A u-shaped valley lined with 1000-meter granite walls and peaks. Rivers and streams form waterfalls and pools throughout the valley.
Flora and fauna
The huge and rare alerce trees should be on your list to check out.
This area receives a huge amount of rain every year. The best time and dryest, however, is January through mid March. The weather can be good from December to the end of March.
There are no entree fees or permits needed.
If you are heading to Valle Cochamó from Santiago (Chile) or Bariloche (Argentina), you must get to Puerto Montt. Once you arrive to Puerto Montt, there are three buses daily to the town of Cochamó or Cochamó-River bridge. You can also utilise the town of Puerto Varas as a starting point. It has several travel agencies and the local bus service passes through here also.
The trailhead is located 8 kilometers up river following a gravel road. It's possible to hire a car in town to drop you off at road's end where the trail begins.
At the end of the road or trailhead, cross a small bridge and pass through a gate. From that point, hiking into the valley takes four to five hours. The trail is well marked and never crosses the Cochamó River. The hiking is relatively easy except for crossing through some trenches, pools and streams, which can become harder to cross when it rains. Water proof hiking boots are highly recommended. Gaitors help significantly on rainy days. Continue to La Junta River, the center of activities and accommodation in the valley.
Huge granite walls, waterfalls, rivers, granite arches, Alerce forests, caves, pools - basically some of Patagonia´s most amazing mountain valley.
The Cochamo Valley is one of the most pristine places in northern Patagonia, with its historic Cochamo Trail - up to the border with Argentina - having been in use for more than 100 years. Once traversed only by gauchos, missionaries and the occasional bandit (Butch and Sundance being the best-known of the latter), the trail is today being explored and used by travelers from all parts of the world. This is, in large part, due to the 'discovery' of this hidden gem by maverick traveler and journalist Clark Stede, was one of the early European visitors to this remote valley, in the waning years of the Pinochet regime. He was just 'passing by' in his aluminium yacht, but once he glimpsed the valley and his peaks - he decided to stay. Working with young local huasos, he explored the Cochamo Trail and other long-unused byways, and decided to lead and guide horseback explorations of this magnificent valley, thus bringing international tourism to little-known Cochamo.
Today, the Cochamo Valley - specifically the upper La Junta section - is a famous rock climbing destination with many granite walls and domes ranging around 1000 meters. There are many new routes every year and thousands of new long lines waiting to be done. For most other types of outdoor travelers, the multi-day horseback trekking and hiking activities remain the most popular and common way to access this natural treasure trove.
In addition to rock-climbing, the Cochamo and La Junta valleys offer visitors a rich feast of nature - crystal-clear pools and streams; towering ancient trees; scattered, occasional encounters with traditional mountain homesteaders; and dozens of hikes - ranging from easy to moderate to challenging.
Relatively unknown until recently, the valley receives more and more hikers and climbers each year, which brings its own set of challenges - ill-prepared or ill-equipped visitors; littering and trash; unauthorised camping and fires. Whether the growing number of local and international visitors will respect the fragile environment and local inhabitants and their property, and do what they can to keep this "Yosemite of Chile" clean and unspoiled, remains to be seen.
Eat & Drink
You can get breakfast, pizzas and, most importantly, home-made beer. Try Tabano Pale Ale.
Delicious international and traditional fare, wine, beer available at the two lodges run by Campo Aventura, at the start of the trail and in the La Junta Valley.
In La Junta area, you can stay in bunks or get a private room at the Refugio Cochamó.
You can camp in the campground in La Junta.. For those seekign seclusion and peace, there are additional camping facilities at the mouth of the Rio Cochamo and also in the La Junta valley (with hot showers, indoor plumbing, & firewood)
There are plenty of hikes in the valley. Recommended is the Cerro Arco Iris peak hike.