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Lake Yelcho and its Surroundings

 Estimated reading time: 3 min.Texts Pablo Etchevers   Photos Jorge González
Visit to Lake Yelcho - Chaitén

Lying 46 kilometers to the South of Chaitén, the waters of Lake Yelcho feature an emerald green hue. It is considered one of the most beautiful water bodies in Chile.

A trail in a temperate rainforest, where huge rhubarbs are plentiful, surprises visitors as they hike around watching all kinds of birds that cross their way without fear. It is a fantastic and overwhelming feeling. The trails leading to the glacier get man in contact with a giant exemplar of nature which has been patiently taking shape for thousands of years.

Lying 46 kilometers South of Chaitén, Lake Yelcho occupies 11 thousand hectares of emerald green waters and it is considered one of the most beautiful in Chile.

Bordered by high snow-capped mountains whose hillsides are upholstered by forests, there are very few free beaches. However, the beauty of its waters becomes the protagonist at first sight.
Puerto Cárdenas, on the northern shore of the lake, is one of the most visited sites by both locals and tourists. Several services are available and various tours may be hired there. The most outstanding is the excursion around the nearby hamlets. This is an excellent area for salmon and trout fishing.

The national fly-fishing record was broken here with a salmon weighing over 17 kilograms – a good motivation to organize a fishing outing that might last from one to six days around islands and coves.

El Amarillo Hot Springs
From a crater of the Michimahuida Volcano, just one hour away from the town of Chaitén, healthy waters with medicinal properties spring out of the Earth at a temperature that may reach 50 °C.

Leaving from Chaitén, travelers must cover a distance of 25 kilometers to El Amarillo. Once there, they will see a path on the left which will lead them through a forest up to the hot springs, whose waters have been detected but there is no service or equipment available.

The District of Santa Bárbara lies 12 kilometers away towards the North of Chaitén. This is a beautiful beach of fine sands and crystal-clear waters where visitors may enjoy swimming or fishing. A wonderful sight of the gorgeous scenery is caught from this spot, with the Corcovado Volcano in the background.

The mountains plunge into the river and ancient Patagonian cypresses appear before the visitors’ eyes –some of them are burnt down and many are still alive. More than one person is needed to embrace them.
Useful Data
Due to the eruption of the Chaitén Volcano, visitors to the area must stay in the neighboring Districts of Santa Bárbara and Puerto Cárdenas, minimum but essential service centers to see Chaitén and its surroundings.
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InterPatagonia - Touristic Information about Chaitén / Futaleufú, Patagonia, Chile: Activities and Tours
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