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Balmaceda

Description

Balmaceda is a small town in the Aysen region, it is the starting point of the Pampas. Only 500 people live in the village, they settled in the area circa 1917, and it is the first populated town of Aysen, in the closest villa to Argentina. Back when it was first being populated, the people in charge decided to divide the hectares in a thousand small properties, where a school and a main square were rapidly built. It was then, in 1928, when the Chilean government decided to acknowledge its existence, and in 1945 the Chilean Air Force started building a small airport, right outside the city, which is the only international airport in the region. With the construction of the road to Coyhaique, the airport lived moments of decadence, but it is working at its full capacity now.

In Balmaceda you can also find the Huemules border pass, which unites Argentina and Chile, and which is right next to the airport. It is open all year, but the hours change depending on the weather conditions. It is a small locality, where families survive thanks to cattle farming and the cultivation of vegetables. It is possible to walk around the entire city in a single day, with the airport and the custom office right in front of it. It is common to see a lot of deserted areas in the city, places that were never occupied or that were abandoned after being objects of big fires, a constant menace.

It is the entrance to other attractions, such as Cochrane and Coyhaique.

Attractions

It is the entry to the Pampas, which continues on the Argentinean side, a place you can see immediately after crossing the customs office at the airport. It's a small town, with simple constructions and natural beauty.

Activities

You can take walks up and down this quiet town, and get a glimpse of what is like to live in such a far away place. From here, you can travel to other places, such as the Blanco Lake, Coyhaique, the El Fraile Ski Center, and others.

Information

Location
55 kms southeast of Cochrane, in AysÚn.
How To Get There
You can take a flight in Santiago to Balmaceda. The trip makes one stop in Puerto Montt and it's 3 hours long. By land, you have to take the Carretera Austral from Chaiten or Futaleufu.
When To Go
All year.
Climate
The Andes can't stop the strong winds around this area. Coyhaique is located in an intermediate zone, where it rains almost 950 mm a year, and in Balmaceda the rain reaches the 500 mm a year.
Services
Airport, customs office.
Surroundings
Paso Huemules, Vista Hermosa, Valle Simpson, Lago La Paloma, Villa Cerro Castillo, El Blanco, Villa Frei, Coyhaique.