The 80km trip up the FUTALEUFÚ VALLEY is one of the most enjoyable diversions off the Carretera Austral. Heading east from the drab crossroads settlement of Villa Santa Lucía, south of Chaitén, you first skirt the southern shore of Lago Yelcho for 30km, before arriving at a fork in the road. The right turn goes to the quiet border village of Palena, while the left branch follows the turquoise Río Futaleufú for 17km through towering gorges, lush forests and snow-streaked mountain peaks to its namesake town.

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