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Puerto Bertrand

 

As the Carretera Austral heads further south, it crosses the mouth of Lago General Carrera where it flows into the Lago Negro, which then flows into Lago Bertrand. Here the highway splits, with an eastern branch (Ruta CH-265) going to Puerto Guadal and Chile Chico. This crossroads is called Cruce Guadal. At the southern tip of Lago Bertrand is the hamlet Puerto Bertrand.

 

Puerto Bertrand has two parts. Sector Alto, accessed by Calle Los Manzanos, is where the village church and cheaper lodging are. Downhill, about one kilometer (0.6 mi) further south, is Avenida Costanera, which turns off to downtown Puerto Betrand. The Costanera becomes the main street, edging the lake. Along here are the town’s only shops, tour operators and several hotels. Midway down is a small park with a pier.

 

Lago Bertrand’s intense azure waters are surrounded by lenga beech forests. Towards the east end of the lake are glacier-packed mountains. The lake’s waters flow southward, first moving swiftly then swirling into rapids as it becomes the Río Baker. A bit further south you can stand on at a viewpoint, admiring a waterfall that is the confluence of the Neff and Baker Rivers.

 

This landscape makes for some of the best fishing in Chile. Lago Bertrand, Lago Plomo and Río Baker are bounding with brown trout (trucha fario or café), rainbow trout (trucha arcoiris) and Creole perch (percatrucha). The season runs from the end of October to mid April. A growing sport in this hamlet is whitewater rafting of Río Baker’s Class III rapids. Other summer activities are horseback riding to gaucho camps, hiking along the lake shore, boat rides on Lago Bartrand and Lago Plomo, and taking a rather invigorating dip in the lake. The third week of February is Puerto Bertrand marks its anniversary with the election of festival queen, asado a palo and other local food fare, typical games, regattas, fishing competitions and traditional dances.

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Other places nearby Puerto Bertrand: Cochrane, Coyhaique, Reserva Nacional Río Simpson, Villa O'Higgins, Monumento Nacional Dos Lagunas, Reserva Nacional Coyhaique, Puerto Cisnes, Puerto Sánchez, Bahía Exploradores and Parque Nacional Queulat.







By Lorraine Caputo

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

08 Jul 2009

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