The Sector 1 runs north to south, starting at either Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas and ending at Coyhaique (approx 765km from P Montt or 763km from P Varas).
The route will pass through two provinces, or regions, of Chile. The first part will go through the southern part of the Lake Region and the second part will enter into the Aysen Region.
The Lake Region
Chile’s Lake Region is a stunningly beautiful collection of lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, rivers and green-forested mountain valleys.
Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, the optional, northern, starting points for the Carretera Austral, are located in the southern edge of the main Lake Region, by the large Lake Llanquihue (pronounced yan-kee-way). The Carretera Austral then passes through a more “rugged” and “less serene” lake region sector. This is because, unlike the main lake region, the ancient valleys have been flooded by sea water tens of thousands of years ago, where those valleys are now fiords. Also, the space that the Carretera occupies is along a narrow strip where either side are steep, forested mountain sides. There are lakes in this sector but spread around and located at varying altitudes. In addition, the rivers tend to be faster flowing and the ice fields on top of the Andes are closer to ground level. The reason for this is because the Andes and snow line are lower in altitude the further south one goes. The snow line decreases in altitude because the overall temperature decreases the further one gets away from the equator.
The Aysen Region
The Aysen province contains more islands, fiords, inlets, rivers, ice fields and waterfalls than the northern Lake Region. This is because as the Carretera Austral continues south it passes through areas that endured more “ice age craftsmanship”, in the sense that more fiords, inlets, channels were “gouged” out in this area. Largely because as the road gets further away from the equator the climate is cooler, snow fall, over the millennia was more plentiful and glaciers were created with more mass.
Below we highlight the main National Parks, places of interests and activities to be found in Sector 1.
National Parks in the Chilean Lake Region Province
National Parks in the Chilean Aysén Province
The Better-known Places of Interest and Activities IN Sector 1:
Parque Pumalin (Millennial Alerce Trees)
Where? Caleta Gonzalo
The Pumalin National park was one of the first in Chilean Patagonia to be created by Douglas and Kristine Tompkins and then gifted to the Chilean nation. It contains vast areas of native forest including Alerce trees that date back thousands of years.
Puyuhuapi Hot Springs
Where? Puyuhuapi Lodge
Along the Carretera Austral there are a few places where water has been heated by underground volcanic heat and then surfaces to ground level. Such locations are called “hot springs”.
However, one particular place has mastered access to this natural heated water in one of the remotest places on the Carretera Austral and built a high-quality lodge here. The ability to bathe in the hot springs and enjoy total comfort in a tranquil, beautiful location is excellent for anyone’s health.
Queulat Hanging Glacier
Where? In Queulat National Park
The glacier is high up in the Queulat National Park, just south of Puyuhuapi. It is a large glacier to see at height and in one sector there is a waterfall caused by the melting ice and this cascades down from the height of the glacier to the lagoon below.
Laguna San Rafael Glacier
Where? From Puerto Chacabuco
The San Rafael Glacier is a large glacier that comes down from the northern ice field that covers the Andes. Navigational trips depart from Puerto Chacabuco (79km west from Coyhaique) to see the high and wide glacial ice face calve off into a sea-water lagoon.
Where from? See below...
Patagonia is one of the World’s greatest places for fly fishing. This is due to the vast number of rivers, lakes and lagoons and the fact that this area is still relatively new in terms of numbers of people coming here to fish.
There are large fish to be caught, usually under catch and release. Among the varieties are Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout, as well as Atlantic salmon (these have come out from Chilean agua programs), Coho salmon and Chinook salmon.
Above are a few of the principal destination places where you can fly fish. However, there are also numerous other lodges spread around Patagonia in remote locations. If you are a serious fly-fisherman and seek such lodges, please get in touch and we will arrange whatever you need.