This sector covers the sector between La Junta, or Puyuhuapi, or Queulat down to Coyhaique, which is our Stage C.
It goes without saying that here at ExperienceChile.Org we will arrange the rent a car you will need to drive through the Patagonian forest and Andean valleys, as well as your accommodation.
Route Option 1 Puyuhuapi to Puerto Chacabuco:
Puyuhuapi Puyuhuapi Lodge C Park National Park Queulat Villa Amengual Villa Mañihuales Puerto Aysen Puerto Chacabuco
Puyuhuapi to Queulat National Park - 21km from the village, or 8km from Puyuhuapi Lodge car park.
Upon departing from Puyuhuapi, and when you are back on the main Carretera Austral Road, again heading south, the entrance to Queulat National park will be on your left. This will be 21km south of Puyuhuapi village or 8km south from the Puyuhuapi Lodge car park.
The National Park Queulat is one for the main attractions in this area because it contains an impressive hanging glacier. The best way to see this is to be staying in the area and do a full day excursion into the Park.
Puerto Cisnes (Optional Detour)
From Puyuhuapi village the road will continue south for about 83km to a turn off where there will be a sign RIGHT to Puerto Cisnes.
Puerto Cisnes is a small fishing village located 35km from this turn off, on the western coast of Patagonian Chile. It is a non-descript place, but if you seek to see some real life that is NOT made for the tourists then this place will give you that option. Basic accommodations and very rustic. However, it is also the embarkation point to go over and see the Parque Nacional Isla Magdalena.
Ignoring Puerto Cisnes
On to Coyhaique (with Puerto Chacabuco Option)
Ignoring the turn right to Puerto Cisnes, continue onward to Villa Amengual (34km from the turn off to Puerto Cisnes), on a paved road, and then a further 40km on paved road will bring you the main junction that meets the road to Coyhaique (turn left) and Puerto Aysen (turn right). If you want to get to Puerto Chacabuco for the catamaran to see Glacier San Rafael, you need to turn right to Puerto Aysen.
Puerto Chacabuco is also about 14km south from Puerto Aysen. Considering its geographical location, at the eastern end of the Aysen fiord, it is well protected from the natural elements.
Glacier San Rafael Catamaran Navigation
It is the place from where the catamaran operates to take people to see the large San Rafael Glacier.
The navigation tales around 5hrs by catamaran (or few a days by boat from Puerto Montt, see our Patagonia Cruises, Crucero Skorpios itinerary). To fly over the glacier takes 1hr 30min by light aircraft from Coyhaique, Balmaceda airport.
The National Park, called Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, covers an area of 1,742,000 hectares and includes the Glacier San Rafael which, as it slowly recedes back from the sea, breaks off into huge icebergs that float in the San Rafael Lagoon. The size of the glacial wall and the massive chunks that break off draws travellers from all over the world. All boats pass between the archipelago channels and passengers can enjoy a beautiful scenic journey going to and returning from the glacier.
Route Option 2 Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique Direct
Puyuhuapi Puyuhuapi Lodge C Park National Park Queulat Villa Amengual Villa Mañihuales Coyhaique
The route from Puyuhuapi is the same up to the turn off that takes you to Puerto Cisnes. Therefore, we will start from this turn off for the trip direct down to Coyhaique.
Ignoring the turn right to Puerto Cisnes, continue onward to Villa Amengual (34km from the turn off to Puerto Cisnes), on a paved road, and then a further 40km on paved road will bring you the main junction that meets the road to Coyhaique. To get to Coyhaique turn left and 70km later you will arrive there.
This is the principal city of this region and offers itself as a base from which to explore this incredible zone. It is also the only city with an airport with connections to Puerto Montt (and sometimes with Punta Arenas), although the actual airport is called Balmaceda and is about 50km from Coyhaique.
The scenery around Coyhaiqe is like that the Mid-Western USA. Enormous mountainous ridges as well as plains. It has a “cowboy” feel to the place and, indeed it is a Chilean “cowboy” town in the heart of Patagonia.
If you are only covering the northern part of the Carretera Austral Coyhaique will be the end destination. However, if you have arrived to Coyhaique or just extending your trip then from here you will head further south.