If you are accepted to the volunteer program, you will receive detailed logistical information.
Below should give you a sense of what to expect.
Getting to the park
The future Patagonia National Park is located approximately 190 miles south of Coyhaique, the capital city of the Aysen Region.
From Santiago: The most common way to reach the park is to fly into Balmaceda, the airport for Coyhaique, and then either catch the bus south or drive.
Most of our volunteers arrive by bus. Three bus companies offer service south from Coyhaique: Buses Don Carlos, Acuario 13, and Buses Sao Paulo. Between the three companies, there's usually one bus leaving every morning during the high season, around 9 am. Tickets cost ~$20 USD, and we can help you find the exact schedule.
To catch the bus, you generally have to spend a night in Coyhaique. The bus trip takes seven to nine hours, stopping for breaks in Villa Cerro Castillo and Puerto Rio Tranquilo. Ask to be dropped off at Cruce Baker, 17 km before Cochrane. We can pick you up from there.
If you want to drive, you can pick up a rental car at the Balmaceda airport or in the nearby city of Coyhaique. We recommend arranging your car rental ahead of time, and picking it up at the airport itself, since Coyhaique is ~30 minutes away, in the opposite direction from the park. Since the Carretera Austral is unpaved and often muddy, you'll need a 4 x 4 vehicle. Ask the car rental agency which kind of fuel the 4x4 uses—most use diesel. Alternatively, hitch-hiking along the Carretera Austral is fairly common.
From Southern Chile: If arriving from the south (Tierra del Fuego), you can fly from Punta Arenas to Balmaceda (one daily flight) on Sky Airlines and then take the bus south. Another option is to take a bus from the city of Perito Moreno, Santa Cruz, Argentina to Los Antiguos on Lago Buenos Aires (Lago General Carrera in Chile). From Los Antiguos, take another bus to the town of Chile Chico across the lake. From Chile Chico a bus runs twice a week to Cochrane. Again, make sure to get off at 'Entrada Baker' (18 Km. before Cochrane).
From Argentina: If you plan on coming from Argentina there is a bus that runs from the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut province, to Coyhaique, Chile. From there, take the bus or drive south to the park.
While at the park, volunteers have limited opportunities to contact the outside world via phone or computer. There is no cell phone service anywhere near the park, and the park phone is for emergency use only. We have an office computer available to the volunteers; however, please be aware that internet service tends to be slow and intermittent here. The town of Cochrane does have several cyber cafes and international phone call services. Please make sure that your family and friends are aware of these limitations.