Located at the mouth of the Palena River and southeast of the Corcovado Gulf, Raúl Marín Balmaceda is surrounded by gorgeous landscapes with striking natural beauty. Due to the town’s geography––on an island at a river delta––sandy sediment accumulates in the area, forming long, beautiful beaches and attracting wildlife. The town is surrounded by large slopes, exuberant vegetation, and rocky, stark cliffs.

Raúl Marín Balmaceda is the oldest town in the Aysén Region. The town was founded in 1889; back then, it was named Bajo Palena. Today, a nascent tourism industry provide jobs for many of the area’s inhabitants.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

Raúl Marín Balmaceda has bed and breakfasts, guest houses, campsites, and restaurants, along with various activities available for tourists.

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Region

Puerto Cisnes

Province

Aysén

Population

311

Climate and Rainfall

Rainy and temperate, 107 inches of rainfall annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Melimoyu National Park

Corcovado National Park

Queulat National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Hike the «Chucao» trail (1,2 miles round trip), an easy self-guided excursion through the temperate rainforest.
  • Explore the «Arayán» trail (3,7 miles round trip), where you can find 400-year-old trees.
  • Row or boat in the Pitipalena Fjord, where you can spot wildlife, including a wide variety of marine birds.
  • Explore the marine protected area and take a boat trip to La Poza, the Los Patos Estuary, or the La Virgen Cave.
  • Walk along the long white-sand beaches.
  • Kayak the Palena River to Raúl Marín Balmaceda.
  • Fish for sport in nearby rivers and fjords.
  • Visit Melimoyu National Park. In February, you can spot Blue Whales in the fjords.
  • Visit the Añihué Private Reserve.
  • Enjoy the local gastronomy and sea products.
  • Visit the penguin colony of «Las Hermanas» island.
  • Drive through the scenic route between La Junta and Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

How to get

Raúl Marín Balmaceda is located 47 miles from La Junta along Route X-12. La Junta is 180 miles north of Coyhaique along the Carretera Austral, and 93 miles from Chaitén.

Keep in mind that 6 miles before you arrive to town, you’ll need to take a ferry to cross the Palena River. The ferry has no cost and takes 10 minutes. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 pm and between 4 pm and 9 p.m, altough schedule vary according to the season. No prior reservations are required.

There are buses that run from Chaitén and Coyhaique to La Junta. At La Junta, you can take «Transportes Willy» buses to Raúl Marín Balmaceda. They run once a day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Naviera Austral ferries run between Puerto Chacabuco and Raúl Marín Balmaceda, and Quellón and Raúl Marín Balmaceda. Find out more at the ferry agency located in town or at http://www.navieraustral.cl/itinerarios-y-tarifas#ruta-cordillera.

There is an aerodrome in Raúl Marín Balmaceda, but it does not offer regularly scheduled flights. You can organize private flights from Coyhaique, Chaitén, or Puerto Montt. The closest airports are in Puerto Montt and Balmaceda, and the aerodrome in Chaitén also has daily arrivals from Puerto Montt.

Tips

  • In Raúl Marín Balmaceda, you can organize river walks, kayaking trips, boat rides through the Pitipalena Fjord, and fishing excursions.
  • Remember to check schedules and book your ferry ticket advance on the Naviera website. We recommend arriving an hour before your ferry departure, especially in January and February, when demand is highest.
  • Check ferry schedules at: http://www.navieraustral.cl/rutas/ruta-cordillera.
  • To get to Raúl Marín Balmaceda, you’ll need to take a ferry across the Palena River. The ferry has no cost and takes 10 minutes.
  • February is the best month for spotting Blue Whales.
  • There is no ATM in Raúl Marín Balmaceda, remember to carry cash.
  • Power runs in town between 7 am and 1 am.

Basic Services

  • Rural Health Services
  • Cell Service
  • Police Station
  • Aerodrome (no commercial flights)
  • Visitor´s Center

Visitor’s Center

Important Dates

In February, the community hosts the Route of Palena, which consists of a trip in kayak down the river, from Palena to Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

The town celebrates its anniversary on January 4th.

In Ferbuary the community holds its traditional festival.

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