Home in the Heart of Patagonia.
While programs are in Chile, we utilize our own Base Patagonia in the Aysén Region of Chile. We make our home in the Coyhaique area, which provides incredible learning and adventuring opportunities. Our days are spent getting to know the towns and the communities in which you reside. The natural beauty of glacial lakes, crystal clear rivers, and dramatic volcanoes provide inspiring classrooms.
The Class II whitewater of the Rio Palena offers Alzar School students a multi-day river expedition site. The Palena flows at a consistent gradient from its headwaters at the Chile-Argentina border to the ocean, with a variety of sections available for expeditions.
Just over an hour away from Alzar School’s base, the Rio Mañihuales provides incredibly clear water and Class II-IV rapids for students.
Coyhaique (“between rivers”) is known as the gateway to remote parts of Patagonia and has about 50,000 residents. Cerro McKay, with its dramatic rock face, looms over the city. The city offers chances for students to practice their Spanish, whether it is grocery shopping at the local markets, seeking out wool or ceramic souvenirs from local artisans, or visiting one of the several museums.
The Rio Simpson, which flows through Coyhaique and out to Puerto Aysen, offers a variety of kayaking sections. Its green waters are famous for trout fishing and make a fun spot for our students to practice kayaking after classes.
Alzar School has developed an unparalleled base of operations on Lago Atravesado, just 30 minutes outside Coyhaique. This lakeside “campo” features over 375 acres of native forest, a stunning rock beach, and waterfalls of Arroyo Arbolitos (“Little Trees Creek”).
The pristine water and vertical canyons of the Rio Paloma make for incredible river adventures for our students. There is an upstream Class III-IV section, as well as a lower Class II section that is perfect for new kayakers.
Cerro Castillo National Park’s most prominent feature is a jagged, iconic peak. “Castillo” means “castle” in Spanish, and the steep basalt walls of the mountain offer dramatic vistas for students’ explorations.
Many tourists visit Chile simply to take this drive from Coyhaique to Villa O’Higgins. The landscapes are everything you would expect from majestic and wild Patagonia.
Chile’s newest national park founded by Doug and Kristine Tompkins is over 640,000 acres and was formally signed into protection as a national park by the Chilean government in 2018.
Chile’s largest river by volume is a teal aqua color that transforms as tributaries drain in and make their way to the town of Tortel. This river has a mellow section, which we use, and a famous expert only run upstream.