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Hornopirén Village


Area code: 65, Population: 1200, Volcano: 1572m

In the Los Lagos region of Chile, Patagonia’s Palena province, is the small town of Hornopirén, 109 km south of Puerto Montt, known by its inhabitants as the ‘north gate to the Carretera Austral. Originally the town was named Rio Negro but due to the fact that there are many towns named as such in Chile, the community, known as la comuna de Hualaihué, spontaneously renamed it after the volcano at which feet it sits. A stratovolcano, Hornopirén lies on the Liquine-Ofqui fault line, with the last eruption thought to have been around 1835.

Despite its minimal infrastructure the town’s population increases dramatically during the summer months as tourists flock here to visit the Parque Nacional Hornipirén. There are no banks or ATMs, no pharmacies, nor a hospital. There are, however, plenty of places to sleep and eat, as well as places of outstanding beauty and nature. The area is a base for activities such as mountain biking, canoeing, rafting and horse-riding. Nearby are the 3m-high Rio Negro waterfalls, also known as las Cascadas de Doña Tato. In Hornopirén national park you can trek to glacier fields; volcanoes; the Pinto Concha, Cabro and Inexplorado lakes and fish in the Rio Blanco. On Isla Llancahue, 50 minutes by boat from the town, are some thermal baths, where you can sit (indoor and outdoor) and relax in naturally heated pools while you take in the spectacular scenery.

Accommodation available includes: Hotel Hornopirén (Ca. Ignacio Carrera Pinto 388. Tel: 217256); Hostal Catalina (Av. Ingenieros Militares s/n. Tel: 217359); Cabañas Araucaria (Ca. O'Higgins and Cahuelmo. Tel: 217320); Residencial Galicia (Ca. M. Rodriguez 941. Tel: 21-7275) and Camping Rueda de Agua (Sector Chaqueihua s/n. Tel: 217434). On the islands around Hornopirén there are also some tourist reports: Termas de Llancahue (Isla Llancahue. Tel: 09-64-24857) and Resort Isla Manzano (Isla Manzano. Tel: 25-2299).

Getting To and Away 

To get to Hornopirén, from Puerto Montt you must first take the Carretera Austral and then board a boat from the ‘port’ of Caleta la Arena, 30 minutes across the Reloncaví estuary, arriving at Caleta Puelche where the town of Hornopirén begins. It is then a further 50 minutes along a bumpy road. Ferry info at URL:

Be aware, the Chaiten volcano nearby erupted in May 2008, after being dormant for over 9000 years! Parts of the Carretera Austral were closed between Chaiten and Hornopirén. The town and its inhabitants are to be relocated and Chaiten abandoned. See V!VA’s blog for more info.



Other places nearby Hornopirén Village: Cochrane, Puerto Puyuhuapi, Chile Chico , Reserva Nacional Futaleufú, Reserva Nacional Jeínemeni, Puerto Guadal, Villa Santa Lucía , Reserva Nacional Coyhaique, La Junta and Puerto Sánchez.

By Joanne Sykes

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...

10 Jun 2009

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