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Aysen

Why visit Aysen?

Aysen is simply glorious. Wild, remote, sparsely populated and wonderfully peaceful, it has some of the most beautiful, diverse and iconic landscapes in Chile, including the entire Northern Patagonian Ice Field, which is exceeded in size only by those of Greenland and Antarctica. There is true grandeur here. It has only been feasible to visit this region since the 1980s, with the building of the Carretera Austral road removing the need to negotiate tiny trails, and infrastructure and communications systems only really got established in the last couple of decades. Consequently there is still a sense of being  a pioneer here – much of this wilderness is rarely visited, and you feel as if you have discovered it for yourself. The Aysensinos are an immensely welcoming people; these pioneers love to share their passion for their environment with visitors. 
Reasons to visit Aysen include:

  • Visit the unique Marble Caves – dazzling, iridescent geological formations on General Carrera Lake. The most famous caves are the Marble Chapel and Marble Cathedral. 
  • San Rafael Lagoon National Park – an astoundingly beautiful place. In this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve you will find the Northern Patagonian Ice Field, vast glaciers, San Rafael Lagoon and the tallest mountain in Patagonia, the 4,058m-high Mount San Valentín 
  • Visit the Parque Patagonia. 
  • Take a boat trip on San Rafael Lagoon, sailing among the ice blocks calving off the San Rafael glacier. 
  • Watch for birdlife and wildlife, including condors, cormorants, black-necked swans, black-browed albatross, huala ducks, sea otters, sea lions, elephant seals and Andean foxes. 
  • Explore the huge dry Steppe stretching from the Andes to the Atlantic, and look for pumas, guanacos and huemel deer. 
  • Trek through the humid, temperate rainforests of Queulat National Park to the hanging glacier, which sits atop two waterfalls. 
  • Get an idea of the scale of the Great Glacier on O’Higgins Lake. 
  • Hiking, horse riding, fishing,  mountain biking and sea kayaking are all superb here 
  • Shop for traditional arts and crafts in the handicrafts market in Coyhaique. 

When to go to Aysen

November to March is the most popular time to visit. I the spring (September to November) the daytime temperature is warm but the nights are cold. Day and night temperatures warm up from December to February but summer, like the spring, is also characterised by strong winds. Spring is great for flowers, summer better for wildlife viewing. The temperature and the winds start to drop from March to May and by winter (June to August) there are mild winds and a good chance of snow.

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Aysen accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT -4 hours

Flight time:

There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.

Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.

Visas:

Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.

Health:

Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.

 

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