The magnificent Baker River––which has the largest volume of water of any river in Chile––welcomes visitors to the town of Cochrane. Cochrane is located at the edge of Chile’s Northern Icefields, 205 miles south of Coyhaique. This town is known not only for its beautiful landscapes, but also for the strong regional identity of its inhabitants. This is gaucho (Chilean cowboy) territory, where traditions like «juego del Truco»––a typical Patagonian card game––and Chamamé and other regional dances continue to be an important part of the local culture.
The area was originally populated by ethnic groups who traveled the region on foot, and it’s been the site of important archeological discoveries. One is the Alero Baker, where researchers discovered traces of human presence dating back 7,700 years. Cochrane’s modern origins began in 1929, when Lucas Bridge––then-administrator of the Valle Chacabuco cattle ranch––was commissioned by the government to create an urban nucleus in the area. The town was first established in the Las Latas sector and later moved to its current location, officially founded in March 1954.
Tourist services in Cochrane include restaurants, guest houses, cabins, campsites, and rural tourism offerings. Find more information at:
Cochrane is located approximately 205 miles south of Coyhaique on the Carretera Austral and 78 miles north of Tortel. The closest border crossing is Roballos Pass, which is located 59 miles from Cochrane.
Buses travel daily from Coyhaique to Cochrane, leaving the terminal in the morning. A few of the companies available include Acuario 13 (Phone: (+56) 672 522143 / (+56) 98748022), Don Carlos (Phone: (+56) 672 522150), and Águilas Patagónicas (Phone: (+56) 672 522020).
Ferries run from Puerto Natales to Puerto Yungay, a trip of around 41 hours. From Puerto Yungay, take the Carretera Austral north 82 miles to arrive at Cochrane. Check schedules and remember to reserve your tickets in advance at http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/horarios/318-horario-yungay-natales.
Ruta del Huemul
In January and June, the community hosts the «Huemul’s Route,» an 18.5-mile trekking route from Chacabuco Valley to the Tamango sector of Patagonia National Park.
Aniversario de Cochrane
Residents of Cochrane celebrate their town’s anniversary in March.
Encuentro costumbrista de Cochrane
Cochrane holds its traditional festival the second weekend of February each year.
Festival de la Escarcha
In October each year, the community puts on a musical event called the «Festival de la Escarcha,» (Frost Festival) along with a regional meet-up of accordion players.
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