Palena River

Born at the eastern end of Palena lake in Chile, it is a binational lake, shared with Argentina, where it is known as General Vintter Lake.

Born at the eastern end of Palena lake in Chile, it is a binational lake, shared with Argentina, where it is known as General Vintter Lake. It travels the territory and receives the waters from the rivers Frío and Rosselot, and finally flows out in the vicinity of the town Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

Its main attraction is the size of the salmon that swim in it, which make it a natural fishing paradise. The landscape is dominated by high peaks, ice caps, and woods of Lenga beech (Nothofagus pumilio), which reach the cold waters of the lake.

The basin of this river is one of the four most important watersheds in the region. Along with its course through gorges and valleys are the evergreen Patagonian forests, where the Barros Arana Mountain and the Melimoyu Volcano especially stand out.

The Palena river is navigable from the Andean mountain range to the sea, it is one of the most unique and recognizable river courses of Patagonia, given its origin in the pampas and the course it follows until it flows out into the Pacific Ocean. Since January 2009, the tranche La Junta – Raúl Marín Balmaceda has become the Heritage Route of the National Assets.

a- General Information

Total Area: The basin covers 12,887 km2 and has a path of 240 kilometers.

Location: It is located in the North of Patagonia, between the regions of Los Lagos and Aysén.

Nearby Towns: Alto Palena, La Junta and Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

Estimated Distance and Time from Coyhaique: 267 kilometers; 4 hours and 30 minutes.


b- Access Routes (By land/ by sea/ by air)

By land

c – What to do / Activities:

Observation of Flora and Fauna: Given the particularities of its vegetation and extension, it is possible to contemplate a large diversity of flora such as the lenga beech (Nothofagus pumilio) and the cypress (Pilgerodendron uviferum.) As for the fauna, the huemul or South Andean deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) and the pudú (Pudu puda) stand out. And you may also find the puma (Felis concolor), the largest feline in Patagonia, and the culpeo fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus,) both labeled as vulnerable species. There are other lesser known species such as the marsupial “monito del monte” (Dromiciops gliroides) and the “güiña” cat (Leopardus guigna,) which have been sighted less and less over time.

Nautical Activities: You may take part in diverse nautical activities such as kayaking, canyoning, and canoeing, all in the river course, up until the vicinities of Raúl Marín Balmaceda.

Recreational Fishing: It is the ideal scenario for people who love recreational fishing, as there are numerous rivers, lakes, and lagoons, with crystalline waters and various salmonid species, such as trout (Salmo trutta fario,) rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss,) brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis,) Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar sebago) and Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch.)