Chaitén / Futaleufú

Chaitén / Futaleufú - Photos: Jorge GonzálezChaitén / Futaleufú - Photos: Jorge González
The City of Chaitén grew in front of the sea, amidst the mountains. It was designed to have broad avenues and spacious lots. Surrounded by lush native forests, it is joined to Puerto Montt and Chiloé Island by ferry lines. In addition to this, the construction of the Southern Road has caused significant tourist growth.

Built on a valley of volcanic sand, in May, 2008 it ceased to be a quiet seaside population and had to be abandoned by its inhabitants. Tremors, landslides of sand and ash, the emission of incandescent material coming from the Chaitén Volcano and the outflow of the Blanco River made it disappear. The complete and immediate evacuation of the area also included nearby Futaleufú. The work carried out by specialists ensured that there were no victims.

After some uncertainty, and observing geomorphic changes in the soil, the locals were worried about future eruptions. Therefore, the government decided not to repopulate the city at the same location. The area was studied for years in order to preserve the physical integrity of the dwellers as well as that of public and private assets. The new Chaiten developed slowly in the northern area, with neat design, paved streets and essential services.

Visitors and admirers of its natural heritage returned. Hiking, fishing and rafting were still enjoyed enthusiastically, along with other attractions. The Amarillo Hot Springs and Pumalín Park strengthened their structures. The former lies just 26 kilometers from the urban area. Its rudimentary pools are immersed in the lush vegetation and their waters are rich in sulfur. Pumalín Reserve is in charge of preserving the environment at the same time it offers areas for camping, trails and crystal-clear cascades, giving the chance to observe wildlife specimens.

The Districts of Futaleufú, Santa Bárbara, Puerto Cárdenas and Santa Lucía, lying close to Chaitén, are other accommodation options for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities, especially in the summer. As the ferries continue to stop at Chaitén, a new airport is being built and life goes on.
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