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Aysén together with the mainland opposite Chiloé have an area of 135,000 square kilometers, or one sixth of continental Chilean territory. But in spite of the area’s great economic potential and its geopolitical importance, its lack of accessibility left this area all but isolated from the rest of the country until the Carretera Austral was completed. The 1,240 kilometer highway links Puerto Montt to the north with Villa O'Higgins at its southern end. Running through Chilean Patagonia, the Carretera Austral is the main overland transport route in Aysén as well as Palena Province in Los Lagos region, connecting these areas with the rest of the country.

Climate of the Carretera Austral

The climate is rainy and cold.  It is warmer and sunnier in summer, but in the afternoon and at nighttime it is still quite cold. From Chaitén to Mañihuales the proximity of the highway to the sea means that rainfall is high (over 3,500 millimeters per year), with average temperatures that never drop below zero degrees throughout the year. From Coyhaique to Cochrane, the climate is dry and cold. 

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