Coyhaique#6 in Best Things To Do in Chilean Patagonia
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Perched below an immense basalt cliff and enclosed by rolling hills and emerald lakes, Coyhaique boasts dramatic vistas from almost every angle. From November through May, fly-fishermen congregate here to cast their lines in the Simpson and Coyhaique rivers, which are known for their trout and salmon populations. While exploring this quaint town, you're bound to stumble upon the Feria Artesanal (an outdoor street fair lined with colorful craft stands).
Recent visitors recommend staying at the Coyhaique River Lodge, which offers many excursions, including horseback riding, rafting, and fishing. One TripAdvisor user raves, "Every day was an adventure. Activities suggested by hosts included fabulous guided fishing, birding, horseback riding, Condor sighting, kayaks, mountain bikes, and trekking."
Coyhaique is easily accessible by bus, car, ferry, or plane from Santiago or Puerto Montt in the Lake District. A variety of domestic carriers—including LAN and Sky Airline—offer multi-stop flights (with a stop in either Temuco or Puerto Montt) from Santiago International Airport (SCL) to Coyhaique's Aeropuerto de Balmaceda (BBA). BBA is just an hour-drive from downtown. If you are driving from Puerto Montt to Coyhaique, you'll want to head south on the Carretera Austral (the "Southern Highway"). From Puyuhuapi on the Southern Coast, head south on Route 7, turn onto Puerto Aisén-Puerto Chacabuco, and continue southeast along the Río Simpson National Reserve for a scenic drive into town. For more information, consult our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.
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#1 Southern Chilean Patagonia
Occupying the southernmost area of the country, Southern Chilean Patagonia (SCP) draws visitors looking to admire the breathtaking landscape. Most visitors flock to Chile's southernmost province—also known as Magallanes (named after 16th-century conquistador Ferdinand Magellan)—to admire Patagonia's breathtaking landscape. From Magallanes' capital city, Punta Arenas, you can journey to Torres del Paine to admire its striking jagged peaks or head to Isla Magdalena to snap photos of thousands of Magellanic penguins scurrying along the shoreline.
Southern Chilean Patagonia is beyond secluded—separated by the Strait of Magellan and two soaring ice caps—but that only adds to its mystique as the gateway to Antarctica. The best way to reach Southern Chilean Patagonia is by plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas. It's also easy to access this region from Southern Argentine Patagonia. Cancha Carrera is a popular border-crossing, located between Torres del Paine and El Calafate (Argentina). Just be sure to acquire a visa before crossing; you can do so at an Argentine consulate in Santiago or before leaving home. For further details on how to navigate Southern Chilean Patagonia, consult our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.
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