198km (123 miles) S of Chaitén; 222km (138 miles) N of Coyhaique
Chile's X Region ends just south of Villa Santa Lucía. The view in Region XI or Aysén (often spelled Aisén) begins to pick up farther along, until the scenery goes wild as the valley narrows and thick green rainforest rises steeply from the sides of the road, just outside the entrance of Parque Nacional Queulat. When the valley opens, the Seno Ventisquero (Glacier Sound) unfolds dramatically, revealing the charming town of Puerto Puyuhuapi on its shore, which was founded by four young German immigrant brothers and their families who set up camp here in 1935. They ran a surprisingly successful carpet factory, Alfombras Puyuhuapi, whose humble, shingled building you can still visit Monday through Friday from 8:30am to noon and 3 to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to noon. Admission is free (tel. 67/325131; www.puyuhuapi.com). It really is worth a visit.
The most popular attractions in this region are Parque Nacional Queulat and the Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa, just south and on the other side of the sound, a 5-minute boat ride away. If the Puyuhuapi Lodge's prices are beyond your limit, you might opt to stay at a more economical hotel in Puerto Puyuhuapi or, during the off-season, at El Pangue cabañas, and take a soak in the hot springs for the day; or visit the less luxurious but still charming springs at Termas Ventisquero de Puyuhuapi (tel. 67/325228; $20/£13 per person; daily 9am-11pm), 6km/3 3/4 miles south of Puyuhuapi. You can then spend the following day at Parque Nacional Queulat.