It’s winter in Aysen!

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  SPONSORED CONTENT: Sernatur Aysen

 


Less than three hours by air from Santiago, and less than one hour from Puerto Montt, is Balmaceda, the airport that welcomes visitors to Aysén in Chilean Patagonia. Within an hour's drive from there is the city of Coyhaique, the Aysen region’s urban epicenter. Coyhaique has all the right facilities to receive tourists, and most especially an emerging, diverse and native cuisine featuring regional export products such as salmon and Patagonian morchellas as well as 18 different microbrews produced throughout this region.

Going from Coyhaique to northern Aysen, a landscape dominated by evergreen vegetation comes into view that offers a tempting invitation to native forests and surprising flora and fauna. The route, which follows the Southern Highway, or Carretera Austral, is a glorious road that has numeorus attractive options for travellers, from hiking through Queulat National Park with its imposing Hanging Glacier to sailing trips to hot springs and a spa with truly incredible prices and just four hours from Coyhaique. 
 
 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
      
      
 
 
And if you want to know places with moreso a rustic charm, near the town of La Junta, sometimes called the "northern gate" of the Carretera Austral, is the Palena River and two other outstanding hot springs. Channels and fjords can also be enjoyed on sailing trips to Magdalena Island National Park. Located northwest of Puerto Cisnes, its possible to combine an excursion to the park with a tour that includes kayak and hiking in Queulat National Park, which is reached in just less than an hour from the Carretera Austral on Highway Route 7 North.
 
El Fraile Ski Center
At 1600 meters above seal level, the El Fraile Ski Center has four ski runs and you can also enjoy several other activities, including ice hiking and trekking.
 
Another noteworthy place to go, and situated just 5 km from Coyhaique, is the Coyhaique National Reserve, which has lush forest and diverse flora and fauna like foxes, hares and more. In the reserve you can hike, go on a bike ride, or make use of barbecue facilities at campsites. All that together with spectacular mountain views, where you see the main valleys below and the Simpson and Coyhaique rivers that border the city.

Scenic beauty, adventure and cultural heritage
Going south on the Carretera Austral we find the town of Cerro Castillo, part of the municipality of Rio Ibanez, and known for cultural landmarks such as the Escuela de Cerro Castillo history museum and "the Wall of Hands.”  Local craftsmen here give life to diverse folkloric handicrafts, such as wicker baskets, leather goods and the secrets of the renowned Juana Vega, who heals various ailments through medicinal herbs. It is without doubt a wonderful way to see up close some of the fascinating culture and traditions of Aysen.
 
Live the adventure!
Banff Mountain Film Festival: This internationally renowned film festival is held each year in Coyhaique during the month of June. Its three days of adventure, risk and passion for outdoor activities brings together people from across the Aysen region that want to live and dream with the great experiences shown on the big screen.
 
Aventura Pie Grande (Big Foot Adventure): This prestigious adventure race during Chile’s winter months is done with snowshoes in categories  of 2, 5 and 10 kilometers, and invites you to live an intense experience among amazing, snowy landscapes and wonderous forests. 
 
      
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Desafio Aysen (Aysén Challenge): Called by many the most beautiful race in Chile, in August 2015 adventurers are invited to compete in a two-day event of hiking, biking and kayaking amid awe-inspiring Patagonian landscapes. Its an unforgettable experience for adventure lovers. 
 
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