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Coyhaique

Description

Coyhaique is the capital of Aysen, with almomst 42 thousand people. It includes Lago Verde, Aysén, Cisnes, Guatiecas, Río Ibáñez, Villa O´Higgins, Cochrane, Chile Chico, and Tortel. There are two versions that explain its name. The first one says that it comes form the word "coy" in mapudungun, the language used by the Mapuche people, which means coihue, one of the trees that are abundant in the region. The second version is that it comes from the Tehuelche word "coi", which means "water", and the word "aike" which means "place", that way it would create the word Coyhaique, meaning "place of water".

The city is surrounded by a rich environment. On one side you have the Patagonia mountain chain, and on the other side there are lakes, rivers and forests, turning the whole scenery into something very similar to what we've seen of the Swiss Alps or other places in Scandinavia.

The must-see places here are the Frio River, the Pollux and Castor Rivers and others where you can see all the variety of flora and fauna, such as trouts, the most famous specimen for those who like to fly fish and come to this part of the world to practice it. There is also the La Paloma Lake, 42 kms south of Coyhaique, which in reality is a combination of three other lakes in succession: the Azul Lake, La Paloma and Desierto Lake.

The Elizalde Lake, 33 kms southwest of Coyhaique, is the home of a big lenga forest, which ends in the waters of the lake, where trouts and salmons live. Next to it, you can find the Caro Lake, which goes through the Blanco River and ends in the Aysen. 25 kms from Coyhaique you can find a smaller lake, the Atravesado, and 22 kms there is the Dos Lagunas Natural Monument, where the Toro lagoon is located. There is a small beach there, and a place for camping and picnic.

Attractions

You can visit a number of rivers and lakes, like the Frio, Pollux and Castor, La Paloma, Elizalde, Atravesado, Dos Lagunas Natural Monument, and Caro. You can also enjoy the beauty of the city, with its historical museum and a series of places for entertainment, such as pubs and coffee houses. There are travel agencies too, so you can organize trips and visits to the towns and attractions near Coyhaique.

Activities

The main activity here is to practice fly fishing in one of the many lakes in the area. In them, you can also go kayaking or rafting in the nearby rivers, enjoying the landscapes and visiting them on foot or bike.

Information

Location
In Aysen, 345 kms from Cochrane.
How to get there
Driving down the Carretera Austral you get to Coyhaique, which is 1646 kms from Santiago. By water you can sail from Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco, a 22 hour long trip. You can also take a plane in Santiago or at other airport in the country, to Balmaceda, which is 34 kms away from Coyhaique.
When To Go
All year.
Climate
It is cold all year, and the rain is over 2000 mm a year, with snow in winter.
Services
Accommodation, transportation, hotel, hostel, travel agencies, water transportation, airport, car rental, taxi, tourist information.
Surroundings
Lago Elizalde, Lago Atravesado and Siete Lagunas, Río Coyhaique, Monumento Natural Lagunas El Toro and Escondida, Lago Costa Palux and Lago Frío, Farellón and Laguna Foitzick, Río Simpson, Pto. Aysén.