Carretera Austral HistoryRegión de Aysén
General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Largely isolated and very remote, northern Patagonia is the youngest area of the Chilean nation and the last to be integrated. Chile began to colonize it at the beginning of 20th century and many villages in the area are only about 50 years old. For thousands of years, the Chonos and Alacalufes peoples inhabited the intricate channels and islands, while the Tehuelches lived on the steppes. The rugged geography of Aisén deterred many European villages for centuries, though the fortune seekers believed the "City of the Caesars" would be found as Aisén was first known. A great many expeditions (including Captain Robert Fitzroy's British expedition, for which Darwin served as a naturalist) visited the area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, some in search of a protected passage to the Atlantic. In the early 1900s, the government granted nearly 10,000 kilometers in and around Coyhaique to the Valparaíso-based Sociedad Industrial Aisén (Aisén Industrial Company) for exploitation of livestock and lumber. The company dominated the regional economy and colonists invested in these remote lands for agricultural purposes. Encouraged by Chilean law awarded land titles, the Sociedad and colonists burned nearly 30,000 kilometers of forest and destroyed much of Aisén's native beech forest in a series of fires that raged for nearly a decade in the 1940’s. Some of the planned fires raged out of control and the scorched trunks of fallen trees still litter hillsides from Villa Mañihuales to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez.
Since the agrarian reform of the 1960s, the influence of the Sociedad and other large landowners has declined. The region is sparsely populated, most notably south of Coyhaique, an area that was devastated by the 1991 eruption of Volcán Hudson, The eruption dumped tons of ash over thousands of square kilometers in both Chile and Argentina, destroying crops and killing livestock, who could find nothing to eat as the land was covered in ash. Salmon farming is the main industry and the cold waters of Patagonia offer optimal farming conditions. The industry continues to grow exponentially, increasing in the south since the practice that polluted some districts and lakes decreased substantially, with waste left by the farms, causing serious environmental damage and alterations. The interest in salmon farming is still strong and effective, considering that there are other jobs in the region. A number of controversial hydroelectric projects and other industrial plans define the impulse and the regression between development and conservation in this region.
How Much Do We Love This Place?
- It's an area of immense beauty with the remoteness that people expect from Patagonia
- There are some of the best fly-fishing lodges
- The Futaleufu is one of the world's top rivers for rafting
- You can find lands laden with lush vegetation or layered in fields of ice
- Few accommodation options
- Towns along the way are few and far between
- Some parts of the highway are deserted
Somewhere Special To Stay
|Puyuhuapi Lodge||219 USD|
|Loberias del Sur||180 USD|
|Yelcho Patagonia||3000 USD|
|Hacienda Tres Lagos||276 USD|
Northem Patagonia Best Selling TripsFind your perfect trip >>
- Fly Fishing 4 day / 3 nights
- Trekking 5 day / 4 nights
- Signature 5 day / 4 nights