Chile travel blog by Mark Berman -
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My journey to Futaleufu started in Osorno when I travelled over the mountains to Bariloche (Argentina) and south through El Bolson, Esquel and Trevelin
to cross back into Chile at Futaleufu. Futaleufu is 10kms from the border of Argentina. Buses from Argentina (Esquel) to Futaleufu only run on certain
days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Being a Saturday I had to hitch a ride from the border into town after taking a taxi there from Trevelin (40mins). My
walk and hitchhiking into Futaleufu town center was extremely scenic with beautiful snow-capped mountains, open green farmland and a picturesque landscape
to enjoy! From Chile you can get to Futaleufu by ferry from Puerto Montt and from Quellon on Chiloe Island (to Chaiten) and take a bus from there.
River Adventure & Other Activities
In the summer
months Futaleufu is packed with visitors taking part in whitewater rafting, kayaking and fly fishing at the Futaleufu River which is near the Argentinian
border. The Espolon River runs behind the town and joins the Futaleufu River 1km from the frontier. Horse riding and mountain biking are other popular
activities in Futaleufu, but that's not all folks! Other Futaleufu activities for fun and adventure include Duckies (more stable kayaks) and Riverbugs
(single person seat kayak) on the Espolon and Azul rivers, canopy rides in the forest, rural and agricultural tourism to farms, canyoning, trekking in the
national reserve, beaches for families to enjoy on the Espolon River, waterfalls at the Azul River, climbing to the top of Teta Hill (Cerro Teta) (1800m),
standing on the edge of the Piedra (Rock) of Aguila and excursions to nearby Lakes Espolon and Lonconao. During October when I was here it was an extremely
quiet place with nobody around at all!
The Town & Accommodation
Futaleufu is a very small town with a small population, a small grid of streets, a bunch of shops, restaurants, fast-food
and resto-bars and a few grocery stores. If you are coming here for an extended period I would advise you to bring plenty of food supplies from a large
supermarket! The town has quite a number of accommodation options with over 40 places hidden away in the sidestreets - explore and you will find them!
The area in the kilometers surrounding the town has plenty of accommodation with over 75 places including bed and breakfasts, hotels, hospedajes, hostels,
hosterias, cabañas and camping. Restaurants and fast-food are also spread out around this area!
Mirror Lagoon & Sights
The main feature in Futaleufu apart from the surrounding
rivers and snow-capped mountain peaks is the beautiful lagoon - Laguna Espejo (Mirror Lagoon). This is a beautiful place to be with stunning views of the
snow-capped mountains around it. There's a children's playground beside the lagoon to keep the young ones entertained while the grown ups can take in the
picturesque scenery! Beside the lagoon is the Historical Museum and Cultural House. On the other side of the lagoon from the playground and viewing area
is a lookout point overlooking the town called Mirador Water Tower (Mirador Torre de Agua). However after doing some reading I learnt you need to pass
through 2 private properties which are guarded by dogs and that you need to have stones with you to protect yourself from them. I didn't try it. I've
been caught out by guard dogs before! There's another lookout point called Mirador The Flag (Mirador La Bandera) which has better views than the first
mirador and is located on the other side of town from the lagoon. Ask the tourist information office for advice about how to get up to the miradors! The
tourist office is located beside the plaza where there is a large water wheel. The church is nearby and there are cute wooden houses with firewood stacks
and steel chimneys on the roofs in the streets around.
Futaleufu to Coyhaique 10hrs Bus
From Futaleufu I travelled south by bus to Coyhaique
which takes 10hrs including food stops. There
is stunning scenery along the journey where the road runs beside the Espolon River, Lake Lonconao and the Futaleufu River on the first leg to Villa Santa
Lucia. South of Villa Santa Lucia in La Junta is where we stopped at a restaurant for 30mins for lunch. This is the Carretera Austral (Route 7) and it runs
for over 1200kms from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins through rural Patagonia! Distances from Futaleufu to places around: Villa Santa Lucia 81kms, Palena
90kms, La Junta 154kms, Chaiten 156kms, Puyuhuapi 200kms, Coyhaique
422kms, Esquel 73kms, Bariloche