On May 2, 2008, Volcán Chaitén, at the foot of which nestles its namesake town, erupted for the first time in over nine thousand years, taking the local residents completely by surprise, as the volcano was thought to be dormant. The town, and much of the surrounding area, had to be evacuated as the 19-mile (30km) plume of ash and steam from the volcano affected the local water sources. Worse was to come when the a mudslide caused floods which devastated the town. While the Bachelet government ordered the the town to be abandoned, the Piñera administration subsequently reversed the decision and, with vital services now reinstated, Chaitén is once again connected to Puerto Montt and other destinations along the Carretera Austral by frequent boat and bus.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Chile features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A journey along Chile's Route of Parks

A journey along Chile's Route of Parks

Chile has long lured the intrepid traveller but in 2018 things have stepped up a level. The newly created Route of Parks – a string of Patagonian national par…

12 Feb 2018 • Steph Dyson local_activity Special feature
Why you should visit Chile in 2018

Why you should visit Chile in 2018

A sliver of a country that somehow manages to encompass barren desert, knife-edge mountains and fertile river valleys, Chile has long attracted intrepid travell…

08 Jan 2018 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Chile is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. From the parched peaks of the north's Atacama Desert to the storied wilderness of Patagonia in the south, the nature…

30 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right