Known as Chile’s ‘final city’, Coyhaique is surrounded by incredible beauty. Though this spot in the far reaches of the country has a character-filled town center, it’s also a great place to experience new ways of seeing the surrounding area. Here’s our pick of the best that the great outdoors has to offer.
The river that flows right around the town of Coyhaique can be viewed from the outskirts of town, at the bottom of the valley and is a stunning sight from above, or from horseback. Take part in a horseback tour and trot around hard to reach wilderness on the form of transport used when these areas were first explored.
If exploring the Simpson from the back of a horse is a little too leisurely for you, then you can get the adrenaline pumping by bounding down it on an inflated rubber boat on one of the many river rafting tours available. The wide river provides some bumpy rapids that will get you wet, but nothing too overpowering to scare off beginners.
Strap on your crampons, or those provided by the tour company, and explore the glacier outside of town. The Explorers Glacier is located in the Laguna San Rafael National Park a few hours south west of Coyhaique, and you can climb over the top of it enjoying incredibly panoramic views, as well as climbing through some of the natural ice caves.
The Catedral de Marmol, or Marble Cathedral, will get the heart pumping in a different way as this is one of the most unique places in all of Chile. Marvel at the incredibly smooth swirling blue caves made out of the naturally occurring marble from sea level in your kayak.
Zipping through the mountains and forest on a trail and plush dual suspension mountain bike makes a nice change to exploring on foot, and it’s possible to do this near Coyhaique. Take your pick from various different options that include seven-day trips that cover a few hundred kilometers, and four-day/three-night tours, or plan a biking trip to suit you with a tailor-made itinerary to fit the exact duration and type of riding you want to do.
One of the lesser-known activities, but one of the most exciting, is ascending the MacKay mountain. This monolith is a giant step towards the sky and you can harness up and climb the completely vertical face. There are only a few tour companies that provide all-inclusive tours, such as Patagonia Trip Planner, so while it’s something unique that you can do in Coyhaique, it’s also an experience that many others won’t even know was an option.
A strong draw to visit this area is the tremendous scenery, and the Cerro Castillo is a perfect example as the Natural Reserve has some stunning landscapes. The park is also home to different type of condors, Andean deer and even pumas, and is named after its headlining attraction: the mountain of Cerro Castillo that has glaciers, lakes and rivers surrounding and running through it.