If you want to stay in Cochamó Valley, you will have to first earn it: go to Puerto Montt, take a bus to Cochamó, then a cab to the trailhead and then hike for around 4 hours to the camp grounds or the Refugio. If you come with quite some luggage, you can rent a pack horse. We did, mainly because it just sounded really cool to rent a pack horse. We were happy we did in the end, because the trail into Cochamó Valley, which took us through amazingly beautiful rainforest, was quite an obstacle course due to recent heavy rains. The valley, which is surrounded by mighty granite walls, is a paradise not only for trekking, but also for passionate climbers, especially because many of the routes have not been climbed yet. When hiking here, it is wise to bring some kind of GPS device – the paths are not well marked and we ended up getting lost repeatedly in this humongous green labyrinth. However, talking to some fellow hikers and climbers, we found that that happened to everyone. Getting lost was not a bad thing though as it showed us just some more hidden corners of the valley which we had not planned to see. Most hikes here are quite challenging not only regarding finding the path but also because they are steep and often exposed. The most amazing hike we did was up Cerro Arco Iris. This hike lead to a fantastic overview of the whole valley and surrounding mountain ranges, however, it also included some serious climbing which at home would have been categorized as a via ferrata for sure. This place is super remote, and thus, on clear nights, the sky is overwhelmingly crowded with stars. On our last night we thus sat at a camp fire with some new friends, happily glancing at the sky above.
We had a wonderful time here but now, after some of the most intensive hiking of our trip so far, our legs are looking forward to some relaxing days on the coast. Also our clothes are soooo ready for laundry service after all the muddy trails.
When in Cochamó Valley
Where to stay: Refugio Cochamó – family-run mountain hut offering delicious homemade food in a spectacular environment.
What to do: Cerro Arco Iris – rewards advanced hikers with an unforgettable view.