Planning a Trip
For advance information about Pumalín Park, contact their U.S. office (tel. 415/229-9339; www.parquepumalin.cl). Travelers coming from the north should stop at Pumalín's office in Puerto Varas at Klenner 299 (tel. 65/250079).
Hornopirén can be reached by private vehicle; take Rte. 7 south from Puerto Montt for 45km (28 miles) until reaching La Arena, from which there is a 30-minute-long ferry that leaves nine times per day, year-round, to Puelche. South from La Arena, the ferry runs from 8am to 8pm; north from Puelche, it operates from 7:15am to 7:15pm (run by Transmarchilay's Naviera Puelche; tel. 65/270000 in Puerto Montt). From here it is 55km (34 miles) to Hornopirén. Bus service to Hornopirén is offered from the Puerto Montt bus station by Buses Fierro (tel. 65/253022), leaving three times per day (twice on Sun).
The southern entrance to the park at Caleta Gonzalo was severely affected during the May 2008 eruption and completely shut down through 2009. Contact the park office for the latest news. When things are again in working order, you can get to Caleta Gonzalo and the southern section of the park from either Chaitén in the south, or by a 6-hour ferry ride from Hornopirén. (In years past, during Jan and Feb, the ferry left daily at 3pm from Hornopirén and 9am from Caleta Gonzalo; the ride takes 5 hours and costs $17/£11 per person, plus $107/£71 for a private vehicle. Outside of Jan. and Feb., visitors will need to go first to Chaitén to visit Pumalín. Reservations are necessary for vehicles; contact Transmarchilay, at Av. Angelmo 2187 [tel. 65/270000; www.transmarchilay.cl]).