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5 attractions near Balmaceda, Chile

cc_Cristian Ordenes, cc_Dreams and Stuffs, cc_Fernanda Garci´a, Getty Images

The gateway to the immense region of Aysén, in the extreme south of Chile, the city of Balmaceda welcomes everyone who wants to embark on an incredible adventure through rivers, mountains and forests to reach the capital, Coyhaique.

 

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Fly fishing

Thanks to its many rivers, lakes and lagoons, Aysén is one of the favorite destinations for anglers.  The more eager will touch down in Balmaceda and go straight to the Huemules River. Fishing guide Eduardo Otárola, one of the best in the country, is the right person for tourists who are looking for the perfect spots and want to learn the fly-fishing technique.

 

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Cerro Castillo

Cerro Castillo National Reserve, located less than an hour from Balmaceda, is one of the best destinations for hiking and climbing in Chile. In the woods that surround an 8,776-foot [2,675 m] tall mountain, visitors will find a 31-mile [50 km] trail which can be covered in four days. If you don’t have that much time, one good option is a tour that includes horseback riding and hiking to the Castillo Glacier lagoon, as well as a typical lamb asado

 

A mate house

Are you looking for a leather bota bag to drink wine like the Gaúchos? What about espadrilles, berets, Patagonian breeches, knives, or other items characteristic of the region? Casa del Mate, a few steps from Plaza de Armas in Coyhaique, has all this. The shop, which is celebrating 50 years in business this year, is the perfect place to find souvenirs.

Francisco Bilbao, 498, Coyhaique

 

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Condor watching

Watching the world’s largest bird in flight in its natural habitat is a privilege. From October to April, it’s possible to observe condors from less than 10 feet [3 m] away at Estancia Punta del Monte in Coyhaique Alto, some 40 minutes from downtown Balmaceda, a unique place. Alejandro Galilea, a guide who specializes in birds, picks up the tourists and take them to the condor cliffs. The tour includes 75 other wild species, like flamingos and black-necked swans, atrue spectacle.

 

Gourmet Coyhaique

There are several can’t-miss food destinations in Coyhaique: Patagonik is an artisan sausage maker that uses pork, beef and lamb meat to prepare sandwiches with 10.6-inch [27 cm] long sausages; pizzeria Mamma Gaucha has won over customers with a great menu and the craft beer Tropera; and, of course, the popular restaurant Dalí, highlighted by the magazine Condé Nast for its pioneering proposal, based on local fishermen, hunters and producers.

Patagonik: Baquedano, 484 / Mamma Gaucha: Horn, 47 / Dalí: Lautaro, 82