The city was flooded in 2008 during the eruption of the Chaitén volcano. The flood destroyed a large part of the city, and still today some houses are abandoned. The volcano has now two new calderas.
Buses run Monday and Friday from La Junta. A small bus runs the morning to and from Caleta Gonzalo except Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. There is daily bus to Puerto Montt.
Local blue buses run through the Carretera Austrat to the ferry traverse of Caleta Gonzalo. They can be hired on Bernardo O'Higgins street, and are useful to visit the Pumalín park, since they can stop wherever you want on the road.
- 1 Museo de Sitio, Rio Blanco street. The city of Chaiten has kept few houses, which were partially destroyed during the 2008 eruption, as a witness of the disaster. free.
1 Volcán Chaitén (The trail head is indicated and starts from a parking next the Carretera Austral.). A short but steep trail will bring you up the 500 meters of elevation to the edge of the caldera. There you can admire the two new and fuming craters of the Volcano and at the bottom the lakes with different colors. If the weather is clear you will have the view to the ocean,
2 Volcán Michinmahuida glacier (Trail starts from Carretera Austral 29km after Chaiten.). It is possible to hike 11km up to the beginning of the volcano glacier. The hike lasts 8 to 10 hours.
3 Parque Pumalín. This park was created in 1991. Several hikes are possible in the park, either in the temperate rainforest where lies several waterfalls or to the two volcanos Michinmahuida and Chaiten. The park is also known to have the Alerce trees, the largest tree species in South America which can live more than 3,500 years. Tours and transports to the park can be arranged from the city. The main place to camp in the park is the campground El Volcán which have toilet, shelters and water.
There is limited option to buy food in the city. The best option is Supermercado Anita on Padre Juan Todesco street; it's not a supermarket, but a convenience store. Anyway, you could find enough food for trekking.
Chaiten is near the sea, and thus is a good location to try seafood in restaurants like:
1 Cocinerías Costumbristas, 258 Diego Portales street, ☏ . Local fresh see food dish and soups
2 Natour food truck, Bernardo O'Higgins street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Food truck serving breakfast, lunch, nice desserts and some vegetarian options. If the truck is closed it means they are in the Natour agency at the opposite side of the street.
1 Tierra Viva, ☏ . Small and nice campsite, hot shower and shelter for cooking. The owner is very helpful to organize the excursion in the region.
- Go to the Corcovado National Park to admire the iconic volcano Corcovado.
- By ferry to the main island of Chiloé to Quellón.
- Go to Futaleufú for rafting.