Located on the north shore of gorgeous Lake Yelcho, Puerto Cárdenas is a paradise for anyone who loves fishing. Just 27 miles from Chaitén, nestled between the mouths of the Malito and Futaleufú Rivers, Puerto Cárdenas also has great offerings for travelers interested in rural tourism, such as hikes, trips around the lake, horseback rides, and––of course––fishing excursions.

Lake Yelcho is also a lake where records are broken. In 2015, a 46-inch Chinook Salmon was caught, along with a Perch that weighed 6 pounds. One visitor to Lake Yelcho also earned the National Fly-Fishing Prize, catching a Salmon that weighed more than 37 pounds.

Puerto Cárdenas began to become populated in the 1940s. A ferry used to run between Puerto Cárdenas and Puerto Piedra, crossing Lake Yelcho and traveling through a landscape surrounded––as today––by hills covered in dense evergreen forests, crowned by ten snowy glaciers.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

You can find cabins, eating establishments, and fly-fishing lodges in Puerto Cárdenas, along with other tourist offerings, like boat excursions on Lake Yelcho. More information is available at:







Climate and Rainfall

Continental trans-Andean climate

Nearest National Park(s)

Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Fish for sport on Lake Yelcho.
  • Boat on Lake Yelcho and photograph its beautiful turquoise waters.
  • Hike the forest trail that leads to the Yelcho Glacier.
  • Bird watch on the lake and in the forests that surround it.
  • Visit one of the lake’s few white-sand beaches to relax and admire the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

How to get

Take the Carretera Austral to Caleta La Arena, then board the first ferry to Caleta Puelche (no reservation required). From Caleta Puelche, continue to Hornopirén. At Hornopirén, you’ll need to board another ferry south, and the Hornopirén–Leptepu and Fiordo Largo–Caleta Gonzalo legs should be booked in advance. (You can make reservations at www.taustral.cl.) From Caleta Gonzalo, travel 34 miles to arrive at Chaitén. From Chaitén, continue 27 miles to Puerto Cárdenas.

Buses Kemel offers daily routes from Puerto Montt to Chaitén. From Chaitén, Buses Cárdenas departs daily with routes that stop in Puerto Cárdenas (+56985976405). Transporte Río Palena also offers daily routes from Chaitén to Palena.

Naviera Austral ferries run from Puerto Montt and Quellón to Chaitén. Boats only depart a few times a week and prior reservations are required. From Chaitén, you can take a bus to Puerto Cárdenas.

Pewen and Aerocord offer daily 35-minute flights from Puerto Montt to Chaitén. These flights leave at various times, depending on the day of the week. From Chaitén, you can take a bus to Puerto Cárdenas.


  • Buses Cárdenas (+56 985976405) offers routes to Futaleufú and Palena, with stops in Puerto Cárdenas. You can buy tickets in Chaitén, at the Chaitur offices, located in front of the local government offices (Bernardo O’Higgins 298). You can also buy tickets in Palena, in Patricio Vivar’s store, and in Futaleufú, at Gabriela Mistral 293.
  • You’ll need a fishing license if you’re planning to do any fishing. Find more information at: http://pescarecreativa.sernapesca.cl/.
  • The ferries connecting Hornopirén and Caleta Gonzalo run every day, including holidays, though routes are subject to change due to inclement weather. Prior reservations are required; you can make them at www.taustral.cl.
  • Ferries run from Puerto Montt to Chaitén and Quellón to Chaitén on certain days of the week. Prior reservations are required. Find out more at http://www.navieraustral.cl/.
  • For flight reservations from Puerto Montt or Chaitén, visit https://www.aerocord.cl or http://www.pewenchile.com/.

Basic Services

Visitor’s Center

There is no visitor’s center at this time.

Important Dates

Fishing season begins in November and ends the first Sunday in May.

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia