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Cerro Castillo

Description

Cerro Castillo is a small village, founded in 1966, and it's the capital of the Torres del Paine commune. It is meters away from the Don Guillermo border access, which unites Argentina and Chile, and only 56 kms from the Laguna Amarga entrance to the Torres del Paine National Park. It used to live for and out of cattle farming, but today is dedicated mostly to tourism activities. It is a place of simple constructions, built in the old fashion style of the 1800s, which gives the entire place a singular atmosphere. If you visit the Torres del Paine, it is worth it to make the detour to see this village. As the people who live there say "this is where the continent ends and the adventure begins."

The Villa Cerro Castillo is facing the mountain chain of the same name, which is part of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. Created in 1970, the Reserve has an area of 134 thousand hectares, including part of Coyhaique and the Ibáñez River. It is crossed by the Carretera Austral on its way to Cochrane, which allows you to go right through the mountain chain which separated the Ibáñez and Aysen Rivers.

The reserve is filled with native vegetation, with species of lengas, ñirres, notros or ciruelillos, calafates and chauras. To protect the grounds, other species were planted in the area, such as pines and the larix decidua. When it comes to animals, you can find the huemul, guanaco, foxes and birds like the condor, eagles, cachañas and thrushes.

For those who enjoy camping, there are several areas to do that in the Reserve, especially the Laguna Chiguay camping site, which is 65 kms on the road to Puerto Ibáñez and Cochrane.

There are several paths to be walked on, used by the settlers to move cattle, and to be used by visitors now. The main one is the one in the Estero Parada, which is 16 kms long, and allows you to see the big Cerro Castillo Mountain and snowdrifts on the way.

Attractions

Cerro Castillo is a small village but outstanding when it comes to beauty. When it's tourism season, its streets are filled with parties and typical celebrations, which let you know how different it is for people to live here, and how the traditions are still intact in some parts of the country. You can also visit the Cerro Castillo National Reseve, which has many other attractions on its own.

Activities

In Cerro Castillo you can take beautiful pictures while you walk down the quiet streets of the village, surrounded by native vegetation and colonial architecture. In January, people come together to give life to the Chilean Party, where animals are shown and typical games are displayed, as well as sports, where children and adults participate. At the end of February, they celebrate the Chilean Rodeo and in December they have the Shearing Ceremony, where about 1500 animals are shaved in public.

Information

Location
Torres del Paine.
How To Get There
You can take a flight in Santiago to Coyhaique, where you can drive through the Carretera Austral to the Cerro Castillo village.
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. Cerro Castillo is located between these two areas.
Services
Accommodations, coffee house, hospital, school, mini market, telephone and post office, library, buses, gas station, airport, museum and general information.
Surroundings
Paso Huemules, Vista Hermosa, Valle Simpson, Lago La Paloma, Villa Cerro Castillo, El Blanco, Villa Frei, Coyhaique.