In the 1920s, the first settlers made their way from Puerto Ibáñez, around Lake General Carrera, to settle at Puerto Sánchez. Later, the discovery of mineral deposits would spur the development of a mining industry in the area, with the most important mine located at Puerto Cristal, or «The Humberstone of the Patagonia,» where workers extracted lead and zinc. In the 1950s, the discovery of copper further increased the mining industry’s interest in the region, drawing new inhabitants to the area and leading to the construction of a mining camp and mineral transportation infrastructure called Puerto Eulogio Sánchez, in memory of the company’s president.

Over time, the minerals began to become scarcer, and the mining companies eventually suspended work. In 1992, the town and the mine were purchased by private individuals, who donated the land to the area’s first settlers. These families keep this gorgeous area alive, and have fostered the local tourism industry, which has grown substantially since the year 2000, when land access to Puerto Sánchez became possible with the opening of a beautiful 15-mile road between Puerto Sánchez and Bahía Murta.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

Puerto Sánchez is a small village, but there are a few options for lodging in family guest houses, along with campsites and eating establishments.

Region

Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez

Province

General Carrera

Population

80

Climate and Rainfall

Rainy and Temperate, 41 inches annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Parque Nacional Cerro Castillo

Laguna San Rafael National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Boat or kayak to the Marble Caves on Isla Panichi, leaving from Puerto Sánchez. You can see traces of the community’s mining past, such as the Aysén Mining Company boats still moored in the harbor.
  • Visit Puerto Cristal, and old mining camp now declared a National Historical Monument.
  • Trek in the Miller Valley with local guides.
  • Visit the mining museum and the Puerto Sánchez mine to learn about the community’s history.
  • Explore the beautiful road from Bahía Murta to Puerto Sánchez, with steep inclines, sharp curves, and beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Enjoy the afternoon in the Puerto Sánchez beach, with one of the most beautiful views in the Lake General Carrera basin.

How to get

Puerto Sánchez is located 137 miles from Coyhaique. To reach the town, head south on the Carretera Austral, then take Route X-731 for 15.5 miles until you pass Bahía Murta and finally reach Puerto Sánchez.

Buses run between Coyhaique and Puerto Tranquilo, and Cochrane and Puerto Tranquilo. In Puerto Tranquilo, you can organize a transfer to Puerto Sánchez with local transport providers like Don José Vargas (+56 9 78988578).

If you’re coming from Puerto Natales, take the ferry to Puerto Yungay. From Puerto Yungay, drive 82 miles north on the Carretera Austral until you reach Cochrane. From there, continue on to Puerto Sánchez.

Sky and LATAM Airlines fly daily to Balmaceda Airport, located 34 miles south of Coyhaique. Car rentals and buses are available at the airport. From Balmaceda, continue west 7.5 miles to reach the Carretera Austral.

Tips

  • There’s no auto shop or tire repair shop.
  • The only company with cell service in the area is Entel.
  • For more information about Puerto Cristal, visit: http://www.turismopuertocristal.cl/es/home/.
  • Two family-owned guest houses in town also offer lunch.
  • For transfers between Bahía Murta and Puerto Sánchez, contact Don José Vargas (+56 9 78988578).
  • Local guides in Puerto Sánchez offer trips to the Marble Cathedrals.

Basic Services

  • Cell Service (Entel)
  • Visitor’s Center
  • Aerodrome
  • Conaf (Park Rangers)

Visitor’s Center

You can find tourist information in Puerto Sánchez’s plaza (town square) from December to March.

Email:

turismo@rioibañez.cl

Important Dates

During the last week of January, Puerto Sánchez hosts a celebration called the Miner’s Festival.

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia

made in puerto varas by 2litros