Are you thinking of traveling the Carretera Austral to enter the beautiful Patagonia Verde? Then you have come to the right place, here is an incredible itinerary to help you plan your trip.
Day 1: Cochamó
The name Cochamó derives from the Mapudungun Kocha-mo and means “where the waters meet”. This town has heap of attractions, the Cochamó Valley stands out, which is called the “Chilean Yosemite”. It is a multi-day trek surrounded by huge rock walls where you can climb with world-class routes.
What to visit:
In this town we will find the “María Inmaculada” church, a building that dates back to 1890 and is the tallest building in the area, it is located in front of the Reloncaví Estuary waterfront.
In the “El Bosque” sector, approximately 15 minutes by car from the town, is “Coihue de Los Columpios”, which offers a beautiful view of the Reloncaví Estuary, the town and the nature that surrounds it. For only CLP$2,500 you can enjoy this amazing adventure.
At the beginning of the Cochamó valley there is a detour that leads to the Cascada Escondida, a beautiful waterfall with native vegetation. Admission costs CLP$2,500, lunches and a typical dessert of our country called mote con huesillos, are offered at the place.
Día 2 The Valley
Going up the Cochamó River is the valley, this place is accessed by walking or hiring the horseback riding service, during the day you can schedule the climb very early to see the famous Natural Slides of Cochamó, which after 3-4 hours dazzle with its waters and in the background a granite wall. In this place it is essential to be very careful not to suffer an accident since there is no telephone signal and the emergency teams do not have direct access.
Día 3 Puelo River
Its name derives from the Mapudungun Puelco, which means “East Water”. This town is located 35 km south of Cochamó, notable for its tributary of the Puelo River, which rises in Lago Puelo, province of Chubut, Argentina. Before reaching the town specifically, there is a detour to Lake Tagua Tagua. There are 2 ferries that cross the lake, which takes 1 hour from the Punta Canelo pier to Puerto Maldonado. The Río Puelo valley begins here, with unique, remote landscapes and traditions that it is necessary to know to understand what life is like in places as deeply rooted as this one.
After about 45 minutes by car we find the town of Llanada Grande, where El Salto stands out in the first instance, located in Campo Eggers, an entrance that is next to the aerodrome. To enjoy this place you pay CLP$1,000, after walking along the path for about 15 minutes you will be able to appreciate the imposing waterfall of this place.
In the afternoon, you can get to know the Blue Lake, with its intense blue waters, you can go kayaking, boat rides and even reach the other end to start a journey to Las Rocas Lake. It is a place of perfect disconnection, ideal to relax an entire afternoon and enjoy the benefits that exist in this sector.
Following the same route, it is possible to reach Primer Corral, Segundo Corral and Valle Ventisquero and thus get to know the Puelo River better. There is also a border crossing that adjoins Lago Puelo, Argentina. In case of making the crossing, we recommend that you consider planning well since it is an international river crossing.
Day 4 Hualaihué
After visiting Llanada Grande, you can go to Termas del Sol in the morning, located on the way to Hornopirén, which has 10 pools ranging from 36° to 45° and offers a space for family comfort. They have a variety of pizzas and beers from the area. The pizza with Morchella stands out with an edible and gourmet mushroom very popular with foreign and national tourists.
91 km south of Río Puelo is Huailaihué, a land of fiords, volcanoes, lakes, and rivers. This place is also known for the Artesanos de Ribera (Ribera craftsman), who maintain the Chiloé boat building technique. Its capital is Hornopirén.
A must-see spot in the Hornopirén National Park are the Rio Blanco (White River) waterfalls, pristine waters that rise from deep in the southern Andes. To access this place, it is necessary to arrive at the Rio Blanco bridge. On your left is the beginning of the path that lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, bordering the beautiful river and surrounded by native flora and fauna. There is a $2,000 entrance fee. On the way back to the town, you can walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the tranquility of this place.
Day 5 Chaitén
From Hornopirén you can take 2 routes, one of them is bimodal, which includes a stretch of sea and land. It is a very attractive navigation of approximately 5 hours and crosses fjords and an evergreen landscape. This route goes from Hornopirén to Leptepu and from there continues to Caleta Gonzalo, which is 56 kilometers from Chaitén, the estimated time is 1 hour by car. One of the many attractions of Chaitén is the Pumalín Park, there are several trails and some can be highlighted as to be done during the day.
· Los Alerces Trail: Its objective is to contemplate flora, especially ancient Alerces, almost 3,000 years old. It is of low difficulty, its duration is around 40 minutes round trip, it has a distance of 1.4 km and starts 12.5 kilometers south of Caleta Gonzalo.
· Cascadas Escondidas Trail: It has three waterfalls along the route, the first is more difficult because it is climbing a hill, while the others are on a flatter trail. The total of this route is 2 hours, with a distance of 3.6 kilometers and has medium-high difficulty. The start is 14 kilometers south of Caleta Gonzalo, from the Cascadas Escondidas campsite.
· Darwin's Frog Path: For lovers of flora and fauna, this is one of the favorites thanks to its 3 viewpoints, it is of an interpretive nature. Sometimes it may be possible to see the small Darwin's Frog, a species that is in danger of extinction. It is of low difficulty, with an approximate duration of 1 hour and 30 minutes, 3 kilometers away. The start is on the way to Camping Grande, kilometer 4.2.
Day 6 Futaleufú
From Chaitén to Futaleufú there is a distance of 151 km, this translates into approximately 4 hours of travel. An obligatory stop on this route is Villa Santa Lucía, here is the detour to Futaleufú and there is the Casa de la Bandera Museum, a memorable space that evidences a very painful event that occurred on December 16, 2017, a flood that changed for always the life of the locals of this town.
After this stop, the road to Futaleufú is gravel, which depending on the weather affects the duration of the trip. On this route you can find the Yelcho Lake, which originates from the tributary of the Futaleufú River and is encased between hills, offering a beautiful panoramic view.
Futaleufú from the Mapudungun meaning “Rio Grande” is a paradise with an enormous natural heritage of Northern Patagonia. Here are most of the tourist services in the area that attract the most adventurous, its river stands out for its color, beauty and the quality it has for adventure sports such as kayaking, rafting and packraft.
In the aforementioned route there are several options for rafting, with different prices and difficulty but it is a must-see since its rapids are recognized worldwide, if you are looking for companies we leave you this link of our search engine for tourist services.
This experience is totally recommended, it delivers unique moments, admiration for nature and the river provides an enormous force of motivation and enjoying the rapids of these magnificent waters.
Day 7 Natural Futa
In the morning there are several options to explore:
· Futaleufú National Reserve: It has three viewpoints, which are Piedra Ventosa, Piedrero and El Cóndor, the latter being the most complicated, but with incredible views of the valley, its route is through a cypress forest of the Cordillera. Among the birds that we can find in the Reserve are the black woodpecker, condor, striped, chucao, chuncho, among others.
· Piedra del Águila: It is one of the most classic trails, approximately 4.5 km from the town. Excellent option for hiking, with views of the valley of the Espolón River and views of Cerro Tres Monjas. Low difficulty and in 2 hours you can reach this Patagonian viewpoint.
· Torre de Agua Viewpoint: Its access is by one side of the Laguna Espejo, you climb steps for approximately 30 minutes and offers a view of the Lagoon, the town and the imposing mountain that surrounds this place.
· Laguna Espejo: Ideal for an afternoon of relaxation, on calm days and at sunset you can see the reflection of the surrounding hills in its waters.
Nicolás Faúndez Alegría
Tourism student, currently studying the last semester of the degree. Lover of nature, travel, photography and music, guitarist for years and forming musical groups of different styles. With knowledge in environmental areas (Leave No Trace and recycling). Motivated to develop a complete performance in Tourism and share my knowledge with other people and achieve awareness of the care and protection of the natural spaces of our country. With interest in wine tourism, ecotourism, hotels and the rescue of cultural heritage.