Starting Point

Puerto Montt

Ending Point

Coyhaique

Duration

Between 6 - 8

Miles Traveled

262 miles from Chaitén to Coyhaique

Hours in Boat

9 hours from Puerto Montt to Chaitén

Parks Visited

Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park

Corcovado National Park

Queulat National Park

  • Parque Nacional Queulat

  • Parque Nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins

  • Parque Nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins

  • Parque Nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

  • Viajes Sugeridos Ventisqueros Australes

The
Route

1

At Puerto Montt, take one of the Naviera Austral ferries toward Chaitén http://www.navieraustral.cl/itinerarios-y-tarifas#ruta-chaiten.

Typically, the Jacaf ferry leaves from Puerto Montt every Monday, Thursday, and Friday at 11 p.m. The trip takes around 9 hours, including a short stop in Ayacara, which means that if weather is good you should arrive at Chaitén around 8:00 a.m. You can take the opportunity to spend some time in town and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see the magnificent Corcovado Volcano, part of the National Park of the same name. Corcovado National Park doesn’t have public access infrastructure yet, but you can appreciate its beauty at a distance along the route.
From Chaitén, continue 17 miles south along the paved road until you arrive at the town of El Amarillo. We recommend spending this afternoon exploring some of the shorter trails in the southern sector of Pumalín Park, such as Ranita de Darwin or El Mirador.

At night, you can stay in El Amarillo––there are various options for lodging in the town––or in one of the two campsite areas in this part of Pumalín Park (Camping Grande and Ventisquero; note that the latter is only accessible in 4×4 vehicles).

9 hours in boat from Puerto Montt to Chaitén
20 minutes in car from Chaitén to El Amarillo
2

Spend this day exploring Pumalín Park’s trails. We recommend the Ventisquero Amarillo trail, which brings you very close to the glacier that sits on the Michinmahuida Volcano. The trail begins 6.8 miles from the entrance to the El Amarillo sector. To round out your afternoon, you can relax in one of the municipal thermal baths at El Amarillo, located just 2.8 miles from the intersection with the Carretera Austral, then stay one more night in the town.

20 minutes in car from El Amarillo to the beginning of the Ventisquero trail
7 minutes in car from El Amarillo to the thermal baths
3

Today, continue south on the Carretera Austral. Roughly 13 miles after El Amarillo, you’ll reach Puerto Cárdenas, a town with beautiful views of Lake Yelcho, which is known worldwide as a must-visit destination for fly fishers. Later, begin ascending the Moraga slope to then descend to the Frio River Valley, where you’ll find the town of Santa Lucía. Drive carefully, because this route was affected by a major mudslide in 2017. Although the road is open, it is gravel and can have muddy parts, especially after rain.

Around 43 miles south of Santa Lucía, you’ll arrive at La Junta, where you can tank gas and stay for the night, or continue 28 miles south to Puyuhuapi, a town that also has a wide range of lodging available and various options for visiting thermal baths.

If you’ve got time and would like to explore a bit, you can take Route X-11 east from La Junta and visit the beautiful Barros Arana Range and the Claro Solar Lagoon.

2.5 hours in car from El Amarillo to Puyuhuapi
4

Starting from Puyuhuapi or La Junta, set out to explore the various trails in Queulat National Park and admire the beauty of its hanging glacier, which you can see from the Carretera Austral.

If you’d like to do a longer hike, we recommend the Mirador del Ventisquero trail, or––if that is not an option––hiking the Laguna Témpanos trail to the lagoon, where in summer you can find boats that will take you to the ice floes.

In the evening, you can camp in the privately-managed campsites in Queulat Park, or return to Puyuhuapi, where you’ll find various options for lodging as well as for visiting the thermal baths in the area.

30 minutes in car from Puyuhuapi to the entrance to Queulat National Park, Ventisquero Colgante (hanging glacier) sector
5

Continue south along the Carretera Austral and begin to ascend the Queulat slope. Enjoy its 33 curves, exuberant vegetation, and beautiful views of the fjord and the Ventisquero Colgante (hanging glacier). We recommend stopping at the Bosque Encantado trail, although be sure to check first if it is open, as it was still closed for maintenance in July 2018.

From Villa Amengual, it’s 91 miles to Coyhaique, where you’ll find a wide range of lodging and other services.

4.5 hours in car from Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique
6

We recommend spending this day exploring Coyhaique’s surroundings and visiting the Río Simpson National Reserve or the Coyhaique National Reserve before continuing on to your next destination, whether that’s leaving from Balmaceda Airport, driving back, or crossing into Argentina via Coyhaique Alto.

Additional Options

Naviera Austral ferries run from Quellón to Chaitén a few days a week.

You can stay an extra night in Chaitén to explore the northeastern sector of Pumalín Park, in addition to the El Amarillo sector.

You can also stay an extra night near Puerto Cárdenas to explore beautiful Lake Yelcho, at the mouth of the Futaleufú River.

At Villa Santa Lucía, you can take Route 235, which leads to Futaleufú and Palena, both border towns.

You can also stay for an extra night in La Junta to visit the Lake Verde area, which also has a border crossing.

At La Junta, you can take Route X-12 to get to Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

South of Puyuhuapi, you can find Route X-25, which leads to Puerto Cisnes, a beautiful town and the port of entry to Isla Magdalena National Park.

From Coyhaique, you can cross the border at Coyhaique Alto and take Argentina’s Route 40 north or south.

How to get to Chaitén

Chaitén is located 127 miles south of Puerto Montt and is accessible along the Bimodal Route or via ferries that leave from Puerto Montt and Quellón. It’s also possible to arrive from the south via the Carretera Austral, traveling 262 miles north from Coyhaique.

How to get to El Amarillo

El Amarillo is located 17 miles south of Chaitén and 12.5 miles north of Puerto Cárdenas. It’s accessible along the Carretera Austral.

How to get to Coyhaique

Sky and LATAM Airlines offer daily flights to Balmaceda, located 34 miles southeast of Coyhaique.

Tips for Your Trip

Corcovado National Park does not currently have public access infrastructure.

Remember to reserve your ferry ticket in advance on Naviera’s website and be sure to double-check the ferry schedules. We recommend arriving at the dock an hour before your ferry leaves, especially during January and February, when demand is highest.

Check ferry schedules at http://www.navieraustral.cl/rutas/ruta-chiloe and (http://www.navieraustral.cl/itinerarios-y-tarifas#ruta-chaiten).

The road between Chaitén and El Amarillo is paved, as is the road between El Amarillo and Puerto Cárdenas.

For more information about the El Amarillo thermal baths, check: http://www.termasrioamarillolodge.cl/termas_el_amarillo.html.

Drive carefully on the Queulat slope; it has 33 closed curves and the road is quite narrow.

There are gas stations in La Junta, Puyuhuapi, and Coyhvique.

Find out more about options for thermal baths in Puyuhuapi at: http://puyuhuapilodge.com/ and http://www.termasventisqueropuyuhuapi.cl/.

Be sure to carry cash, as you can only find ATMs in Chaitén, La Junta, and Coyhvique.

Bring at least one spare tire.

To check the schedule and status of the border crossing at Coyhaique Alto, go to: http://www.pasosfronterizos.gov.cl/complejos-fronterizos/aysen/paso-coyhaique/

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia

made in puerto varas by 2litros