At the crossroads town of La Junta, new penetration roads proceed west along the Río Palena toward the port of Raúl Marín Balmaceda and east up the Río Figueroa valley toward the Argentine border. Local businesses, thus, are placing themselves as a “place of encounter” for exploring the “Cuenca de Palena,” the Río Palena drainage.
On a broad plain at the confluence of the two rivers, just south of the regional border between Aisén and Los Lagos, La Junta (population about 1,200) is the main access point to Reserva Nacional Lago Rosselot, a 12,725-hectare forest reserve whose longitudinal finger lake is known for its fishing.
La Junta gained a measure of notoriety when, in 2001, local authorities erected an unauthorized monument to General Pinochet—still popular with some residents for building the north–south highway. Others, though, find this embarrassing; with a change of local administration and a project to widen the highway through town, they may have an excuse to remove it without ruffling feathers—or raising hackles.
Rates at Residencial Valderas (Antonio Varas s/n, tel. 067/314105, US$11 pp with shared bath) include breakfast. The best choice, though, is Hostal Espacio y Tiempo (Carretera Austral s/n, tel. 067/314141, www.espacioytiempo.cl , US$67/96 s/d with breakfast and private bath), where a cordon of conifers encloses the lawns and gardens of a small but attractive roadside inn whose restaurant is also open to the public. It offers fishing and other excursions.
New in town, for breakfasts, lunches, and desserts, is Mi Casita de Té (Carretera Austral and Patricio Lynch, tel. 067/314206).
Like other Carretera Austral villages, La Junta is a regular stop for buses en route between Coyhaique  and Chaitén . Buses Lago Verde (Antonio Varas s/n) goes north to Chaitén (US$9.50) at 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Entre Verdes (Antonio Varas s/n, tel. 067/314725) goes to Puerto Cisnes  at 7 a.m. Monday and Friday.