Chile's Aysen Region is located in Patagonia, south of Puerto Montt and the Lakes District, north of Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine National Park. This is a remote and off-the-beaten part of Patagonia. Most travelers will arrive by air at the airport in Balmaceda. The more intrepid can arrive overland along the Austral Highway. Other important cities in Aysen include Coyhaique (the most populous and capital of the region), Puerto Aysen, Cochrane, Chile Chico.
The Carretera Austral - the Austral Highway - snakes its way through the region. Mostly unpaved, but one of the most spectacular roads in the world. The Southern Highway stretches for around 770 miles between Puerto Montt in the north to Villa O'Higgins in the south, passing national parks and lakes en route.
Features of Aysen include the Northern Patagonian Ice Field (contained entirely in Laguna San Rafael National Park) and Southern Patagonian Ice Field (partially in Aysen), Laguna San Rafael National Park, Queulat National Park, mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, numerous fjords and channels. Activities include hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, sea kayaking Patagonian fjords, river rafting the Baker River, photography, fly fishing.
While based at a lodge you can choose from a selection of daily activities. Navigate the Laguna San Rafael by boat to the San Rafael Glacier, or hike over the glacier on a full-day trip. Networks of trails run through Queulat National Park, where you can hike to the Hanging Glacier (Ventisquero Colgante), along the Enchanted Forest Trail and Los Pumas Trail, among many others. Kayak on Lake General Carrera and into the Marble Caverns with the amazing formations of the Marble Cathedral and Marble Chapel (Caterdral de Mármol and la Capilla de Mármol).
Aysen is also home to Patagonia Park (Parque Patagonia), located in the Chacabuco Valley, a project of Conservacion Patagonica, a non-profit organization founded by Doug and Kris Tompkins.
Have small bills in your cash supply for tipping. Some vendors are reluctant to give change on larger bills.