Puerto Chacabuco, Chile - Where the Andes Fall into the Ocean
Language and Currency
What is Puerto Chacabuco Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language is Spanish, but Chilean Spanish is full of Chilenismos, a form of national slang which varies by region. Currency is the Chilean peso.
Situated along the wild-west fjordland coast of Chile, 250 miles south of Puerto Montt, it is here that the northern Patagonian ice sheets fall into the sea in neon blue splendor. One of the last frontiers, there are few such remote, unspoiled and underdeveloped places left on earth. To simply admire the pristine beauty of its untouched natural resources is the main reason for calling on this port. Puerto Chacabuco is a small isolated settlement with no clearly defined town center. The town itself consists of one main road, a fish processing facility and a pier. A frontier like village, about 10 miles north of the port, Puerto Aysen, is the areas main town.
Puerto Chacabuco lies in a temperate climate zone. Summer (December – March) temperatures range from a high of 60°F to a low of 40°. In addition, be aware the weather on this western side of the Andes is frequently wet and windy.
Ships anchor in the bay of Chacabuco and passengers are tendered to shore. The transfer from ship to the pier takes about 15 minutes. Travel up the hill, past the tour busses, and taxis (although limited at times) are available for hire. As they are not metered, negotiate a price before traveling. A round trip tour of Coyhaique costs about $40 US at this time.
As this is truly a destination to appreciate nature, shopping is not a high priority. To do any kind of serious shopping will require a trip to the town of Coyhaique, 38 miles away, and even then your choices are somewhat limited.
Chilean wines and local handicrafts are all that I can suggest.
Hiking along the river and through the forest in Parque Aiken Del Sur is a great way to see the flora and fauna of this region up close. Excursions to Rio Simpson National Reserve, 23 miles west of Coyhaique, provide another opportunity to enjoy cascading waterfalls, canyon rivers, valleys, beaches, and forests. If your cruise ship is in port long enough one of the most exhilarating options is a flight-seeing journey through Laguna San Rafael National Park. From small 2-6 passenger planes, witness the wonders of this glacier filled 4.2 million acre park. Catch a glimpse of a very rare geological formation caused by a volcano eruption, a “covered glacier”. Enjoy the dramatic landscape on a scenic drive to visit the quaint town of Puerto Aysen, or to the Patagonia museum in Coyhaique. Appreciate this stop for what it is, and take every opportunity to explore the beauty of the untouched natural resources that are hidden in the Andes Mountains.
There is not one thing that jumps out at me as a “Don’t Miss”, other than suggesting you don’t miss the opportunity to take numerous pictures of this beautiful, isolated corner of the world.
Countryside in Puerto Chacabuco
Not to my knowledge, of course, the lack of great restaurants and bars is affirmation of the remoteness and underdeveloped aspect of this port.