Coyhaique is a city in Aysén. It is the main and largest city in the Northern Chilean Patagonia with a population of 55,000 (2012). A handsome city surrounded by dramatic mountains, it is the jumping-off point for visitors who want to travel through some of Chilean Patagonia's most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes, on the Carretera Austral.
The modern tourist information office is in Bulnes street, 100 m north of the Plaza de Armas.
The nearest larger airport is Balmaceda 55 km away. JetSmart serves Balmaceda from Conception. LATAM and Sky Airlines serve Balmaceda with at least a few daily flights from Santiago, sometimes stopping en route in Puerto Montt.
- Transportation from the airport to Coyhaique. There are minivans for 5,000 pesos. The companies running this service have booths at the baggage claim. The return service can be booked at their offices in Coyhaique.
Numerous buses run along the Carretera Austral and stop in Coyhaique during high season. From the north, 2 buses/week from Chaitén (24,000 pesos, 12 hr), 1/day from La Junta, 1/day from Puerto Cisnes. Going north to Puerto Montt 3 buses/week at 15:00 (70,000 pesos) or to Chaitén (direct only M and Tu at 07:00 24,000 pesos) otherwise they go to Futaleufu and connection will be the following day to Chaitén for 2,200 pesos. Hitchhiking from Villa Santa Lucía is an option skip the stay in Futaleufu.
Navimag and Naviera Austral offer ferries to Puerto Chacabuco, the nearest port. Check their websites for current schedules and pricing. From Puerto Chacabuco, regular buses will drop you in Coyhaique.
Coyhaique is small; walking is the best way of getting around. The Plaza de Armas is pentagon-shaped in honor of the carabineros, but otherwise the city is laid out in a grid-like pattern. The plaza is in the northwest portion of the city; Coyhaique becomes more residential the farther away you get from the Plaza de Armas.
- The Plaza de Armas, the town square, is laid out in the shape of a pentagon in honor of the Carabineros, the national police force. A Carabinero general was one of the town's founders. There are often flea markets here.
- Momumento al Ovejero, on Av. General Baquedano at Eusebio Lillo, honors sheepdogs, the unsung canine heroes of the shepherding world.
- Casa de la Cultura Coyhaique. Museum of regional culture on Av. General Baquedano at the Monument al Ovejero.
- [dead link] Coyhaique National Reserve (from Coyhaique drive north along Ruta 7, turn right after a few kilometers). A small national reserve with several well kept paths for day hikes with varied flora and great views over Coyhaique. 3,000 pesos.
- Salvaje Corazon. A small custom provider of unique travel experiences to Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. Go to spectacular locations that are little known and as yet uncrowded.
- The Simpson and Coyhaique Rivers are well known for fly fishing.
- Casino de Bomberos, Gen Parra 365. Good value Chilean food in the fire station.
- Café Confluencia, 21 de Mayo 544. Lively café with live music. Serves Mexican and other food.
- Restaurant Historico Ricer, Horn 40 (just off the Plaza de Armas), ☏ . Good selection of standard Chilean fare and pizza. 6,000 pesos.
- Tropera Cerveceria (head west on Simpson, turning down Camino Piedra del Indio across the river, then a few hundred meters up the hill). Great little microbrewery with burgers and sandwiches. Their beer's for sale in downtown restaurants but only two or three of the flavours at a time - go to the source and you can sample all six or seven.
- Hotelera San Rafael, Moraleda 343, ☏ . Nice clean accommodation close to the centre. Cabins are good value.
- Patagonia House Bed and Breakfast, Quinta 18 de Julio, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: flexible, check-out: flexible. Bed & Breakfast range.
- Hostal Español, Sargento Aldea 343, ☏ . Fine hotel with private bath, Wi-Fi, parking and not too far away from the center.
- Hospedaje El Gaucho, Lautaro 432B (Opposite FullFresh supermarket), ☏ . Family run hostel, have kitchen, Wi-Fi. 8,000 pesos.
A 2018 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) looking at 4,357 cities in 108 countries worldwide showed Coyhaique to have the worst air quality in the Americas. This is mostly due to wood smoke from fires the residents light for warmth in the winter months of June and July. Because the city is located between two mountainous ridges, the smoke cannot be dispersed down the valley and away and heat inversion compresses it into a dense cloud of smoke.
Coyhaique's pentagonal Plaza de Armas has a free Wi-Fi hotspot.