This town is named after the magnificent Castillo peak and is located in the Ibáñez River Valley, 59 miles south of Coyhaique. Cerro Castillo is known for its striking landscapes made up of hanging glaciers, turquoise-colored lakes, and beautiful Lenga forests, the perfect home for Huemules (South Andean Deer). Another highlight of this beautiful town is its strong local identity, which townspeople celebrate each year in their “Fiesta de las Tradiciones,” a traditional festival that’s become one of the most well-known annual events in the Aysén region.

Cerro Castillo lies in the ancestral lands of the Aonikenk people, and its history is mostly known via oral tradition. This oral history also tells the stories of the first families that arrived in the area, including the Antrillao, Hueitra, Vargas, García, Calfullanca, Calderón, and Sandoval families. The town was officially founded in 1966 and is now becoming one of the most popular destinations along the Carretera Austral.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

In Cerro Castillo, you can find bed and breakfasts, cabins, campsites, and other options for lodging, along with restaurants and tourist agencies offering day trips and excursions to various nearby sites. Find more information at https://rioibanez.cl/v4/villa-cerro-castillo/

Region

Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez

Province

General Carrera

Population

550

Climate and Rainfall

Cold steppe and trans-Andean continental climate, 36 inches annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Parque Nacional Cerro Castillo

Don’t Miss

  • Take in the impressive Cerro Castillo massif, which can be photographed from various lookout points along the Carretera Austral.
  • Explore the trails in Cerro Castillo National Park, and––for more seasoned hikers––trek the Las Horquetas circuit, which takes between 4 and 5 days and is known as one of the most beautiful treks in Chile.
  • Take photos of Laguna Chiguay in fall, when the Lenga forests that surround it have turned bright red.
  • Visit the Historical Monument and museum showing an old Cerro Castillo school and the archeological site “Paredón de las Manos,” a 50-foot-tall rock wall where you can see 5-thousand-year-old cave paintings made by the Tehuelche people.
  • Visit the “Fiesta de las Tradiciones,” an annual event in Cerro Castillo where, each January, townspeople celebrate the local customs, food, and handicrafts.
  • Drive “Las Ardillas,” a road linking Villa Cerro Castillo and Puerto Ibáñez via the gorgeous scenic route X-723, from which you can see Lake Tamango, get an impressive view of the Cerro Castillo massif, and spot several other lagoons and the Río Ibáñez falls.
  • Visit the Lake Alto–River Sin Nombre sector and drive a mountain road with beautiful views of Cerro Castillo, Cerro Palo, and various glaciers.
  • Try your hand at climbing on one of the nearly 200 routes available for climbers of all different levels of experience.
  • Ride on horseback through the Ibáñez River Valley and the Bajada de Ibáñez sector. This service is offered by various local tour guides.
  • Visit the town square and take a photo with the “gaucho tomando mate” (cowboy drinking mate).
  • Buy handicrafts in the “Taller Laboral la Amistad” (Friendship Workshop) or get in touch directly with local artisans and visit their workshops to learn more about their crafts.

How to get

Cerro Castillo is located 59 miles south of Coyhaique, along the Carretera Austral. The highway is paved.

Various public transport options are available between Coyhaique and Cerro Castillo. Buses to Cerro Castillo depart daily from the municipal terminal in Coyhaique.

Several bus companies offer daily routes to Cochrane with stops in Cerro Castillo, including Acuario 13 (+56 672 522143 / +56 98748022), Don Carlos (+56 672 522150), and Águilas Patagónicas (+56 672 522020).

For transportation in Cerro Castillo, contact Luis Eduardo Morales (+ 56 9 76494451), Transfer Villarrica (+56 9 66560172), Buses Marcelo (+56 9 78736157), Buses Javier Alí (+56 9 3131402), or Transfer Feña (+56 9 62041342).

Naviera Austral ferries depart from Puerto Montt and Quellón and dock at Puerto Chacabuco, which is 88 miles from Cerro Castillo.

Sky and Latam airlines offer daily flights to Balmaceda airport, which lies 34 miles southeast of Coyhaique.

Tips

  • There is no ATM in Cerro Castillo. There is cell service, but only for the company Entel.
  • If you’re hiking in Cerro Castillo National Park, make sure to bring clothing and equipment for high-mountain weather and conditions. For your safety, it’s important to register with Conaf before beginning your hike.
  • Internet connection is available in the public library.
  • There’s a trail guide cooperative in Cerro Castillo, which is a great alternative for finding a guide for your treks in the park. Contact the cooperative at casadeguiasdeaysen@gmail.com.
  • In Villa Cerro Castillo, you can find lodging, restaurants, basic medical services, corner stores, campsites, and a visitor’s center, which is open for the season beginning in December.
  • Lodging in Villa Cerro Castillo can fill up quickly in the summer, so we recommend making reservations.
  • The entry fee to the Laguna Chiguay sector of Cerro Castillo National Park is $2,000 CLP for Chileans and $3,000 CLP for foreigners.
  • If you’re planning to make a day trip to Laguna Castillo, we recommend going with a local guide; parts of the trail are not well-marked. The total distance (out and back) is 9.3 miles, and the trail ascends 3280 feet.

Basic Services

  • “Caja Vecina” (Rural Bank Services)
  • Basic Medical Services
  • Cell Service (Entel)
  • Visitor’s Center

Visitor’s Center

The visitor’s center can be found in Bernardo O’Higgins. It’s open from December to March. Find out more by contacting turismo@rioibañez.cl.

Find out more by contacting turismo@rioibañez.cl.

Important Dates

In January, the town hosts its “Rescuing our Traditions” festival, which celebrates the area’s cultural heritage. It’s the only festival of its kind in the region and is held every year.

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