Coyhaique: Adventure, nature and fun all in one place

E-mail Print




If your aim is to experience Destination Aysén Patagonia and all its cultural, natural and gastronomic riches in just a few days time, it is possible. The city of Coyhaique, just three hours from Santiago by plane, is no longer a place simply to pass through on your way to other adventures, its an entertainment hub in its own right for those in search of a special experience in this part of Chilean Patagonia.
Coyhaique has something to offer every type of visitor. Its majestic setting, with mountains on one side and lakes, rivers and luxuriant forests on the other, makes it one of the most beguiling places for tourists to visit. And the short distances involved allow you to enjoy a variety of attractions within the space of a few hours.
Tulips outside of CoyhaiqueTulips outside of Coyhaique
Standing in Coyhaique, you cannot help but be amazed by the undeniable natural beauty around the city. An ideal place to appreciate these qualities is one of the nature reserves, such as Coyhaique Natural Reserve, located only 10 minutes from the city. There you can enjoy spectacular walks through leafy forests and find varied flora and fauna – you may even meet a fox or a hare. Also not to be missed are the bicycle rides or trying one of the traditional barbeque installations – a quincho – that you might find on a campsite. All of this in the middle of a privileged viewing point, from whose heights you can contemplate the valleys and the Simpson and Coyhaique rivers which border the city.
Located 23 kilometers east of the city, on the international highway which joins this regional capital with Argentina via the “Coyhaique Alto” pass, you will find Dos Lagunas Natural Monument. Here you will find some gentle walking trails and also picnic sites from where you can observe the diverse bird life of Patagonia, such as woodpeckers, red-gartered coot and black-necked swans.
Following the same route and 45 kilometers outside of Coyhaique (and only 500 meters from the border with Argentina) is the “Punta del Monte” ranch. From there you can begin a fascinating journey which leads through pampa and native trees to the condor observation sites from where you can view the nests and flights of condors. Without doubt, its an experience without parallel.
You can also visit the Cerro Huemules National Reserve, situated only 20 kilometers from the city and where, if you are lucky, you will be able to observe from an appropriate distance the huemul (an Andean deer endemic to Chile). It is an endangered species and, along with the condor, graces the Chilean national shield. This is an experience that will linger long in the memory.
Fly fishing in AysenFly fishing in Aysen
Outside these protected wild areas there are still other unforgettable moments in waiting, with rivers and lakes such as Castor, Frio and Pollux quick and easy to get to, and where you can do some spectacular fishing or kayaking. You can also experience the thrill of rafting down the Simpson River.
If rest and contemplation are more your thing, then meander around the city and take some photographs in Coyhaique’s main square - the Plaza de Armas. The square is renowned for the great variety of its native trees and its pentagonal shape, and where actually ten streets converge. On these streets you can access a variety of services: banks, shops, cafes and restaurants, more. In addition, on one side of the square you can find the craft fair which brings together regional artisans and their handicrafts.
Artesanos de AysenArtesanos de Aysen
Open all year and a mere 29 kilometers from Coyhaique, and only 1600 meters above sea level, is the surprising El Fraile Mountain Center. It has four pistes and you can take part in diverse activities, such as skiing, walks on ice and trekking.
And if adventure is your greatest passion, then you will want to take part in one of the 13 adventure sport races that the region offers throughout the year for lovers of extreme sports. Various disciplines welcome hundreds of adventurers looking to challenge the country’s most pristine routes, rivers and lakes.
Entertainment on the menu
As far as food is concerned, regional flavors have for some time been achieving national and international recognition here. And the so-called Gastronomia de Autor – where the liberated cook creatively mixes traditional, nouvelle and fusion cuisines – gets stronger by the day. Regional products for export such as salmon and Patagonian morels are included in captivating menus from restaurants also offering the best of Chilean wine and regional beers, the latter coming from diverse parts of Aysén and winning great acclaim. And when night falls, there are bars to suit all tastes, as well as nightclubs, restaurants and a casino with live shows. They all offer you the chance to finish the day with a toast, and plan what will happen tomorrow, in the unforgettable Destination Aysén Patagonia.
*This Content is paid for and written by our Sponsor 
Translation by Benjamin Waters