Guide to Cochamo & Cochamo Valley
Cochamo is a name synonymous with the small fishing village at the mouth of the river and the valley itself. To explain a little the difference to prevent confusion....
Cochamo (simply Cochamo) is the small little fishing village which sits on the Reloncavi Fjord at the mouth of the river. It is a humble little village which has been heavily influenced by the salmon farming industry, extremely active in this area since the 80s, and now more recently by tourism. This village is the gateway to the Cochamo Valley with the trail head beginning just 8kms up the road.
The Cochamo Valley is a low lying valley, surrounded by steep, sheer granite peaks and thick vegetation, offering some wonderful day hikes. The valley leads to the Paso Leon and into Argentina. The trail which takes you from sea level, through the valley to Argentina, has been a pass used by gauchos to transport cattle for the past 150 years. Today it is a popular hiking and horse riding route with some amenities offered by local families along the way.
There are 3 or 4 different routes to take from La Junta up into the side valleys of the Cochamo valley - Trinidad, Arco Iris, Apheatro and Paloma. These hikes are all quite challenging as they begin with some sheer uphill parts, the trails are not well trodden and in parts you'll find yourself pulling yourself up on tree routes. They have been strips of coloured ribbon tied to trees to show you the route.
Day Hiking from La Junta
Cochamo: Your Questions Answered
At the trail head just 8kms from the village of Cochamo is a field where you can leave vehicles, ask for information and most importantly sign in before heading up into the valley.
The trail from El Morro to La Junta takes about 4-5 hours and is mostly thickly vegetated. There is an elevation gain of 700 meters which is mostly in the first half of the hike. Read more about the trail from Sally's latest trip. Once you've arrived at La Junta most people base themselves here for a few days, day hiking (or climbing) into the adjacent valleys. For the more adventurous and independent there is the option of doing a circuit hike or even hiking over the Paso Leon into Argentina.
The journey between Puerto Varas and Cochamo is about 1.5 - 2 hours.
Hire a Car
A private transfer to take you from Puerto Montt airport, Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas can be arranged to take you to the trail head and collect you after your days of hiking.
Spend 2 days kayaking down the Emerald Petrohue River and the Relconcavi Fjord, sleeping over night under canvas on the shores of the Fjord.
The hike in takes you to La Junta, literally the joining or meeting, where 2 rivers join creating a wide open valley and grass area. This area has just a few accommodation options and is the main base that people use to day hike or climb into the surrounding valleys.
With space to sleep just 12 people, this charming little mountain home, makes for a culturally interesting, cosy base to return to after your days out on the trails. There are private rooms, a shared bathroom, hot water and delicious meals served by the lovely Anita. This is a great choice if you are looking for a little more comfort and ease but still a rich hiking experience.
This beautifully set hostal run by climbing experts Daniel and Silvina is the perfect base if you're looking for climbing expertise, a fun atmosphere and don't mind shared accommodation. They also serve up delicious pizzas!
There are now 4 camp grounds at La Junta which also should be reserved before hand, especially during high season as they have strict capacity rules. There are the camp grounds which belong to the Mountain Lodge and the Refugio Cochamo and then also the Camping Vista Hermosa and Camping Trawen. All camps have basic toilet facilities and a shelter for cooking food.
Landmarks in Cochamo
Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
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