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Aisen and the Carretera Austral: Fact file


When to go

The Aisén region has a cool temperate climate, in places close to the coast it rains up to 300 days a year but in others, such as the area around Coyhaique, a rain shadow effect reduces precipitation. It can be very cold in winter, when roads may be blocked, so a summer visit - when some warm sunshine is likely - is advisable.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency

Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Coyhaique using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also some banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor.

Time difference

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar. 

Getting there

There are flights from Santiago to Balmaceda (for Coyhaique) (2.5 hours); from Puerto Montt (1 hour 7mins); from Punta Arenas take 1.5 hours). Drive south from Puerto Montt on the Carretera Austral (1,200 km on ripio unpaved roads). 

Combines with

The lake district, eg Puerto Varas or Pucón (3-6 hours by car); or fly between Coyhaique and Puerto Montt (1 hour 45 mins); Torres del Paine in Patagonia (fly from Coyhaique to Punta Arenas, 1.5 hours). 

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