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.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

Tourist services in Cochrane include restaurants, guest houses, cabins, campsites, and rural tourism offerings. Find more information at:

  • http://www.cochranepatagonia.cl/cms/
  • http://serviciosturisticos.sernatur.cl/

Region

Cochrane

Province

Capitán Prat

Population

2.867

Climate and Rainfall

Rainy and temperate, 30 inches annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Patagonia National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Explore the Tamango sector of Patagonia National Park, located 2.5 miles northwest of Cochrane. The park has a network of trails of varying difficulty, with beautiful views of Lake Cochrane and the Cochrane River.
  • Boat on the Cochrane River with local tour guides. Its waters are a beautiful crystalline color––so clear that there are also guides offering snorkeling tours.
  • Visit the Cerro La Cruz, Cerro La Virgen, Puente Don Lino, and Cerro Báez lookout points.
  • Go to the artisanal market and museum in Cochrane, which has a valuable collection of historical artifacts.
  • Visit the Patagonia National Park administrative offices, located 17 miles from Cochrane, which include a visitor’s center, various trails, and activities including tours for spotting different flora and fauna.
  • Drive Route X-901 to taken in the majestic views of the Calluqueo Glacier on Mount San Lorenzo.
  • Visit Laguna Esmeralda, located 4.5 miles from Cochrane. Various water sports are available on the lake, where you can also fish for sport or just relax along the shores.
  • Explore the Los Ñadis sector, located 28 miles south of Cochrane, where you can find the San Carlos court buildings, declared a National Historic Monument.
  • Go fly fishing on the Baker River, the Cochrane River, and on nearby lakes, including Brown.
  • Visit the El Salto River falls in Castillo Valley, located 9 miles east of Cochrane.

How to get

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).

Download here public transport itineraries in low season.

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.

Sky and LATAM Airlines offer daily flights to Balmaceda, located 34 miles southeast of Coyhaique. Dap Airlines offers twice-weekly flights connecting Balmaceda and Punta Arenas.

Cochrane has an aerodrome where you can book private flights to Balmaceda or Coyhaique.

Tips

  • Laundry services are available in Cochrane.
  • Bus routes are available from Cochrane to Villa O’Higgins (Águilas Patagónicas), Tortel (Buses Cordillera and Buses Aldea), and Chile Chico (Buses Aldea). You can buy tickets in the bus terminal in Cochrane.
  • The municipal library offers free Wi-Fi. The library can be found at San Valentín 554.
  • Check out the visitor’s center for maps and information about tourist excursions in the area.
  • The entry fee to the Tamango sector of the park costs $2,000 CLP for Chileans and $3,000 CLP for foreigners.
  • There are 3 campsite areas in the Chacabuco Valley (Los West Winds, Casa Piedra, and Alto Valley). They are open from October to April. There is no system for prior reservations. The cost per night is $8,000 CLP per person.
  • To check schedules and reserve the ferry from Puerto Yungay to Puerto Natales, visit http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/horarios/318-horario-yungay-natales. The ferry has seats, bathrooms, showers, and offerings for meals, and the price of the ticket includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Basic Services

  • Gas Station
  • ATM
  • Bank
  • Rural Health Services
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Bike Repair Shop
  • Cell Service
  • Police Station
  • Visitor’s Center
  • Aerodrome
  • Conaf (Park Rangers)

Visitor’s Center

Address

Doctor Stefens con Esmeralda (Lado Sur Este de la plaza)

Email

turismo@municochrane.cl

Important Dates

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.

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia

made in puerto varas by 2litros