Chile travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Coyhaique is really the only city for quite some distance in any direction of notable size with an abundance of shops and supermarkets! It's the best place
to stock up on food and other items before traveling further on. Coyhaique is located a little over halfway down the Carretera Austral (Route 7) which runs
from Puerto Montt all the way down to Villa O'Higgins. Futaleufu where I had travelled from by bus is 10hrs north and is a very small town. Puerto Rio Tranquilo
(4hrs by bus) and Cochrane (7hrs by bus) further south are also very small. Balmaceda 56kms south-east has an airport which is accessible from Puerto Montt
and Santiago with Sky Airlines. To the west 90mins drive from Coyhaique is Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Aysen (port cities) where ferries travel to and from
the north and south. Coyhaique is a pleasant city to hang-out in for a few days. I needed a rest after traveling for several weeks through Chile and Argentina
to get here!
City Sights & Shopping
Coyhaique is a good place to stock up and shop. There are many electronics shops in town which indeed are very tempting. I bought a power
pack to charge my phone without needing a power socket. This definitely is a good idea and saves a lot of hassle while traveling! The Plaza de Armas (main
square) has plenty of trees and grassy areas to relax as well as a fountain. The arts and crafts fair also located in the plaza has handmade products crafted
from native wood (clocks), leather, metal (jewellery) stone, wool (small dolls) and sugar (sweets)! On one side of the plaza is the information office, across
the road from here are several arts, crafts and clothing shops with a Bohemian atmosphere. The cathedral is also nearby. From a long distance away can be
seen a huge Chilean flag flying high in the wind, this is Plaza Mirador Rio Coyhaique where you can see a fantastic view of Rio Simpson National Reserve
(valley and river). Around town you can see colorful tulips growing in gardens, tulip gardens are very common in this region of Chile!
Paseo Baquedano & Special Monuments
Paseo Baquedano de
Coyhaique is a walkway with several monuments, an awesome childrens playground, public seating areas and trees. Starting at the city end of Paseo Baquedano
is Plaza del Pionero where the 'Al Ovejero' monument is. This monument was donated by the city of Punta Arenas
and honours the work and labour of the shepherd,
his dogs, horses and stock (sheep). The next monument is called 'La Familia Tehuelche' - a sculpture of indigenous people. The monument called 'Los Chilotes'
pays homage to the immigrants and features a family working - mum and the kids bag produce while dad does woodwork. The monument called 'Puestero, Pionero de
Tradiciones' features another shepherd with his dog and sheep. The work called 'Cultura y Transicion' pays homage to the Mapuche people who helped create the
Rio Simpson National Reserve
Rio Simpson National Reserve (Reserva Nacional Rio Simpson) in Coyhaique is known for its river, waterfalls, lakes, lagoons, flora
and fauna! It has wildlife such as puma, huemul deer, condor, eagle, kingfisher, thrush, chucao, cachana, bandurrias, guinas, wild ducks, pudues and foxes.
Flora composed of canelos, ciruelillos, coigues, chilcos, manios and tepas. Activities include hiking, trekking, fly fishing, rafting, horseback riding,
picnicing, camping, enjoyment of nature and of course photography. The Rio Simpson National Reserve can be enjoyed all year round!