“Where the Andes tumble into the sea” is an apt description for Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Aysén, remote outposts at the head of Chile’s Fiordo Aisén (Aysén Fjord). Back-dropped by snow-capped peaks, these small towns are the gateways to several nearby national parks.
Puerto Chacabuco’s population is only 1,400 and the main economic activity is its harbor – built after the old port, further upriver in Puerto Aysén, was lost due to a natural disaster. For shopping, locals and visitors alike head to Puerto Aysén, 9 miles (14 km) away, or the regional capital Coyhaique, 48 miles (77 km) to the east.
Puerto Aysén is a popular embarkation point for venturing into Chile’s numerous national parks in Patagonia. Reflective of the environment, fishing and salmon farming are the area’s main economic drivers. Chile’s largest suspension bridge – President Ibanez Bridge – crosses Rio Aisén (Aysén River). It spans 689 feet (210 meters) and was named a national monument over a decade ago.