Coihaique

Winter season in Coihaique North of Patagonia in Chile

Winter season in Coihaique North of Patagonia in Chile

The city of Coihaique is located in the South end of Chile to 1.018 miles of Santiago city, has around 37,000 inhabitants and was founded in 1929. The city of Coihaique is considered the joining point to the rest of the region.

Coihaique was designated the capital of the XI region in 1974, due its development and central location in the territory. Its urbanization grew around a peculiar seat of five sides that disorients the visitor.

The climate in Coihaique is cold rainy tempering and without dry station. In summer the maximum and minimum temperatures oscillate around the 42º Fahrenheit and 60° Fahrenheit, respectively and, in winter, fluctuates between 23º Fahrenheit and 41° Fahrenheit.

In the city of Coihaique, you will be able to visit the Regional Museum of the Patagonia (Museo Regional de la Patagonia), this place keeps the history of the city registered in photos of the first pilgrims; near you find the called Monument to the Sheeper (Monumento al Ovejero), you will be also able to cross its main streets with attractive commerce and you will find the traditional Handmade craft shops (Feria Artesanal); it is pleasant the way in the bridge on the mighty River Simpson (Rio Simpson).

River near Coihaique in Chile

River near Coihaique in Chile

In Coihaique, it is traditional to visit the Stone of the Indian (Piedra del Indio) with the profile of a native; the stone is contiguous to the city and it is possible to arrive to it by foot. It is recommended to cross the bridge Ramón Oses (Puente Ramón Oses) to return to downtown.

In Coihaique, you may find natural sighting that will astonish you, the National Reserve River Simpson (Reserva Nacional Rio Simpson), the National Reserve Coihaique (la Reserva Nacional Cohaique) that counts on a vehicular circuit of 5 miles and on several pedestrian footpaths that cross a group of lagoons, among which stands out the Lagoon Venus (Laguna Venus), with native forest that was not reached for the big fire of 1955. In the reserve are distributed the areas of picnic at the Lagoon Green (Laguna Verde) and a camping in House Witch (Casa Bruja). It is recommended, in addition, to visit the Lake Elizalde (Lago Elizalde).

Main attractions near Coihaique are the following ones:

Puerto Aisén

Puerto Aisén is located at the shore of the River Aisén (Rio Aisén) and has around 14,000 inhabitants. It is located 32 miles of Coihaique. This city is of regular layout, with old trees and buildings. At the present time, in Puerto Aisén is concentrated the main activity of services of all the insular territory.

In Puerto Aisén you will be able to visit the Lake the Woods (Lago Los Palos) that is located in a valley of pilgrims, surrounded of vegetation in a beautiful natural landscape; another option is to make the circuit of 32 miles of roundtrip from the drawer of the River White (Cajón del Rio Blanco) to the  Riesco Lake of calm waters and apt for the fishing. From there, it is qualified a way from Valles Lagunas to Coihaique.

The Port Chacabuco (Puerto Chacabuco). Several types of ships leave towards the Lagoon San Rafael (Laguna San Rafael). There are of tourism, with luxury equipment, some with different categories of passengers, and regular service in high season.

Those of smaller capacity for passengers can be rented as charter to make a longer trip, from five to seven days, among the channels and islands of the archipelago of Aisén (archipiélago de Aisén). There are some with good equipment, travel during the day, spending the night in small bays. They make terrestrial excursions and visits to spas.

Another alternative are the schooners, informal and more economic tourism, anchored in Port Woods (Puerto Palos) and Port Died Waters (Puerto Aguas Muertas), both in the city of Aisén. You can speak with their captains, who supply the pilgrims of the islands.

National Park River Simpson

(Parque Nacional Rio Simpson)

The National Park River Simpson (Parque Nacional Rio Simpson) has this name because of the River Simpson (Rio Simpson) that crosses it in its route towards the west and is one of the more desired rivers for the fishing with fly. It is acceded to this area through the paved way from Port Chacabuco (Puerto Chacabuco) to Coihaique in mile 22 of the same one.

The surface of the protected area of the National Park River Simpson (Parque Nacional Rio Simpson) is of 40,452 hectares, a rough relief and with summits superior to 5.249 feet, which gives origin to narrow valleys and gaps by which they lower the rivers. Also, in the National Park River Simpson (Parque Nacional Rio Simpson) emphasizes the rivers Correntosos (Río Correntosos) and Cascade of the Virgin (Rio Cascada de la Vírgen), affluents of the Simpson, both surrounded by beautiful landscapes and exuberant vegetation.

Center of Ski the Friar

(Centro de Esquí el Fraile)

The Center of Ski the Friar (Centro de Esquí el Fraile) is located to 18 miles from Coihaique and more than 3.280 feet of altitude in surroundings where the ideal conditions exist to practice this sport. Located in height, it offers a spectacular view of the Lake Cold (Lago Frio) and Lake Pólux (Lago Pólux).

The Friar (El Fraile) has 5 fields of ski and two ferry cables immersed in forests of lenga and ñirre, which turns it into a very beautiful and particular place, with a skiing surface of 550 hectares.

The Winter Center the Friar (El Centro Invernal El Fraile) works from Thursdays to Sundays. It offers leasing services of equipment, patrols and school of ski.

Lake Blue, Lake the Dove and Lake Desert

(Lago Azul, Lago la Paloma y Lago Desierto)

These three beautiful lakes are 26 miles to the south of Coihaique. In the middle of mountains and deep cliffs, they project a succession of three to each other united lakes by short drainages. These are: Lake Blue (Lago Azul), Lake the Dove (Lago la Paloma) and Lake Desert (Lago Desierto). These are frequently visited by the fans of fishing or by tourists.

Lakes Cold, Pólux and Beaver

(Lagos Frio, Pólux y Castor)

These three lakes are located to south-orients of Coihaique to 21 miles. It can be acceded by a residue way that is in good conditions in seasons of spring and summer. Its natural beauty is the perfect scene to develop the photography. In the lakes Cold, Pólux and Castor the rainbow trout can be fished in abundant form.

Lake Elizalde (Lago Elizalde)

The beautiful Lake Elizalde (Lago Elizalde) is located in the surroundings of Coihaique. You can find it 20 miles of Coihaique by the route to Balmaceda and has an extension of 2,510 hectares.

The Lake Elizalde (Lago Elizalde) is surrounded by forests of coigües and lengas; it is member of the group of the five lakes that empty to the west, towards Port Aisén (Puerto Aisén). It is possible to accede to the lake through a residue way and it is possible to practice the fishing of trouts, the photography and the hiking.

Lagoon Hidden (Laguna Escondida)

The beautiful lagoon Hidden (Laguna Escondida) with dense and high grazing, located 16 miles to the northeast of Coihaique, on sediments of gravel and gravilla and that is surrounded by jonquil.

Lenga is the preponderant arboreal species in its forest with isolated ñires and ciruelillos. The birds stand out since it counts on ducks (patos), flying quetru, big and small jargon (jargon grande y pequeño), royal ducks (patos reales), common tagua (tagua común) and Huala, and on the other hand, you will be able to see eagles (águilas), peucos, abutardas or foxes (zorros), among others.

Lake Crossed (Lago Atravesado)

It is located to 15 miles of Coihaique. This small lake, beautiful and exuberant, has a great natural attractive. By its corners, of excellent composition, it is the ideal site to develop the photography. In addition, it has an imposing cascade that spills its waters in the Elizalde Lake, and you will be able to observe clearly this cascade from this lake.

Lagoon the Bull (Lago El Toro)

The lagoon the Bull (Lago El Toro) is located in the mountain range sector, by the route that leads to High Coihaique (Coihaique Alto) to 13 miles of the city. It has a small beach and sites of affability for camping or picnic. By the same route, a little bit more than 2 miles, is the Lagoon Hidden (Laguna Escondida); an appropriate place for the recreation and the relaxation. It allows pleasing appropriate excursions for the observation of the wild fauna.

Lagoon Foitzick (Laguna Foitzick)

Leaving Coihaique, taking the South Highway (Carretera Sur), 4 miles of the city, you will find the Lagoon Foitzick (Laguna Foitzick) that in winter is frozen and in summer is usually inhabited  by ducks and swans. It is surrounded by rocky formations and marshy lands and it is a forced step if you wish to travel to the south through the Austral Way (Camino Austral).

Towards the south, the deflection to the east is towards the Lakes Transition, the Cold, the Pólux and the Beaver (Lagos Transición, El Frío, Pólux y el Castor). Near there is the Ski Center the Friar (Centro de Esquí El Fraile).

Lake Caro

The Lake Caro can be acceded through the Coihaique Way (Camino Coihaique) – Port Aisén (Puerto Aisén), 3 miles of Coihaique. The route is asphalted until the deflection of access to the reserve. This one and the inner ways are for summer season or for vehicles of double traction in winter.

Lake Crossed (Lago Atravesado)

The Lake Crossed (Lago Atravesado) is good for fishing; the way of the Austral Highway (Carretera Austral) continues bordering its edge by 2 miles. A little bit further, crosses to the Bridge Quetro (Puente Quetro) going into the Valley Lagoons (Valle Lagunas). Near is the lodge River Black (Rio Negro) and furthermost is a water jump, of 196 feet, of two falls.

Area of Protection of the Huemul River Clear.

(Área de Protección del Huemul Río Claro)

The Area of protection of the Huemul River Clear (Área de protección del Huemul Río Claro) is constituted by 426.55 hectares. The National Committee Pro Defense of Fauna and Flora (Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna) (CODEFF), with funds of the Zoological Society of Frankfurt (Sociedad Zoológica de Frankfurt) in Germany, acquired in 1991 these lands because the historical presence of huemules was threatened by the construction of lumber roads.

The Area is within the Andean Patagonian Mountain range (Cordillera Andina Patagónica), where it dominates the Caducifolio Forest of Aisén (Bosque Caducifolio de Aisén), characterized by a predominance of the Association of Coigüe of Magallanes and Lenga. There are sectors of renewals, caused by fires in the past, adult forest of lenga, sectors with high grazing of height, areas of brush woods, and humid zones as mallines.

You can find varied fauna with more than 23 species of birds and many species of mammals, several of them threatened or with conservation problems, among which it emphasizes huemul, emblematic species of the conservation in Chile, and others such as güiña, puma, culpeo fox, quique, chingue, little mouse of the hawthorns and olivine mouse.

A footpath of 2 miles that begins in the CONAF day-care center, allows crossing a sector of transition between the forest always green and caducifolio forest of Aisén, where it is possible to see huemules. It is recommendable to make it accompanied by somebody of CONAF, because some sections are not noticeable.

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