Chaitén – Chile (Carretera Austral)
Chaitén was wiped off the map in May 2008, by the eruption of the Chaitén Volcano. But the people bounced back, returned and rebuilt the village. Accommodation, restaurants and shops are open, and tours are organized. A part of the village, though, has been left untouched to remind us of the destruction nature can cause, a really impressive sight.
Chaitén is the main hub to visit the fabulous and enormous Pumalín Park, where you can admire glaciers, waterfalls, verdant temperate rainforest, 3000-year-old Alerce trees, and volcanoes, including the notorious Chaitén Volcano. A map of the park indicates the location of every trail, and all the many wonderful camping spaces. The majority are situated on the road north to Caleta Gonzalo, or you can head to the southern entrance of the park at El Amarillo, 25 km southeast of Chaitén. After exploring the park, unwinding in the El Amarillo hot springs really feels like paradise!
Due to the location of Chaitén, at the sea, boat trips are also organized to visit sea lion colonies, or you could go for a hike on the black volcanic beach of Santa Bárbara.
Tip: Travelling north via Caleta Gonzalo to Hornopirén is unforgettable. The cheap bus tickets include 2 amazing ferry rides, one of 45 minutes and the second one of a dazzling 3h45m cruising through the gorgeous fjords!