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Tour operators plan day trips, multiday trips, and full expeditions to areas as far as the Southern Ice Field. Adventure Expeditions Patagonia, Riquelme 372 (tel. 67/219894; www.adventurepatagonia.com), can put together unforgettable expeditions to areas rarely seen by travelers, including a hut-to-hut hiking expedition along the Aysén Glacier, a 14-day horseback-riding trip along the Pioneer Trail, and an "Ice to Ocean" 11-day horseback, hiking, and rafting adventure; they are highly recommended and they have an excellent staff of guides.

Andes Patagónicos, Horn 48, no. 11 (tel. 67/216711; www.ap.cl), has tours around Coyhaique, such as trips to the Lake Carrera and the Capilla de Mármol; 5-day journeys to Caleta Tortal with stops at archaeological sites, immigrant posts, glaciers, and rivers; 1-day and multiday fly-fishing tours; trips to the Laguna San Rafael and Termas de Puyuhuapi; and more.

Condor Explorer, Dussen 357 (tel. 67/573634; www.condorexplorer.com), specializes in mountaineering excursions, including the tough ones to the Northern Ice Field and San Lorenzo, and offers logistical support for overseas expeditions. It's one of few tour operators that are active year-round, offering ski treks/randonee, hiking, trekking, and horseback riding. Their agency has the sole mountaineering store in Coyhaique.

For a private fly-fishing guide, try Expediciones Coyhaique, Portales 195 (tel./fax 67/232300; juliomeier@patagoniachile.cl). For sightseeing trips along the Carretera Austral and to Puerto Aysén, and trips to view Telhuelche Indian rock, try Turismo Prado, 21 de Mayo 417 (tel./fax 67/231271; www.turismoprado.cl).

NOLS Patagonia, 11km (7 miles) south of Coyhaique (tel. 800/710-NOLS [710-6657]; www.adventurepatagonia.com), is the Chilean branch of the U.S.-based National Outdoor Leadership School. Set on a 500-acre working organic farm, intensive training courses here range from 14- to 34-day kayaking and mountaineering trips ($3,330-$5,850/£2,200-£3,900) to semester-long wilderness courses that include studies in mountaineering, first aid, survival, and other outdoor activities.

Fishing -- Since their introduction in the late 1800s, trout and salmon have thrived in the crystalline waters in southern Chile, but nowhere in the country has fly-fishing taken off as it has here in the Aysén region. The burgeoning number of guides alone bears testament to the truth of this region's claim as one of the premier fishing destinations on the globe, drawing thousands of anglers from around the world to reel in 3-, 5-, and even 10-pounders. Even if you've never fished before, this might be your opportunity to try. Each tour operator has a list of its own fly-fishing guides in the Aysén region, some of whom work independently. If you're coming here mainly to fish, there are several full-service luxury lodges in the region. All have on-site guides, both Chilean and foreign, especially U.S. Most offer activities for nonangling spouses and friends.

Tour operators organize day, multiday, and weeklong excursions to fly-fishing spots such as the Simpson, Baker, and Nirehuao rivers, and Bertrand and General Carrera lakes. Some combine excursions with other activities, such as horseback riding or hiking.

Horseback Riding -- Trips often head to the Coyhaique Reserve and Lago Margaritas, but tour companies offer a variety of destinations. Some arrange all-inclusive, multiday trips; for this, try Andes Patagónicos.

Skiing -- It's not a world-class ski resort (two T-bars are the lift service), but it can be fun to visit if you're here between June and September. The Centro de Esquí El Fraile (tel. 67/198-3007) is 29km (18 miles) from Coyhaique, offering five ski runs serviced by two T-bars. It's a tiny resort but can make for a fun day in the snow, and it's one of the few resorts in Chile that has tree skiing. There are also cross-country skiing opportunities here. Tickets cost about $25 (£17) per day, and it's possible to rent equipment for an average of $16 (£11). Andes Patagónicos and Condor Explorer can get you there.

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.