Coihaique , also spelled Coyhaique in Patagonia, is the capital city both of the Coyhaique Province and the Aisen Region of Chile. Founded in 1929 by settlers, it is a young city. Until the twentieth century, Chile showed little interest in exploiting the remote Aysen region. It was not until the second half of the twentieth century that the region's spectacular natural setting began to attract the attention of significant numbers from the outside world. The opening of the Carretera Austral road in the 1980s helped put Coyhaique "on the map."
Coihaique has some of the most beautiful scenery in Patagonia. It is surrounded by rivers (Simpson and Coihaique) and by mountains. The mountains may be snow-covered throughout the year, thus Coihaique is sometimes called the city of eternal snow. On some days, it is said, one can experience all four seasons in a single day: rain, snow, wind, and then bright and warm sunshine.
Coihaique's current mayor is Omar Munoz Sierra (2009-2012 term), and he was preceded by David Sandoval Plaza (UDI), who served from 2000-2008.
Society and culture
The city is a regional service center and provides drugstores, supermarkets, gas stations, pubs, gyms, internet cafes, travel agencies, radio stations, a post office, a museum, automobile rental & repair services, hardware stores, book stores, medical support, construction and do-it-yourself stores, among other commercial enterprises.
One of the most unusual features of the city is its town square, which is laid out in the shape of a pentagon in honor of the Carabineros, the national police force. (A Carabinero general was one of the town's founders.)
The optimal time to visit Coihaique is during the months of November through April, when temperatures are quite moderate. From May until October, temperatures can be comparatively cold and accompanied by the possibility of snowfall. Tourists arrive by a number of means, including by air through the local airport, by sea through ships that dock at Puerto Chacabuco , and by road. Two border crossings near Coyhaique allow entry into Argentina.
Of interest to many foreigners are the "fly fishing lodges" which are located along rivers and lakes. Their services are around USD $1000$2000. A full range of simpler lodging is available within the city itself and nearby, though for its location in a highly scenic region, comparatively few "deluxe" hotels can be found.
Coihaique boasts a single ski resort, called "El Fraile", which provides two ski lifts and a couple of tracks, but no on-site lodging.
LAN has three daily flights from Santiago to Balmaceda Airport, located 40 km from Coihaique. Other airlines also provide services. Connections from Balmaceda airport to points further south in Chile will often require a connection in Puerto Montt.
Simpson and Coihaique Rivers, well known for fly fishing
Piedra del Indio, an Indian-shaped rock besides the Simpson River
Happy Stone, a large rock in the middle of a plain where people go to party
Coihaique's city hall website
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Coihaique