What to do in Chaitén?
Places to see
A must-see in Chaitén is the Desertores Islands, here lives an important part of the indigenous people of the commune. You can go for the day or stay in one of its six islands, sharing with its inhabitants.
In Chana, the wetlands offer bird sightings, including black-necked swans and flamingos. From here, through the Coastal sector; Casa Pesca, Pumalín Bay, Loyola and Chumeldén, you reach the Corrales de Piedra, original passive fishing systems built by the ancient inhabitants.
In the Comau Peninsula: the bays of Buil, Ayacara and Poyo, are connected by boat with Caleta Gonzalo, the North entrance of the Pumalín Park. The park has more than 402,232 hectares full of biodiversity. It offers different trekking trails and sightings of native fauna, including the elusive whales. For climbers, there are huge granite walls and glaciers.
After the eruption of 2008, the Chaitén Volcano continues to emanate steam. In few places in the world, you can see such a spectacle of nature. The porcelain geysers; do not miss them! If you want something more central, the Termas de El Amarillo are in the middle of the forest. Villa Santa Lucía and Villa Vanguardia offer the Patagonian mountain landscape par excellence. For recreational fishing, the Yelcho Lake is recommended and from here a path to the Yelcho Glacier ends in front of a huge wall of ice.
On Santa Bárbara beach, almost hidden in the middle of the landscape, you can see Toninas (Chilean dolphin), sea lions and even penguins and the mysterious and imposing Vilcún Hill. To end the day, the sector of Chaitén Viejo, at the outlet of the Yelcho River falls, is ideal for the last mates, accompanied by one of the best sunsets in the commune.
The Chucao is a faithful companion in all kinds of excursions and walks through the parks and corners of our Green Patagonia. A very curious and friendly bird, if you hear it sing from your right, they say it brings you luck.
A 6 km long, breathtaking trail. Explore this interesting route, suitable for all ages, where family recreation, adventure through forests, and the imposing presence of the Ventisquero are combined.
People to meet
If you dream of the sea, immerse yourself in the life and culture of the Desertores Islands, with its Boatmen, full of stories of survival under a rigorous climate. Discover the Comau Peninsula, fertile territory by the sea with local charms. There, the Artisanal Miners cross the rivers in search of gold nuggets, and the Folk Musicians will show you their history through songs and verses.
Visit the Traditional Fishermen, you will learn about the traditional fishing and diving techniques, while enjoying the stunning landscapes, or meet the Shellfish Collectors, and discover where the best seafood of the commune is. Also learn about the old Stone Corrales and their passive fishing technique.
Discover the tradition of the Vegetable fibers Weavers and the baskets made with manila and jonquil. If you do not know the trade of the Spinners, do not forget to visit the women who work with their sheep and make art with wool. Learn the ancestral technique of natural dyeing and find out about the traditional garments used in the sea. Towards Santa Lucia and Villa Vanguardia you can find Muleteers and Drovers with their horses and their dogs.
The wood has always been fundamental in this commune. The Loggers go through the woods looking for heat for homes, the Plowmen produce old-fashioned houses, and the Wooden craftsmen make wonderful furniture and utensils and in recent years they have also made sculptures and works by chainsaw. The construction technique of the marvelous boats of the Shore Carpenters, is found along the coast and dazzles those who have the opportunity to share with them
What to try
Eating in Chaitén is a unique experience. The influence from Chiloé is always present with the Milcaos and curanto, the fusion of coastal products mixed with what is grown in the mountains. Also highlights the lamb casserole with luche, a seaweed that is extracted from the sea. Here they smoke fish, in addition to seafood, fish and you can try seabass with gravy called Róbalo al Aguaite.
The cabbage becomes protagonist in a soup of smoked razon clams with cabbage or the traditional chilote casserole containing smoked mussels, potatoes and vegetables from the orchard and the inevitable cabbage. Another dish is the delicious Puelche Rice. On the beaches the Sierra on the stick is improvised, or the Fishermen’s Barbeque, or cancato on the quila. In a bonfire after collecting wood, women prepare tortillas on the embers accompanied by mate and plum jam. And the day ends with a delicious Nalca Sour.
Fish in Quila
Born from the wit of the fishermen, who arrived on land hungry and with few implements. The fish is skewered, opened by the belly, in quila sticks tied in the shape of a lectern, and then buried in the sand. Barely leaning over the lit fire.