Cruce El Maitén
Cruce El Maitén, about 50 kilometers south of Puerto Río Tranquilo at Lago General Carrera’s westward outlet, is only a crossroads with the eastbound highway to Puerto Guadal and Chile Chico. Nevertheless, there are important services in the vicinity.
Almost at the junction, Hacienda Tres Lagos (Km 274, tel./fax 067/411323, US$200 s or d and up) is one of the highway’s best accommodations options. Oriented toward packages of three days or more, its spacious, well-lighted cabañas are appealing enough, but its newer suites, separated from the main building, are even more so.
Amenities include wireless Internet and a sauna, while activities include horseback riding, fishing, and excursions to sights on and off the highway. Its restaurant, El Parador Austral, open to the public, has a superb kitchen. In Santiago, contact Hacienda Tres Lagos (Roberto del Río 1111, Providencia, tel./fax 02/3334122, www.haciendatreslagos.com).
One kilometer north, Mallín Colorado (Km 273, tel. 02/2341843 in Santiago, www.mallincolorado.cl, US$250 s or d) has several log-style cabañas with similar amenities. It primarily works with excursion-oriented packages, though.
About 14 kilometers north of the junction, near the handsome suspension bridge at the lake outlet, the Pasarela Sur Lodge (Km 260, tel. 067/411425, www.pasarelasurlodge.cl, US$102 s or d) primarily attracts fishing-oriented visitors but can also arrange other activities like rafting, hiking, and horseback riding. It also has a decent restaurant.
Another five kilometers north, Heart of the Andes Lodge (Km 255, tel. 067/411300, www.heartoftheandes.com, US$50 pp with full board) takes drop-in guests when it’s not filled with anglers who pay big bucks for weeklong stays that included floatplane flights to remote lakes. Operator Mark Kniprath, a former Alaska bush pilot, has built an airstrip and also flies sightseers to Laguna San Rafael and other destinations. The lodge includes a bar and game room, and spontaneous overnighters often end up contracting an air excursion.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition