If you are craving for an outdoors adventure and some serious close-up encounters with Mother Nature, then Aysen is what you are looking for! Between the Lakes and Magallanes regions, Aysen is an often-overlooked treasure in the Chilean Patagonia. Featuring glaciers, steaming forests, pristine aquamarine-colored lakes, waterfalls, fjords and glimmering blue caverns, this place is an absolute gem for you to escape your everyday life and enjoy an ultimate natural adventure.
Let us tell you about the must-see and do’s, so you can kick-start planning your Aysen expedition!!!
It’s really a destination on its own right. The Carretera Austral (southern highway) features over 1,200 kilometers of gravel, dirt and pavement, winding through forests, mountains and some of the most superb landscapes you’ll ever see. Connecting Puerto Montt, up north, with the tucked away Villa O’Higgins, in Aysen, this road is a favorite among cyclist and guarantees an utmost road trip through the Chilean Patagonia.
The Carretera Austral takes you into the lakeside town of Puerto Tranquilo, the touristic hub for the Aysen region and starting-point for all sorts of excursions. Melting glaciers produce pitch-perfect blue water streams that flow between snowy mountains, putting on quite a show. This sleepy town and its friendly locals are perfect for unwinding between adventures.
THE MARBLE CAVES
Probably the most iconic tourist attraction, this otherworldly labyrinth of solid marble caves is the result of about 6,000 years of erosion by wind and water. Lying by General Carrera Lake, the crystal clear blue water and bright sunlight create a glimmering multicolor effect on the caves’ walls… pretty psychedelic! While you are there, you might want to seize the chance for some kick-ass trout and salmon fishing, or some kayaking on the lake.
Aysen is pretty much “Glacierland”! You’ll be surrounded by ice in all shapes and sizes, including both the ice fields of northern and southern Patagonia. You can explore these by foot and climbing up high to get the best views, but there are cruise opportunities, if you are more of a lazy-holiday type of traveler. Heads up… Aysen is home to one of the most stunning and massive ice titans, namely the San Rafael Glacier. Ask your guide about drinking the purest meltwater … or maybe even a good whisky on the rocks with ice from the glacier! 😉
A fairly newly established protected area, Patagonia Park started from a private conservation initiative, with the aim of handing it over to the government once the project was implemented. The lands have been restored after having been used as farmlands and are now welcoming local wildlife, such as guanacos, back into their original home. The park offers opportunities for fishing, hiking, boating and other low-impact activities.
QUEULAT NATIONAL PARK
The Carretera Austral also leads you into this hidden gem. The Queulat National Park is a temperate rainforest displaying numerous hiking trails through humid, intense green forests, adorned with clear water streams. The “hanging” glacier, suspended between two peaks, is something you definitely don’t want to miss! This area is ideal if you are up for some serious hiking… and if you do feel sore at some point, just go dip yourself in the hot springs at Termas del Ventisquero, close to the park’s entrance.
CERRO CASTILLO NATIONAL RESERVE
Cerro Castillo (Castle Hill) National Reserve features some impressive rock formations. This area is another favorite of hikers and mountaineers, who are eager to hit that for-day trekking route around the mountain. This is a rather solo hiking experience, as this spot is much less crowded than similar, more popular trails at Torres del Paine. Wildlife at the reserve is outstanding… if you are lucky you might spot guanacos, the rarely seen huemul deer or even a puma!
So, if you are in need of an off-the-beaten-path experience in one of the most isolated but stunningly beautiful natural areas in Chile, then Aysen region is just perfect for you!
Let us know if you need any help putting together your ideal adventure within this area of rich and diverse natural beauty.