Chaitén (population 4,065) is 46 kilometers north of Puerto Cárdenas by a Carretera Austral segment that is paved almost to Termas de Amarillo , and 56 kilometers south of Caleta Gonzalo, a summer-only ferry port that’s also the headquarters of Parque Pumalín.
Between the snowy volcanic cones of Michinmahuida and Corcovado, the modest port of Chaitén is the main gateway to continental Chiloé . Receiving regular ferries and occasional catamarans from Puerto Montt  and insular Chiloé, it’s the starting point for many trips down the Carretera Austral and the year-round access point for Parque Natural Pumalín , U.S. entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins’s controversial conservation initiative.
Reservations are essential for air taxis to Puerto Montt  (about US$80), which use the airstrip a short distance south of town. Services change frequently, but the current carriers are Cielomar Austral (Pedro Aguirre Cerda s/n, tel. 065/731384), which also handles the erratic Catamaranes del Sur sea shuttles to Puerto Montt; Aerotaxis del Sur (Riveros and Ignacio Carrera Pinto, tel. 065/731315); and Aeropuelche (Corcovado 230, tel. 065/731800), at Restaurant Flamenco.
Naviera Austral (Corcovado 266, tel. 065/731272, fax 065/731282, www.navieraustral.cl ) operates from the ferry dock is a short distance northwest of town via the Costanera.
Nearly all buses stop at the main Terminal de Buses (O’Higgins 67, tel. 067/731429), but some companies are scattered around town. The main destinations are Futaleufú , Coyhaique , and intermediates, but occasional services go north to Caleta Gonzalo (Parque Pumalín ).