Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chaitén Update

The other day, without concrete information, I speculated that the northernmost stretch of the Carretera Austral, from Chaitén south perhaps to the Futaleuf´turnoff, might be closed for upcoming season after the massive ashfall on Chaitén. This would have necessitated long detours through Argentina or a ferry to Puerto Chacabuco for travelers on the Carretera Austral, but a reader from Punta Arenas has informed me that ferries are presently operating from Puerto Montt to Chaitén. I had tried to verify this with Naviera Austral by phone, but was unable to contact them until today, when they informed me that ferries are sailing Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from Puerto Montt.

That does not mean, however, that travelers will be able to stay in Chaitén, which is still under tons of ash (as pictured here). Motorists will have to continue immediately and carry enough fuel to reach the town of La Junta, about 150 km (90 miles) south (where the next gas station is). According to my Punta Arenas reader, cyclists and pedestrians will not be permitted on the ferry, but the Naviera Austral office told me they would be. In any event, it looks as if disruptions along the highway will be minimal for the upcoming season.

3 comments:

  1. Ths is good information. When could we find out about buses going south to Puyaphui. We want to travel around 22nd October and will not have a car. AS the tourist season will be beginning we would hope that buses may meet the ferries.

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  2. Good information. Do you know anything about a Naviera Austral Ferry going from Quellon to Pt. Cisnes called the Don Baldos. Apparently it takes 18 hours.

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  3. I don't enough about the bus situation yet. It would make sense to contact Naviera Austral about this. M y feeling is that it would be simpler to fly into Coyhaique and catch the bus north to Puyuhuapi, as buses are usually few on this route at this time of year anyway.

    Naviera Austral told me they were sailing from Puerto Montt to Chaitén. However, Casa Ludwig in Puyuhuapi, which I consider a reliable source, says they are sailing the Don Baldo to Puerto Cisnes - see http://www.casaludwig.cl/ludwig-get.html for details. As this is Saturday, it's not possible to reach Naviera Austral.

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