Climb to the top of the hill and youâ€™ll get a condors-eye view of the stars of Cochrane spreading out below. The valley is surrounded with mountains. To the west you can see the Northern Ice Field. Cochrane is one of the regionâ€™s fastest-growing cities. It is a mandatory stop for journeyers on the Carretera Austral, to change buses or to restock on money, fuel or other necessities.
But travelers also spend time here to explore the natural beauties nearby. Just a few kilometers to the east is Reserva Nacional Tamango, with kilometers of hiking trails meandering through the Andean Patagonian steppe. To the north is a new nature reserve, Valle Chacabuco. Here volunteers are helping scientists restore a vital habitat for the Chilean miniature deer and laying the foundation for a new national park. South of the city are waterfalls and lakes. Take your fishing pole along wherever you go, for trout and salmon fishing is good. Not all is for outdoors enthusiasts, though. The Museo de Cochrane has interesting exhibits. Facing the Plaza de Armas is Parroquia San JosÃ© Obrero, an unusual octagon-shaped church with a free-standing bell tower in front. At the corner of RÃo Colonia and Previske are two salutes to the mate, so faithful sipped here. One is a wooden sculpture of a hand raising a mate into the sky. The other is a mate-gourd-shaped building used by the Boy and Girl Scouts.
The Cochrane River Valley was discovered in 1899 by explorer Hans Steffens searching for a pass into Argentina. Much later the river and lake were named after Englishman Lord Thomas Cochrane, a Vice Admiral of the Chilean Navy and an independence hero. Like other cities in the region, Cochrane traces its history to cattle and sheep farms that were established in these verdant valleys. In the Las Latas area on the shores of Lago Cochrane, a village was settled close to the major ranch of the time, CompaÃ±Ãa Ganadera Valle Chacabuco (now a nature reserve). Later it was moved to the present location. In 1954, when there were only ten adobe houses, it was officially incorporated. Especially since the Carretera Australâ€™s arrival in 1988, the city has grown significantly.
(Altitude: 165 meters / 541 feet, Population: 3800, Phone Code: 067)
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