Because distances are great, public transportation is limited, and roads are few and slow, Aisén  justifies a rental car, preferably with high clearance. Vehicles are also few, so rental reservations are advisable for visitors flying into Balmaceda/Coyhaique, which is roughly the midway point on the Carretera Austral.
Coyhaique  is the best base for excursions north and south, and to Laguna San Rafael by catamaran or air taxi. Northbound on the Carretera Austral, it takes at least a week or 10 days to see roadside or near-roadside highlights like Parque Nacional Queulat , the Puyuhuapi hot springs , Parque Natural Pumalín , and the Río Futaleufú ’s world-class white-water.
Southbound on the highway, it needs at least a week to enjoy Cerro Castillo , Lago General Carrera, the singular fishing village of Caleta Tortel , and the wild end-of-the-road scenery at Villa O’Higgins .