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Getting to and away from Coyhaique

Schedules for buses, flights and the Barcaza Antonio Ronchi (the ferry across Fiordo Mitchell, from Puerto Yungay to RĂ­o Bravo, on the Carretera Austral) are published in the local newspaper.




During the low season (March-November) transportation is cut back. Be prepared to wait several days for a bus down the road. At any time of the season, the Carretera Austral may be closed due to weather conditions.


Coyhaique’s main bus terminal is a small building with bathrooms, a luggage keep (Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m, $2-2.50 per bag) and snack stands (Lautaro and Magallanes). Here Terraustral, Queilon, Sao Paulo, Acuario 13, Altamirano, Patagonia Interlagos, Sabra, Becker and Transaustral have their offices. Across the street is the depot for Carretera Austral, Daniela and Don Oscar (Lautaro 104, Tel.: 23-2903). Ask whether the bus will leave from there or the main terminal. Some companies have their own offices: Don Carlos (Subteniente Cruz 63, Tel.: 23-1981), Suray (Prat 265, Tel.: 23-4088), Queulat (General Parra 329, Tel.: 24-2626) and Acuña (Moraleda and Carrera, Tel.: 25-1579 / 09-217-3520).


To Puerto Aysén: Sao Paula (Monday-Friday every 1.75 hr 7:10 a.m.-7:20 p.m., Saturday every 1.5-2 hr 8:30 a.m.-6:45 p.m., Sunday and holidays every 1.5-2 hr 11:30 a.m.-6:45 p.m. $2.40), Suray (every 30 minutes Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-9:20 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m., $3).

To Puerto Chacabuco: Transfer in Puerto Aysén.


To Puerto Ibáñez: $8, 1 hour – Acuña (Monday-Wednesday, Friday-Sunday 6:30 a.m.). Also several companies leave from Prat, between Lautaro and Errázuriz (Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.). All meet the ferry to Chile Chico.

To Cerro Castillo: Busetas, or microbuses, leave from Prat, between Lautaro and Errázuriz (Monday-Saturday 5 p.m., $7.50-8, 1.5 hr).

To Cochrane: All leave at 9:30 a.m., $22, 7-8 hours – Don Carlos (Monday, Thursday, Saturday), Sao Paulo (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), Acuario 13 (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), Sabra (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday). These buses also pass through Cerro Castillo ($9, 1.5 hr), Río Tranquilo ($14, 4 hr), Cruce Guadal ($18, 5.5 hr), Puerto Bertrand ($20, 6 hr).

To Caleta Tortel: Sabra (Wednesday, Saturday).


To Puerto Cisnes: $14, 4 hours – Becker (Thursday, Sunday 4:30 p.m.), Patagonia Interlagos (Thursday 4 p.m., Sunday 3:30 p.m.), Terraustral (Monday-Friday 3 p.m., 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday 4 p.m.). Carretera Austral (Thursday 4 p.m., Sunday 3:30 p.m.).

To Puyuhuapi: Carretera Austral (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 8 a.m., $18, 6-7 hr).

La Junta: Terraustral (Monday-Friday 3 p.m., $20).

To Lago Verde: Altamirano (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 11 a.m., $24, 8 hr)

To Santa LucĂ­a: Carretera Austral (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 8 a.m., $30).

To Chaitén: All leave at 8 a.m. – Queulat (Monday-Friday, $34), Don Oscar (Tuesday $40), Daniela (Monday, Thursday, Saturday, $40). Or go to Santa Lucía and transfer there.

To Futaleufú: All leave at 8 a.m., $40, 12 hours – Becker and Sabra (Monday-Wednesday, Saturday), Don Oscar (Tuesday).

Buses to Chaitén and Futaleufú also pass through Puyuhuapi ($16-17), La Junta ($18-20) and Villa Santa Lucía ($26).


These routes go by way of Argentina:

To Puerto Montt / Osorno: 16 hours / 18-20 hours – Queilón (Monday-Saturday 5 p.m., $60), Trans Austral (Tuesday, Friday 4:45 p.m., $40).

To Ancud / Castro, Chiloé: Queilón (Monday-Saturday 5 p.m., $70).

To Santiago and points between, by way of Osorno: QueilĂłn (Monday-Saturday 5 p.m., $100).


To Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, and points between: Trans Austral (Monday, Friday 8 a.m., $40, 10-12 hr), reserve well in advance.




The airport serving Coyhaique is Aeropuerto Balmaceda, 55 kilometers (33 mi) east of the city. Over a half-dozen agencies provide transfers between Coyhaique and Balmaceda airport, including T & T Patagonia (Cochrane 387, Tel.: 25-6000). Fare costs $8.


LAN (Moraleda 421, URL: – Puerto Montt (twice daily, $122-145, 1 hr), Santiago (twice daily $122-270, 3 hr), Temuco (Sunday).

Sky Airline (Prat and Dussen, Tel.: 24-0825 / airport 27-2210, URL: – Puerto Montt / Santiago (twice daily, $132 / 264), Temuco / Concepción (once daily, $86-156 / $100-204), Punta Arenas (high season 5-6 weekly, low season 3 weekly, $66-116).

Don Carlos (Subteniente Cruz 63, Tel.: 23-1981) – In summer, to Villa O’Higgins (Monday, Thursday 9:30 a.m., $72, 1.3 hr).

Aero Taxi San Rafael (18 de Septiembre 489, Tel.: 57-3083) – Toi Melinka and Quellón (Thursday).




Boats sail from Puerto Chacabuco (79 km / 48 mi west) for excursions to Laguna San Rafael and regular ferries service to Quellón (Chiloé) and Puerto Montt. Both major companies have offices in Coyhaique:

Naviera Austral (Chaltén Travel, Avenida Ogana 1147, Tel.: 24-6113, E-mail:, URL:, Navimag (Paseo Horn 47D, Tel.: 23-3306). Both accept major credit cards.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

06 Jul 2009

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