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Lake District and Northern AisÚn Province

Chile's insider take:

South of Puerto Montt is the turnoff to Alerce Andino National Park, named after its 4,000-year-old alerce trees, which look like redwoods. You'll find an easily hiked volcano, thermal springs, and prime fishing rivers. The village of Chaitén is a useful base for exploring the Volcán Corcovado, whose flanks are cut with glaciers and covered in lush trees. Farther south, a spur from the Carretera leads east to the Futaleufú gorge, with its Class V rapids and national reserve. A second spur connects to the Río Palena Valley, ideal for horse riding (it's a bum-busting five days to isolated but trout-rich Lago Palena), hiking (options include a three-day saunter to Valle California), and rafting or kayaking down the Río Palena toward the Pacific. The region has plenty of luxury estancias and lodges such as the Alerce Mountain Lodge. Alternatively, stay at the quaint hamlet of Puerto Cisnes to marvel at the hanging glaciers in Queulat National Park, where chunks of ice regularly break off, falling hundreds of feet to the rocks below.

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