Coyhaique, Chile

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Coyhaique, Chile

Region: Coyhaique, Chile is located in Aysén

Geographic Coordinates: -45.566700, -72.066700
Climate: Varied.
Population: 61210
Language: Spanish

Coyhaique, Located in the Aysén region of Chile, Is a captivating city surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Nestled in the heart of Patagonia, Coyhaique offers visitors a unique blend of outdoor adventures and urban comforts. With its picturesque setting and diverse attractions, This city has become a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. One of the main draws of Coyhaique is its proximity to several national parks and protected areas. The nearby Cerro Castillo National Park boasts towering peaks, Glacial lakes, And lush forests waiting to be explored.

Hiking trails wind through this pristine wilderness, Offering breathtaking views at every turn. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Activities such as rock climbing and horseback riding are also available. Back in the city center, Visitors can immerse themselves in Coyhaique’s vibrant culture. The Plaza de Armas serves as the heart of the community with its charming square lined with shops, Cafes, And restaurants. Here you can sample delicious local cuisine such as lamb dishes or fresh seafood caught from nearby fjords. Coyhaique is also known for its thriving arts scene.

Artisans display their crafts along Calle Baquedano where you can find handmade textiles and traditional ceramics showcasing local talent. The Museo Regional de la Patagonia provides insight into the history and culture of this remote region through exhibits on indigenous peoples’ heritage and early European settlers. For those interested in learning about Coyhaique’s natural surroundings on a more scientific level, There are research centers dedicated to studying Patagonian ecosystems nearby. These centers offer educational programs that allow visitors to delve deeper into understanding the unique flora and fauna found in this part of Chile.

To truly appreciate Coyhaique’s beauty from above, Take a scenic flight or helicopter tour over the mesmerizing landscapes that stretch across glaciers, Fjords, And mountainscapes dotted with turquoise lakes – an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur. Accommodation options in Coyhaique range from cozy lodges to luxury hotels, Ensuring visitors can find a comfortable place to rest after a day of exploration. Many establishments offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains or rivers, Allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty that defines this region.

Coyhaique is an enchanting city that offers a gateway into the untamed wilderness of Patagonia. With its proximity to national parks and protected areas, Vibrant cultural scene, And opportunities for outdoor adventures, It is no wonder why Coyhaique has become a must-visit destination for travelers seeking both natural beauty and urban comforts.

Important Landmarks

  1. Plaza de Armas: The main square of Coyhaique, featuring a beautiful park and the iconic Monumento al Ovejero (Shepherd Monument).
  2. Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo: A stunning national reserve known for its snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and diverse wildlife.
  3. Simpson River National Reserve: A protected area with lush forests, crystal-clear rivers, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
  4. Museo Regional de la Patagonia: A regional museum showcasing the history and culture of Patagonia through exhibits on archaeology, ethnography, paleontology, and more.
  5. Mirador Marchant: A viewpoint offering panoramic views of Coyhaique city and the surrounding landscapes.
  6. Cascada Los Palos: A picturesque waterfall located just outside Coyhaique that is easily accessible for visitors to enjoy its beauty.
  7. Feria Artesanal de la Patagonia: An artisanal market where visitors can find handmade crafts such as woolen clothing, pottery, jewelry, souvenirs made from local materials like wood or leather.
  8. Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen: The main church in Coyhaique known for its distinctive architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.
  9. Lake Elizalde (Lago Elizalde): A peaceful lake surrounded by forested hills where visitors can engage in activities like fishing or kayaking.
  10. Cerro Mackay Ski Center (Centro de Ski Cerro Mackay): Located just outside of Coyhaique city center; it is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts offering skiing slopes and snowboarding opportunities during the winter season.

Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: Coyhaique serves as a gateway to Patagonia and attracts tourists who come to explore the region’s stunning landscapes, national parks, glaciers, and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. There are several hotels, lodges, restaurants, tour operators, and adventure sports companies catering to tourists.
  2. Agriculture: The region surrounding Coyhaique has fertile land suitable for agriculture. Farmers cultivate crops such as potatoes, berries (blueberries and raspberries), vegetables (cabbage and lettuce), apples, pears, cherries among others.
  3. Livestock Farming: Cattle farming is an important industry in Coyhaique due to the availability of grazing lands. Livestock includes beef cattle for meat production as well as sheep farming for wool.
  4. Aquaculture: The Aysén Region has favorable conditions for aquaculture due to its fjords and pristine waters. Salmon farming is one of the significant industries in this area.
  5. Forestry: The region has extensive forests with valuable timber resources like native species of Lenga trees (Nothofagus pumilio). Logging activities play a role in the local economy.
  6. Retail Trade: As a regional hub with a population of around 60 thousand people (including surrounding areas), Coyhaique has numerous retail stores selling various goods from clothing to electronics.
  7. Services Sector: This includes healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics serving not only residents but also neighboring communities that lack medical infrastructure. Additionally, education institutions ranging from schools to universities contribute significantly to the local economy.
  8. Construction Industry: Given its growing population base along with increasing tourism demand, the construction industry plays an important role. It involves the construction of residential buildings, hotels, infrastructure projects, etc.

It is worth noting that Coyhaique’s economy is heavily reliant on natural resources and its location as a regional center.

Noteable History

  1. Founding of Coyhaique: The city was officially founded on October 12, 1929, during the presidency of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. It was established as a strategic settlement to promote colonization and development in the region.
  2. German Colonization: In the early 20th century, many German immigrants settled in Coyhaique and its surrounding areas, contributing significantly to its development and cultural heritage.
  3. Construction of Carretera Austral: One of the most significant events for Coyhaique was the construction of Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) that started in 1976 under General Augusto Pinochet’s regime. This highway connected remote regions with Coyhaique and facilitated transportation and economic growth.
  4. Patagonian Pioneers: Many pioneers played an essential role in settling this remote region, including individuals like Hermann Eberhard (known as Don Hermann), who established one of the first farms near Coyhaique.
  5. Indigenous Heritage: The area around Coyhaique has a rich indigenous heritage associated with various Native American groups such as Tehuelches or Aonikenk people who inhabited these lands long before European settlement.
  6. Natural Beauty: While not directly related to historical events or people, it is worth mentioning that Coyhaique is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes like Cerro Castillo National Park, Queulat National Park (home to Hanging Glacier), Marble Caves on Lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires (shared with Argentina), among others.

It’s important to note that due to its relatively recent establishment as a city and its remote location, there might not be as many widely known historical figures or specific events associated with Coyhaique compared to more prominent cities in Chile.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Museo Regional de la Patagonia: This museum showcases the history, culture, and natural heritage of the region through exhibits on archaeology, paleontology, ethnography, and more.
  2. Plaza de Armas: The central square of Coyhaique is a great place to relax and soak in the atmosphere. It features beautiful gardens, a monument dedicated to General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (former president of Chile), and several cafes.
  3. Monumento al Ovejero: Located on a hill overlooking Coyhaique, this monument pays tribute to the sheepherders who played a crucial role in shaping the region’s economy and culture.
  4. Feria Artesanal Municipal: Visit this craft fair to find unique handmade products such as woolen garments, leather goods, ceramics, jewelry, and traditional food items.
  5. Centro Cultural Coyhaique: This cultural center hosts art exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, workshops, and other cultural events throughout the year.
  6. Reserva Nacional Río Simpson: Just outside Coyhaique lies this nature reserve with stunning landscapes including forests of native trees like coihue and lenga as well as crystal-clear rivers perfect for fishing or kayaking.
  7. Mirador Marchant Pereira: Hike up to this viewpoint for breathtaking panoramic views of Coyhaique surrounded by mountains and valleys.
  8. Cervecería Tropera Ale House & Brewery: If you appreciate craft beer or want to try some local brews in a cozy setting with live music occasionally available then visit this popular brewery in town.
  9. Parroquia María Auxiliadora Church: This picturesque church with its distinctive architecture is worth visiting both for its religious significance as well as its historical charm.
  10. Lago Elizalde (Elizalde Lake): A short drive from Coyhaique will lead you to this serene lake surrounded by lush forests, ideal for fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the tranquility of nature.

Sports Teams

  1. Club Deportivo Aysén: Founded in 1977, Club Deportivo Aysén is a football (soccer) team based in Coyhaique. They have participated in regional leagues and tournaments, representing the city.
  2. Club de Hockey y Patinaje Coyhaique: This club focuses on roller hockey and skating disciplines such as figure skating and speed skating. It has been promoting these sports among children and young adults since its foundation.
  3. Club de Rugby Austral Coyhaique: The rugby team was established to promote this sport in the region of Aysén. It participates in regional competitions against other teams from nearby cities.
  4. Asociación de Básquetbol de la Región de Aysén (ABRA): ABRA organizes basketball leagues and tournaments throughout the region, including Coyhaique.
  5. Club Escuela Municipal Taekwondo: This taekwondo club offers training opportunities for people interested in practicing this martial art discipline.

It’s important to note that due to Coyhaique’s remote location and smaller population compared to larger cities like Santiago or Valparaíso, its sports teams generally have more limited participation at national levels but play an essential role within their local communities by promoting physical activity and competition among residents of all ages.

Cultural Events

  1. Semana de Coyhaique: This week-long celebration takes place in February and features various cultural activities, including music concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions, and traditional food stalls.
  2. Fiesta Nacional del Rodeo: Held in March or April, this rodeo festival showcases the traditional Chilean sport of rodeo with competitions between skilled huasos (Chilean cowboys). Visitors can also enjoy live music, dancing, and local cuisine.
  3. Festival Internacional de Cine de Aysén (FICAY): A film festival held annually in July that screens national and international films across different genres. It also includes workshops and discussions with filmmakers.
  4. Feria Costumbrista Puerto Aysén: This folk fair celebrates the customs and traditions of the region through music performances, dance shows, artisanal crafts displays, traditional games, and gastronomy featuring local products. It usually takes place in December.
  5. Feria Ganadera y Agroindustrial Expo Patagonia: An agricultural fair held in November that showcases livestock exhibitions such as horse shows and cattle judging contests. The event also features craft fairs with local products like woolen goods.
  6. Fiesta de la Tradición Criolla: Celebrated on May 21st each year to honor the regional cowboy traditions known as Criollo. The festival includes equestrian demonstrations such as horse races and polo matches along with typical food tastings.
  7. Festival de la Trucha y el Pez Mosca: Dedicated to fly fishing enthusiasts; this festival takes place during summer (January or February) when fishing conditions are ideal for trout fishing on nearby rivers like Simpson or Mañihuales River.

Please note that specific dates may vary from year to year for these events; it is advisable to check official sources or local tourist information centers for the most up-to-date information.


Traditional Dishes in Coyhaique:

  1. Cordero al palo: Roasted lamb cooked on a vertical spit over an open fire.
  2. Empanadas: Traditional pastries filled with meat, cheese, or seafood.
  3. Curanto: A traditional dish made with shellfish, meat, and potatoes cooked in an earth oven.
  4. Asado de cordero: Lamb barbecue served with potatoes and salad.

Popular Restaurants in Coyhaique:

  1. El Rincón de los Pescadores: Known for its fresh seafood dishes and cozy atmosphere.
  2. La Taberna Patagónica: Offers a variety of traditional Patagonian dishes including lamb and trout.
  3. El Bolson del Blanco: Known for its delicious pizzas and regional craft beers.
  4. La Fonda del Mariscos: Specializes in seafood dishes such as ceviche and grilled fish.

These are just a few examples of the many culinary options available in Coyhaique, offering visitors a taste of the region’s unique flavors and ingredients.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo: This national reserve offers various hiking trails, including the famous Cerro Castillo trek, which takes you through stunning landscapes of mountains, lakes, and forests.
  2. Plaza de Armas: The main square of Coyhaique is a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. It often hosts cultural events and has several cafes and restaurants nearby.
  3. Parque Aiken del Sur: This park features beautiful gardens with native flora and fauna, walking paths, picnic areas, and a small lake where visitors can rent paddleboats.
  4. Museo Regional de la Patagonia: Located in an old house dating back to 1929, this museum showcases the history and culture of the region through exhibits on archaeology, paleontology, ethnography, and more.
  5. Mirador Marchant: This viewpoint offers panoramic views of Coyhaique Valley and its surrounding mountains. It’s accessible by car or by hiking up a trail from town.
  6. Rafting on the Simpson River: Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy white-water rafting trips on the Simpson River that flows near Coyhaique. The river provides thrilling rapids amidst beautiful landscapes.
  7. Fishing in local rivers: Coyhaique is known for its excellent fishing opportunities in rivers like Rio Simpson or Rio Mañihuales where visitors can try their luck at catching trout or salmon.
  8. Parque El Fraile Ski Center (during winter): Located about 20 kilometers from Coyhaique city center, this ski center offers skiing slopes for different skill levels during winter months (June to September).


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