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South from Chaiten

155km (96 miles) SE of Chaitén

The road south between Chaitén and Villa Santa Lucía, where drivers turn for Futaleufú, passes through mountain scenery that affords direct views of Volcán Michimahuida rising high above the wilderness, Yelcho Glacier, and Lago Yelcho. At 25km (16 miles), you'll arrive at Amarillo, a tiny village and the turnoff point for the 5km (3-mile) drive to Termas de Río Amarillo.

Termas de Rio Amarillo -- These hot springs have a large temperate pool along with several outdoor and private indoor pools ($6/£4; daily 9am-dusk). Check out Pumalín's website (www.parquepumalin.cl) for updated information about their trail to the Amarillo Valley that, in 2 hours, will take you to one of best campgrounds in the area, with extensive alpine and glacier views. Or lodge at the modest, family-run Cabañas y Hospedaje Los Mañíos, about 100m (328 ft.) from the hot springs, for $64 (£43) for a cabin for four, $73 (£49) for a cabin for six (tel. 65/731210).

Lago Yelcho

Farther south, the road curves past the northern shore of Lago Yelcho and the Yelcho en la Patagonia Lodge , and at 60km (37 miles) crosses the Puente Ventisquero, which bridges a milky green river; this is where you'll find the trail head to Yelcho Glacier. To get there, take the short road before the bridge and then walk right at the almost imperceptible sign indicating the trail. A muddy 1 1/2-hour hike takes you through dense forest to Yelcho Glacier. The 50km (31-mile) lake itself is a hub for fly-fishing.

At Villa Santa Lucía, the Carretera Austral continues south to Puyuhuapi, but visitors should not miss a stay, or at the very least, a detour, to Futaleufú, an idyllic mountain town with adventure activities and one of the most challenging rivers to raft in the world. The road to Futaleufú is worth the trip itself for its majestic views at every turn, first winding around the southern end of Lago Yelcho, a hub of fly-fishing, before passing the Futaleufú River and lakes Lonconao and Espolón, and on to the emerald valley surrounding the town of Futaleufú.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.