NATURE AND POPULATION
The climate in the area of Puyuhuapi is humid temperate, with approximately 3,500 mm of precipitation per year. The rainiest months are June and July, so the best time to visit is between November and March.
Come prepared for sun and rain, heat and cold, because you will probably encounter a variety of weather conditions here. Because the microclimates that develop over the fjords and the interior are varied, it is difficult to make predictions. In Patagonia we often say, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes!"
The humid temperate forest of this region is made up of southern beech (coigüe) and other endemic species, including canelo, the sacred tree of the Mapuches; luma, a hardwood used to make police truncheons, the arrayan with its brick red bark; and many other trees. The dense strip of bamboo that rings the forest, the tree ferns and other giant ferns growing on the hillsides, the enormous leaves of the nalca plant (a kind of wild rhubarb) and the wild fuschia bushes that grow along the edges of the road impress visitors. Think twice, however, before trying the delicious calafate berry that ripens in February! Legend has it that anyone who eats calafate must return to Patagonia!
Patagonian forest is the natural habitat of pudúes (the world's smallest deer)
and pumas. It stands silent, except for its birds, including the tuetue, who
announces your arrival in the forest, and the curious chucao who tags along on
your hike. The waters are full of wildlife, too: otters, beavers and blackneck
swans inhabit the rivers and lakes, while toninas, seals and penguins swim in
Patagonia has no poisonous insects; in fact, there is hardly even a mosquito. Wild rodents carry hantavirus, but little threat is posed to those who follow basic safety precautions and avoid these animals.
Although it covers 100.000 Km2, the Aisén Region has only 110,000 inhabitants, more than half of whom live in Coyhaique and Puerto Aisén.
The Puyuhuapi Bay area was long a resting place for the Chonos, seafaring nomads who once travelled along the fjords in their canoes, leaving behind growing heaps of shells. During colonial times, they were attracted to the missions and had slowly migrated towards Chiloe and eventually disappeared as a people.
German settlers came in 1935 and hired farmworkers from Chiloé, most of whom were Huilliche Indians, the southern branch of the Mapuche people. They came with their families and today, along with later migrants from the region between Puerto Montt and Temuco, they make up the majority of the village's population.