe. The Baker River stands out as Chile’s mightiest river as well as Simpson, Aysen, Palena, Lakes Riesco, Los Palos, General Carrera, etc. The most well-known species are Fario, Rainbow, and Brown Trout, Steelhead, Silver,  Chinook and Atlantic Salmon. It is necessary a Fishing License granted by the Chilean authority. The turbulent waters of River Baker with its exciting rapids also make of it one of the most privileged places for the practice of rafting and kayak.

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