Puyuhuapi, Carretera Austral, Patagonia, Chile


Location: 46km South from La Junta, but 18km south from El Pangue.

Puyuhuapi village occupies a narrow piece of land sandwiched between a lake and a sea-filled fiord. The village itself has a Germanic style regarding its buildings and general feel.

The village was founded when, in 1935, two Germans, Otto Uebel and Karl Ludwig settled here having escaped the looming Second World War in Europe. At this time Chile operated a colonization policy whereby those who were adventurous enough to move to “pioneer” country would be given land to make it productive and habitable.

They decided on a piece of land at the end of the Puyuhuapi fiord and with help from people who came from the island of Chiloe, and they began the process of cutting down virgin, native forest and constructing buildings as well as creating pastures for animals to graze. Unsurprisingly, these constructions were based upon those in their native Germany, which is why, in many parts of southern Chile so many buildings have an older, German appearance to them.

Two more Germans arrived, and these were Walter Hopperdietzel and Ernesto Ludwig. This small group of pioneers slowly, but surely, cut down the forest with their axes, machetes, and knives (no power tools in those days). However, the only access routes were via the sea, until the arrival of the Carretera Austral road during the late 80’s. More manpower came in from Chiloe and the settlement was recognised as an official “town” or village. To-day the population is between 50 to 1,000 inhabitants.

What’s Here?

Apart from the quiet, mystic setting, the principal places of interest are the hanging Queulat Glacier, about 21.5kms south of the village, and the Termas de Puyuhuapi, now called Puyuhuapi Lodge – a modern, upmarket hotel and hot springs spa, located on the opposite side of the fiord to where the Carretera Austral passes.

Access to the hotel is only by passenger ferry from a pick-up point beside the road at 12.8km south of Puyuhuapi. This is marked and on the right side of the road if you are heading north to south. Obviously, if you are heading south to north the entrance point is on your left 12.8km before getting to Puyuhuapi.

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