Aysén was molded by the power of nature, the origin of its fantastic diversity of open Pampas, impenetrable forests, glaciers falling slowing toward the sea reflecting the blue of it waters, tumultuous rivers that pass through valleys to the coast or that are placidly lost toward the pampas, innumerable channels that are directed toward the thousand of islands that form the coastline or enter the mainland. This unique physiognomy is the product of tectonic movements, the pressure of the glaciers and the volcanic activity that form the whimsical shapes of Asyén’s nature.

Coast
The coast, with innumerable islands, channels, fjords and the continuous presence of the Andes running parallel to the coast, make up one of the wildest places on Earth, with thousands of channels, islands and islets, creating a world of rich biodiversity, enormous trees, giant ferns and fauna that awaken curiosity in the few visitors that come to this environment.

The Patagonian Andes
Mount San Valentín at 4,058 meters is the highest mountain in Patagonia and is located in the northern limits of the Northern Ice Fields. The second highest peak, Mount San Lorenzo, near Cochrane at the border with Argentina, 3,706 high. Mount Hill, a beautiful icon of the Aysén Region, at 2,675 meters and is notable for its appearance like a medieval castle surrounded by smaller mountains in the form of towers. Mount Hudson, a volcano famous for its eruptions that changed the shape of neighboring valleys, stands at 2,600 meters. It is located northeast of the source of the Ibáñez River that flows in Lake General Carrera. In the north of the region there are a series of volcanoes, among them Mount Maca with a height of 2,960 meters, which is located near Puerto Aguirre, Mount Melimoyu with 2,400 meters close to Puyuhuapi and Mount Mentolat with 1,660 meters on Magdelena Island.

The snowfields and glaciers
The snowfields are found at altitudes where ice and snow do not melt with the summer heat. The most important snowfields in Aysén are defined based on their expanse or extraordinary location. Icebergs break off from the San Rafael Glacier and fall into the lagoon of the same name. In contrast, at the Hanging Ice field of Queulat, located in the north of Aysén there is an impressive formation hanging from a cliff, forming a site appreciable from the Sothern Highway. A glacier is defined as a great mass of ice that slowly slides from a mountain under gravity and erodes its environment, such as the Explorers’ Glacier descending from Mount San Valentin toward the Northern Ice Fields or O’Higgens Glacier with walls of ice of up to 60 meters, located in the Southern Ice Fields.

Ice Fields
There are large fields of glaciers in Aysén that represent areas permanently isolated because of their intense nature, comparable to only a few extreme regions of our planet. To visit these ice fields one has to be part of an organized expedition under the guidance of an expert. Because of this, the majority of visitors have only a glimpse of the immense whiteness, witnessing it from it edges or sailing along the coast. The Northern Ice Fields are located entirely within the region, running parallel to Lake General Carrera, while the Southern Ice Fields begin close to Villa O’Higgins and end in the Magallenes Region near Puerto Natales.

 

Rivers and lakes
Because of melt-off and the continuous rain and snowfalls, the rivers in the region have major flows, falling violently from the mountains in their short trajectory to the sea, boxed in by the valleys of Aysén. The main rivers of the region are the Palena, Cisnes and Aysén, with their trans-Andean basis, to which are added the Bravo, Pascua and Baker Rivers, the most voluminous in Chile. This river begins in a small lake, Bertrand, which connects through this a voluminous river with Lake General Carrera, the largest lake in Chile.

The lakes in the Aysén region have a singular beauty, framed by spectacular and unique environments. There are likes such as Elizalde, La Paloma and Atravesado that are surrounded by dense vegetation, mountains and cliffs that increase the role of the water and the green. The lakes by Puerto Cisnes and Puyuhuapi are located near the coast and are sometimes confused with channels that enter the interior from the sea, such as Lakes Risopatrón and Rosselot. Many small lakes and lagoons are located near the border in a prairie environment with sparse vegetation. These lakes offer a greater diversity of wildlife, in particular birds. Some of them are located near Coyhaique, such as Póllux and Castor and Escondida and El Toro Lagoons. Around the Ñirihuao River there are small lagoons where birds like bustards, swans and flamingos nest in the summer.

Pampas
The landscape of the Pampas in Aysén is found around Balmaceda, Coyhaique and Ñirihuao, formed by a splendid territory full of color and mysticism where the feeling of openness dominates the horizon. These areas are the last remnants of the enormous plains of the Argentine pampas that extend into Chile, imperceptibly giving way too the great forests and mountains of Aysén, yielding curious changes in the landscape. For example, if one travels from the border to the interior, the landscape is initially is completely prairie with great ranges of grasses, where grey and ochre dominate, complementing the intense white clouds in a deep blue sky. Heading into the interior one observes low lying shrubs beaten by the wind, with places where the water forms lagoons rich in aquatic life. Further inland the trees are larger, forming the beginning of the forest of Aysén.