The main service town for Parque Nacional Pumalín, Chaitén is also the major transport hub for the northern Carretera Austral. Flights and ferries from Puerto Montt and Chiloé arrive here, and it's the starting point for many bus routes south.
When an unknown volcano decided to wake up on May 2, 2008, this quiet village underwent a total siege. Locals were able to evacuate, but suffered years of uncertainty as the government formed a response. Residents resisted the initial government decision to move the town 10km north and have rebuilt their shingled town with pride.