Chile Chico

(Small Chile)

Chile Chico in the North Patagonia, Chile

Chile Chico in the North Patagonia, Chile

Chile Chico is a commune and a town of the south of Chile located in the Province of General Carrera (Provincia del General Carrera), in XI the Region of Aisén. The town of Chile Chico is the capital of the homonym commune and of the Province of General Carrera (Provincia del General Carrera). It has around 4 thousand inhabitants.

Urbanized and hoisted, the town of Chile Chico was originated thanks to the effort of a group of pilgrims that entered through Argentina in 1909 and occupied the land.

In 1959, the commune of Chile Chico was created with the name of Lake Buenos Aires (Lago Buenos Aires), being this one the name that had the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera). Later, it was changed the name to the Chilean part of the Lake, and along with this to the commune that was named Chile Chico.

In 1991, the commune of Chile Chico underwent the eruption of Hudson Volcano (Volcán Hudson) that covered it with a heavy ash layer.

The commune of Chile Chico includes all the South margin of the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera), from the borderline with Argentina to the Eastern slope of the North Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Norte). It is a mountainous zone, its population, mainly rural, lives of the cattle breeding and the tourism.

The town of Chile Chico is located closely together to the edges of the big Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera) and very close to the borderline with Argentina, almost contiguous to the Argentine locality of the Old Ones (Los Antiguos).

The locality of Chile Chico owns a benign micro climate that allows cultivating products as those of the central zone, that’s why Chile Chico sold its fruits production to Coihaique and Argentina. At the present time, the competition of the center zone of the country, added the improvement of the routes, has diminished its agricultural activity. However, the economy has improved with the opening of the Fachinal Mine (Mina Fachinal), whose offices are in the town.

In Chile Chico, cross its street Bernardo O’Higgins (calle Bernardo O’Higgins) that finishes at the limit with Argentina.

By the end of January, in Chile Chico is carried out the International Festival of the Voice that is part of the activities of the week of the commune anniversary.

Among the attractive sites near to the commune of Chile Chico, we can emphasize the following ones:

Passage of the Keys (Paso de las Llaves)

The Passage of the Keys (Paso de las Llaves) is a footpath dug on alive rock, with 18 miles of extension by the cornice on the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera). It was inaugurated in 1991 and it is part of the Austral Highway (Carretera Austral). The way rises by a plateau from which you will obtain a beautiful view of the Lake Cochrane (Lago Cochrane) and the Ice Fields of the Andes (Campo de Hielos de Los Andes). More ahead, the cornice goes down until the level of the lake to draw among rocks and to raise the rocky plateau again, where there is no vegetation.

Port Guadal (Puerto Guadal)

Port Guadal (Puerto Gaudal) is a small town with 500 inhabitants approximately and it is located in the southwestern end of the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera). The Port Guadal (Puerto Gaudal) offers several basic services, provisions and telephone. It is located in a closed bay where there is a microclimate, and has a beautiful beach called Pearl of the Lake (Perla del Lago). It was founded by Lucas Bridges to be the starting point of the production of his stay. A footpath connects Port Guadal (Puerto Guadal) with the Valley of Cochrane (Valle de Cochrane).

In mile 9, towards hills, it is located the Cascade of the Maquis (Cascada de los Maquis), is formed by several staggered jumps, and the biggest of them has a height of 82 feet, and around it grows a dense vegetation. Going further, there is a pretty beach next to the lake. In mile 20 is located the aerodrome Plateau Cosmeli (Aeródromo Meseta Cosmeli).

In mile 24, you will arrive at Big Mallín (Mallín Grande), the only village separated of the lake with high grass and a sawmill. It was formed to give services to the old dispersed population. After 2 miles, you will find a deflection that, towards the left, leads to Wharf (Embarcadero), in a warm bay.

Port Fachinal (Puerto Fachinal)

The Port Fachinal (Puerto Fachinal) located passed mile 45, in the River Avilés (Rio Avilés), has small farms, tree-lined avenues against the wind and a beach. It is the narrowest point of the lake to draw for rocks and to raise the rocky plateau again, where there is no vegetation. The Mine Fachinal (Mina Fachinel) is an open deposit of gold and precious metals that processes around 1500 tons of material daily.

Marble Chapel (Capilla de Mármol)

The Marble Chapel (Capilla de Mármol) is located in the commune of Chile Chico, in Port Calm (Puerto Tranquilo). It is formed by a massive marble peninsula, drilled by the lake, with caves at the level of the water which one enters by boat. You will be able to organize a navigation of half an hour, with one stay of equal duration that is made depending on the conditions of the weather. Sail among shining marble walls polished for the water is something truly unforgettable. These calcium carbonate formations were declared Sanctuary of the Nature (Santuario de la Naturaleza).

Port Calm (Puerto Tranquilo)

The Port Calm (Puerto Tranquilo) is the place where the Marble Chapel (Capilla de Mármol) is located. Lake Calm (Lago Tranquilo), crossed by a valley of pilgrims, from this point begins the River Explorers (Rio Exploradores), advancing through this valley on the feet of the Mount San Valentin (Monte San Valentín), from where come off beautiful ventisqueros[1]. From the Port Calm (Puerto Tranquilo), the highway continues bordering the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera) through 6 miles on a rocky cornice, with excellent panoramic views and zones of camping.

Bay Rockrose (Bahía Jara)

Bay Rockrose (Bahía Jara) is located 10 miles to the west of Chile Chico, in front to the peninsula of Levicán (Peninsula de Levicán). It is a beautiful beach protected against the wind. It is an attractive stroll, since to arrive at it, one is due to cross numerous small farms and parcels. In this place there is a beach and a camping area.

Lagoon Green (Laguna Verde)

Following the way that borders the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera), in southwestern direction, 15 miles, it is located Lagoon Green (Laguna Verde). It has characteristics similar to a crater, its waters has high levels of salts, which determines its shores of red color and without vegetation. Its waters are of turquoise color and are attributed to them medicinal properties. The fluvial erosion drags sediments until the shore of the lake, where it generates small cultivated plains.

Cave of the Hands (Cueva de las Manos)

It is located in the sector of Stream Stony (Arroyo Pedregoso), 12 miles of Chile Chico. There are not routes for vehicles which make difficult its access, but it is possible to arrive by walking. It is part of the National Park Jeinimeni (Parque Nacional Jeinimeni) and here is located the largest concentration of Tehuelche painting of the zone.

Passage of the Lioness (Paso de la Leona)

The Passage of the Lioness (Paso de la Leona) corresponds to the footpath for horses that takes you until the Chacabuco Valley (Valle Chacabuco). It begins 15 miles to the south of Chile Chico and it is characterized because its layout crosses a small river 36 times.

Lagoon Jeinimeni (Laguna Jeinimeni)

The Lagoon Jeinimeni (Laguna Jeinimeni) is located 32 miles to the south of Chile Chico, in the National Park Jeinimeni (Parque Nacional Jeinimeni). It is an excellent mountainous sector for the practice of sport fishing. There is much native vegetation and you can see a large amount of birds here, of different species, among them flamenco and swans of black neck.

The Finishing nail (La Puntilla)

The Finishing nail (La Puntilla) corresponds to a sector of the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera), 1.8 miles from Chile Chico. It is a natural sanctuary which reunites numerous species of typical birds of this zone.

Lake Bertrand (Lago Bertrand)

In the shore of the Lake Bertrand (Lago Bertrand) is the town of the same name. The lake has waters of turquoise color and is the one that receives waters of the Lake General Carrera (Lago General Carrera) that gives origin to the Baker River (Rio Baker), the mightiest of Chile.


[1] mountainous zone that accumulates snow because of the wind

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