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Puerto Ibáñez

327 m / 1073 ft


Phone Code: 067

On shores of Lago General Carrera, at the foot of Cerro Pirámide (2780 m / 9121 ft) is Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez, the administrative center for Comuna Río Ibáñez and one of the lake’s main ports. Along the lakefront is Avenida General Carrera. In a small park to the side, looking across the green waters, stares a Rapa Nui-style statue. The heart of the village is the Plaza de Armas, edged with a double row of poplars. On the west side is a replica of the guanaco and child rock painting found near Cerro Castillo. On the south, a stone wall surrounds the hand-hewn church with an angular bell tower. Next to it is a simple monument to Padre Antonio Ronchi.

The first white settlers came here at the beginning of the 20th century, though its settlement is attributed to 1924. It was named for mining engineer Cornelio Ibáñez. The city’s coat of arms summarizes it long history: a top band of the snowy mountain, a middle stripe of the guanaco and child painted by indigenous millennia ago, and the lower band with the village’s famous ceramic pots. This is encased in a frame, in whose corners are picks and shovels representing mining.

Puerto Ibáñez is an artisan town with almost two dozen workshops. It all started with Taller Nuestra Señora del Trabajo, established by Padre Ronchi to create jobs and preserve local crafts. In recent years, artisans have struck off on their own. Crafts include porcelain and utilitarian ceramics using Aónikenk designs, leather, wool and homemade jams. Many artisans live in Sector Chacra. Like other places around the lake, Puerto Ibáñez is blessed with a microclimate where potato, peas, corn and other crops are raised. Fruit orchards of peach, guindo, cherry, apple and other fruits are another common feature of this stretch of the shore. Much cheese is also produced here. The farmas, or chacras, can be visited. Asado de palo is a firm tradition, with cordero (lamb) and chivo (goat) being the preferred meats.

In January and February, a Sala Museográfica is open in the same building as Taller Nuestra Señora del Trabajo (Ronchi 342). During other times of the year, you can drop in on the artisans and watch them work. Nearby attractions are Salto del Río Ibáñez waterfall, Península Levicán, Cerro Pirámide and Lago Lapparent. A trail of the Sendero de Chile network goes between Puerto Ibáñez and Villa Cerro Castillo. For more information, consult Eighteen kilometers (11.2 mi) towards the Paso Pallavicini border crossing into Argentina is Laguna La Pollolla, a favorite haunt for flamingos, ducks, swans and other waterfowl. Scattered around the countryside are petrographs, including Cueva de los Guanacos on Ruta I-16.

Summer is festival time in Puerto Ibáñez. The end of January is the Copa Integración Chileno-Argentino, a soccer competition between the two country’s teams. The first week of February is the town's anniversary, celebrated with a jineteada (rodeo), beauty pageant, concerts and other events.


Tourism office (October – March daily 9 a.m. – 9 p.m, closed April-September. Paseo Comercial, Avenida General Carrera 202), or at the Municipalidad (Soza 161, URL: The town also has a carabinero post (General Carrera 1, Tel.: 56-7089; obtain salvoconducto for Paso Pallavicini here), correos (Ronchi 109), health post (Acevedo 053, Tel.: 42-3212). Free Internet at the Biblioteca Pública (Ronchi 159). Call center (Soza 258).


Taller Nuestra Señora del Trabajo (Ronchi 342) Taller Arte Manos (Bolados 161, Tel.: 42-3268) – ceramics, weavings, Eláter, porcelain Nelida Haro (Chacra 25, Tel.: 42-3263) – homemade jams Ulises Pereda (Chacra 2, Camino Aérodomo) – wicker and knives


Lilian Henríquez Cruz (Tel.: 08-532-7680, E-mail: lijger(at) – fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain climbing, rock climbing, skiing


During road maintenance season (spring-fall) many cheaper hostels are booked by crews. It can be difficult to find a room. Camping Municipal (Avenide General Carrera, between Risopatrón and Boldas) – $4 per person. Camping is also possible at Resturante Las Araucarias and Cafteria Ximena (see below). Residencial Ibáñez (Ronchi 04, Tel.: 42-3227) – $12-16 per person Shehen Aike (Risopatrón 55, Tel.: 42-3284 / 09-8527-7681, E-mail: , URL: – $50 per person; Spanish, English, French, German, Italian spoken


Some hotels have food services. The town has many grocery stores. Restaurante del Lago (Paseo Comercial, Avenida General Carrera 202, Tel.: 07-628-3423, E-mail: ) Restaurante Las Araucarias (Acevedo 247, Tel.: 08-984-0256, E-mail: ) Cafetería Ximena (Ronchi 415, Tel.: 08-982-2284)

Getting to and away from Puerto Ibáñez Puerto Ibáñez is 117 kilometers (73 mi, 2 hours) from Coyhaique. Follow the Carretera Austral 86 kilometers (53.5 mi) to where Ruta X-65 turns off for Puerto Ibáñez (31 km / 19.5 mi). The entire route is paved. Several places in Puerto Ibáñez sell gasoline by the bottle: Comercial Las Tres B (Prat 178, Tel.: 09-895-8934); also at Ronchi 366, Risopatrón 496 and Pasteur 242. There are several mechanics (taller mecánico) and a tire repair shop (vulcanización).

Bus and ferry schedules are published in local newspapers. During the low season, services are less frequent. Rains or snows can temporary close the road at any time of the year.


To Cerro Castillo: Minibús San Pablo (San Salvador 426, Tel.: 42-3244) – Monday, Wednesday, Friday one morning and one afternoon departure, $1.20.

To Coyhaique: Several companies provide service, leaving daily 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and in conjunction with the ferry ($7-8). The main companies are Minibús Eben Ezer (Risopatrón 491, Tel.: 42-3203), Buses Carolina (Tel.: 25-0346) and Acuña (Tel.: 25-1579). They also pick up passengers at their hotels.


Barcaza El Pinchero to Chile Chico – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. The dock is 800 meters (0.5 mi) from town, along Avenida General Carrera. Ticket sales at Mar del Sur (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Ronchi 166, Tel.: 42-3309).

To get to Salto del Río Ibáñez (7 km / 4.2 mi) and Península Levicán (25 km / 15.5 mi), follow Avenida Ronchi north to the signed crossroads past aérodomo.

By Lorraine Caputo

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

15 Aug 2011

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