carretera austral Chile City Guide road trip

How to Drive the Carretera Austral, Patagonia’s Ultimate Road Trip

Pay attention to Ford and I recap our expertise driving the Carretera Austral on the podcast:

I’m ruined for life. After driving the length of the Carretera Austral in Chilean Patagonia and seeing the most lovely mountains, rivers, hanging glaciers, valleys, fjords, volcanoes, and extra, I just don’t know what can probably prime the great thing about this area.

If you need to take the final street trip of a lifetime, put the Carretera Austral on your bucket listing right now.

Heaven? Truly, it’s Ventisquero Colgante – Parque Nacional Queulat, Carretera Austral. © Ford Quarterman

The Carretera Austral, which may be translated to “Southern Highway,” is a stretch of “road” virtually 800 miles lengthy that spans the length of Northern Chilean Patagonia. This a part of Chile continues to be very primitive and wild, and this “highway” was solely constructed within the previous couple of many years to join cities previously only reachable by boat. It consists of segments of dust street (“ripio” in Spanish), multiple ferries, bridges, and some paved stretches.

It passes by means of the absolute most unimaginable panorama on the earth (IMHO), including many nationwide parks and guarded areas.

The Carretera Austral is an outside journey lover’s final playground.

How I Managed to Get a Automotive (and Driver!)

Should you pay attention to my podcast, you’ll keep in mind my interview with Ford Quarterman (@wheresthegringo) about his travels from the US down via Latin America in his Toyota 4Runner named Cielito Lindo. As is true with most of my podcast friends, we hadn’t met in individual before, however throughout that conversation, we found out that we might be in Patagonia at the similar time (I led a gaggle trip there in November 2017). With the opportunity of a lifetime sitting right in front of us, we each stated yes and agreed to street journey the Carretera Austral together.

Pay attention to a reunion episode with Ford and I as we speak about this trip collectively on the show (episode 89).

In December of 2017, we met up in Bariloche, Argentina, drove across the border to Puerto Varas, Chile, and spent the next month tenting, mountaineering, and exploring our method south. This submit is a chronicle of our Carretera Austral journey, with itinerary notes, street journey advice, camping ideas, and must-do’s along the means.

When you don’t happen to know anybody driving their Toyota to the end of the world, you possibly can lease a car when you get down there. We met tons of people from numerous totally different nations who had come to Chile and rented automobiles for weeks at a time. You will get a daily car or one outfitted for camping, either with roof tents, or a camper van, and so forth. There are many choices and rental corporations.

When renting a automotive, make sure to get a 4WD for this region, and keep in mind that one-way rentals typically mean additional fees. Attempt to lease and return to the similar metropolis if potential.

As for tenting gear, Ford already had every thing except a sleeping bag for me, and I coincidentally met somebody who was selling her calmly used sleeping bag at our hostel in Puerto Varas. I additionally bought a pillow in Puerto Varas, and these two purchases made for quite snug sleep for me.

Camping and driving your personal car is completely the greatest approach to expertise all that the Carretera Austral has to supply. There is a map of our route at the very finish of this publish.

Associated: Motion Illness Ideas for Vacationers

Ferry Carretera Austral

Day 1 – Ford and I (and his truck Cielito Lindo) on the first ferry of the Carretera Austral. © Ford Quarterman

Know Before You Go

Download these apps:

  • iOverlander: This app incorporates a user-generated map of campsites, mechanics, places of interest, restaurants, hikes, parks, borders, ferries, and almost every little thing else you may need on a street trip. It really works offline, which is essential for the Carretera Austral. Every part famous on the map consists of the date of entry and some type of word or suggestion about the place. We discovered all of our wild campsites via iOverlander, in addition to essential ferry and park info, among other helpful issues. It connects easily to maps.me for specific instructions to something marked in the app.
  • maps.me: Download the right nation maps when you are on WiFi and this map will probably be all you want for directions on the street. It is rather more detailed than either Google or Apple maps, and it is extremely user-friendly. Even without WiFi or cell service, you will get detailed turn-by-turn directions on the go.

Associated: Greatest Road Trip Apps for Your Next Adventure

Perceive these politics:

Notes for the Carretera Austral:

  • Paving is an ongoing undertaking, anticipate plenty of development at any given time.
  • On a map, the Carretera Austral may also be discovered as Route “Ruta” 7.
  • Share the street! Bikers, hitchhikers, and even runners could be spotted the whole approach, round each nook. Drive cautiously.
  • High season (and summertime) begins mid-December and ends mid-March, anticipate more individuals and better prices throughout these dates.
  • Microclimates abound, there isn’t any such thing as predicting the climate here. Go together with ALL the layers, sunscreen, and waterproof gear you possibly can carry. And put your glasses on croakies in order that they don’t blow away.
  • Three weeks is an ideal period of time to see every little thing on your means down and make all of it the means to the end. Anything much less and you’ll have to skip some of the must-do’s.
  • Replenish on EVERYTHING earlier than you allow Puerto Montt and send any necessary messages over WiFi. Buy ALL the low cost wine, refill on fuel, and so forth.
  • There’s hardly any cell service and a few small cities don’t even have WiFi. Put together to be very off grid.
Volcan Osorno

The majestic Volcán Osorno and Petrohue Waterfalls in Puerto Varas, value exploring before heading south on the Carretera Austral.

21 Days on the Carretera Austral

Day 1: Puerto Montt to Hornopirén

  • Ferry: La Area to Puelche. Departs every 30 minutes, no reservation mandatory.
  • Camp: We wild camped close to Puntilla Pichicolo, very close to “Donde el Trauco Perdió su Poncho,” a family-run restaurant value finding!
  • Activities: At Puntilla Pichicolo, take a walk to the water and feast on a recent seafood buffet. Make associates with locals (people and canine alike!)
  • Notes: Be sure to have already reserved your ferry for the subsequent day.
seafood buffet chile

Puntilla Pichicolo: Our new buddies Joaquin, Ricki, and Mati displaying us the personal seafood buffet near their home. © Ford Quarterman

Day 2: Hornopirén to Cascadas Escondidas (Parque Pumalín)

  • Ferry: Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo 10:30 am – 5 hours and only goes twice per day. Have to be reserved prematurely. Ebook here. Sure, you actually do want to be there to start lining up means prematurely, we began boarding at 9:30 am. This can be a lovely trip by way of fjords. It truly consists of two ferries, all automobiles should disembark at Leptepú, drive together for about 10 minutes on a mud street to Fiordo Largo, and then look forward to a small ferry the rest of the approach to Caleta Gonzalo.
  • Camp: Cascadas Escondidas campground in Parque Pumalín (thanks to Tompkins Conservation). Should you get there earlier than December 15th it’s free, in any other case 5,000 pesos per individual.
  • Activities: Hike to the waterfalls, the path goes right out of the campground. About 3 miles and 1 hour spherical trip to Cascada Alta (the prime waterfall and end of the trail).
hornopiren ferry

Ferry by way of the fjords from Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo. © Ford Quarterman

Related: 50 Songs for the Ultimate Journey Playlist

Day 3: Cascadas Escondidas to Camping Ventisquero (Parque Pumalín)

  • MUST-DO: Hike Volcán Chaitén. Trailhead parking zone is true on the Carretera Austral. About Three miles spherical trip, took us about 45-60 minutes up and 15-20 minutes down. Very steep up (about 2,000 ft elevation achieve), views are value it. In the event you’re a hiker, download Strava app to monitor your treks!
  • Camp: Camping Ventisquero can also be in Parque Pumalín, on the other aspect of the town of Chaitén. It is a BEAUTIFUL campground.
  • Notes: Restock in Chaitén for anything you didn’t buy sufficient of in Puerto Montt. There’s additionally a trusted mechanic here, see iOverlander app for particulars. Get fuel right here as properly. Chaitén city shouldn’t be value staying in, undoubtedly maintain going to Tenting Ventisquero.
Volcan Chaiten

Volcan Chaitén, which continues to be smoking, is a fantastic hike.

Chaiten Chile

Wanting in the direction of the Pacific Ocean from the prime of Volcan Chaitén. © Ford Quarterman

Day Four: Night time 2 at Tenting Ventisquero

  • Actions: Glacier lookout hike straight from the campground. Very brief, a few mile, half hour. For a longer trek, you would do the 12-mile hike along the river to the glacier. Find it on maps.me at Tenting Ventisquero – “Sendero Ventisquero.”
  • Notes: El Amarillo Scorching Springs was closed for renovations once we tried to go there. It also seemed overpriced to us, but you can test it out.
Pumalin Campground

Enjoying being off the grid at Camping Ventisquero in Parque Pumalín. © Ford Quarterman

Day 5: Tenting Ventisquero to Futaleufú

  • Activities: Hanging glacier Ventisquero Yelcho hike on the approach south, parking is in an abandoned campground proper before a bridge. 45-60 minutes a method, not well-maintained path, but views are value it. Discover Ventisquero Yelcho on maps.me.
  • MUST-DO: Futaleufú is off the Carretera Austral by about an hour and a half, in the direction of Argentina, however it is an unimaginable place. I highly advocate booking a multi-day tour with Futaleufú Adventure. The river was dangerously high and closed to rafting or kayaking (class 6+) once we went. As an alternative, we did a climbing adventure and stayed at their personal camps, which are absolutely bucket-list worthy on their own, not to mention the unbelievable surrounding landscapes and viewpoints from the guided hikes.
  • Camp: Our first night time with Futaleufú Journey, we hiked up to a personal tree house village. Assume Ewok village come to LIFE, Star Wars nerds unite. This place was SO FREAKING COOL. Plus it got here with a wood-fired scorching tub on the fringe of a personal lake, and a steak asado for dinner. We slept three stories up in the timber to the sound of a forest frog symphony, underneath thick sleeping luggage in the cool night time air. #pinchme
  • Notes: We have been in a position to get cell service whereas passing by way of Santa Lucía. Please stop right here and go to a store, purchase one thing from the locals, they suffered a horrible mudslide simply days after we left this area (December 2017) and far of the city was destroyed. They need your help.
Ventisquero Yelcho

Rewards are great on the hike to Ventisquero Yelcho. © Ford Quarterman

Hot Tub Futaleufú

The amazingness of this scene isn’t beyond me. I felt like royalty with Futaleufú Adventure. #dontmindthetanlines © Ford Quarterman

Day 6: Futaleufú – Tree House Camp to Stone Home Camp

  • Actions: Hiked from the Tree Home Camp up to a viewpoint with 360-degree views of Futaleufú and down to Stone Home Camp on the largest speedy (the “Z”) on the Futaleufú River, the place we had to do a Tyrolian Traverse to get across.
  • Camp: Stone Home Camp, with platform beds dealing with the Z speedy, one other wood-fired scorching tub, a cave, and the absolute coldest shower I’ve ever taken in my life.
Tree House Futaleufú

Our actual stay tree house Ewok village! That turret I’m standing in is the place we slept with mattress pads and sleeping luggage. #pinchme © Ford Quarterman

Stone Camp Overlook Futaleufu

Overlooking the Futaleufú River on our hike to the Stone House camp. © Ford Quarterman

Day 7: Futaleufú to La Junta

  • Actions: Hiked out of the Futaleufú wilderness and went into city for lunch. Determined not to stay the night time, and took off for La Junta.
  • Camp: We opted to sleep inside for the first time and get a scorching bathe – stayed at Hostel Casa Museo Copihue for a ridiculous $20/pp for the night time.
  • Notes: Get fuel in Futaleufú, it’s cheaper than La Junta.
Futaleufú River

Having fun with unimaginable views from the prime of our hike, Futaleufú River under. © Ford Quarterman

Related: 10 Unique Road Trip Presents and Packing Ideas

Day eight: La Junta to Raúl Marin Balmaceda

  • MUST-DO: Drive to Raúl Marin Balmaceda and camp on the seashore.
  • Actions: There were scorching springs on the method (Termas El Sauce), we stopped to verify them out and determined they have been approach overpriced, so we stored going. The drive is beautiful, the seashore is gorgeous, hope for good weather and no wind, as we had.
  • Camp: Dolphin Seashore – discover it on iOverlander. We had the entire seashore to ourselves, picked a spot, and set up camp. Simple as that.
  • Notes: You should cross a river with a tiny ferry to get to Raúl Marin Balmaceda, however the ferry is on demand (and free), so that you simply show up and they’ll see you and are available decide you up. Ferry runs from around 8 am till 6 pm, with a half-hour break from 1-1:30 pm for lunch.
Raul Marin Balmaceda beach camp

Seashore camp at Raul Marin Balmaceda seashore. © Ford Quarterman

Day 9: Raúl Marin Balmaceda to Parque Nacional Queulat

  • Actions: After taking walks on the seashore, looking for driftwood, and watching the dolphins play in the bay, we drove again to the Carretera Austral from the coast (about 1.5 hours), and continued down to Queulat.
  • Camp: We wild camped instantly outdoors the fence of the nationwide park, on a nice hidden aspect street. You will discover this spot on iOverlander.
  • Notes: There was paving development and we had to take an compulsory ferry for part of this route, which delayed us. Camping at the park closes by 5-6pm, in order that they wouldn’t allow us to into camp.
Patagonian beach

We had the entire seashore to ourselves at Raul Marin Balmaceda. © Ford Quarterman

Day 10: Parque Nacional Queulat to Puerto Cisnes

  • MUST-DO: DO NOT MISS the hanging glacier (Ventisquero Colgante) in Queulat National Park. Even on a cloudy day, the clouds often sit just above the glacier, so the hike to the viewpoint continues to be value it.
  • Activities: There are two viewpoints you’ll be able to stroll to, one close and one about an hour up the trail. Do the longer one, the view is unreal. There is a boat journey that takes about 20 minutes and prices 5,000 CLP, it takes you as close as you will get on the water to the waterfall. We did not do that, and I can’t imagine the view can be better than from the viewpoint, so either do both or do the hike, but don’t miss the hike.
  • Notes: Queulat means “the sound of the waterfalls” in the aboriginal language. The park opens at 8 am and there is a 5,000 CLP pp payment to enter. The park does shut at 6:30 pm, so in case you aren’t tenting inside (also 5,000 CLP pp), you have to exit. The drive from right here to Puerto Cisnes (additionally off the Carretera Austral) is beautiful!
  • Camp: For wild tenting at Puerto Cisnes, there’s a spot across the bay from the town the place there is a group park space, and you may camp on the very edge of it without spending a dime. Find it on iOverlander.
  • Beer: There is a cervecería in Puerto Cisnes that has a scrumptious porter!
Queulat Hanging Glacier

Probably the one and solely absolute MUST DO in case you do nothing else on the Carretera Austral: Ventisquero Colgante Parque Nacional Queulat. Okay superb, truly this AND Cerro Castillo…

Day 11-12: Coyhaique

  • Laundry: Get it achieved at Lavaseco on Calle Parra for 1,800 CLP per kilo, washed and dried and delivered next day (this was the greatest deal on the town).
  • Camp: You’ll be able to camp at “El Camping” which does refill so don’t arrive too late. We stayed at an Airbnb for a number of nights to regroup and decide up Ford’s brother from the airport in Balmaceda (Sky Airline providers Balmaceda Airport – this is the only public airport in the middle of Carretera Austral).
  • Notes: Coyhaique is the largest city in the entire region, with around 50,000 inhabitants. It is a good place to restock groceries, take a break, eat scorching meals and drink craft beer. Go to the vacationer info office near the primary plaza and get MAPS of the area and the Carretera Austral free of charge! There’s a massive grocery store referred to as Unimarc in Coyhaique where you possibly can restock and get some good meals purchasing achieved before continuing on your method.
  • Beer: Cervecería Tropera has scrumptious burgers and good beer, I like to recommend the Brown Ale. (There’s one other location in Puerto Varas referred to as Casa Tropera where you’ll find these beers).
Coyhaique Chile

Wild lupines for days on the street into Coyhaique.

Day 13: Coyhaique to Cerro Castillo

  • MUST-DO: DO NOT MISS Cerro Castillo. The views of the mountains and valley listed here are ridiculous, and I’ve deemed it the best-kept secret in Chilean Patagonia.
  • Activities: Do the hike to the mirador up on the mountain. In case you enter by means of the principal trailhead, it costs 10,000 CLP per individual. We opted to do a much bigger loop (10 miles) and drove about 6 km additional down the street to another entrance in the direction of Camping Neozelandés. We entered from here and hiked up to the mirador, coming down the method that most individuals choose to hike up. We really loved the views and the degree of steepness going in this path. It’s a scree area in the direction of the prime, be cautious with robust winds. Chances are you’ll be stopped to pay 2,000 CLP at a few totally different places alongside the means, where property ownership modifications, but we weren’t, so we didn’t find yourself paying anything in the end.
  • Camp: Senderos Patagonia in Villa Cerro Castillo is the place to be. It has spaces for tent camping, loads of parking for automotive campers, and even hammocks shielded from the wind if you would like to sleep outdoors. The comfortable widespread space has fantastic scorching showers, and a nice guest kitchen and hearth.
  • Notes: For those who choose to do the greater loop as we did, you’ll want to hitch a experience back to your automotive (which is about 6 km away from where you end up). If there isn’t any one at the backside to take you, simply walk again to Senderos Patagonia (a few mile) and you will get a journey from there. The proprietor expenses 6,000 CLP to offer you a journey back to your automotive. The trailheads and the camping are all clearly marked on maps.me.
Cerro Castillo Chile

Cerro Castillo. © Ford Quarterman

Cerro Castillo Hike

Mountaineering again down from Cerro Castillo. © Ford Quarterman

Day 14: Cerro Castillo to Rio Ibañez

  • Activities: Climbing and climbing with views of Lago Basic Carrera and Cerro Castillo in the distance.
  • Camp: Due to individuals we met on the method, we acquired attached with a free place to camp for the night time on some personal land that is being become a climber’s paradise. When it is open to the public, I will update this submit and share details about how to expertise this lovely place.
Aysen Chile

Driving back to Coyhaique from Rio Ibañez. #eyecandy © Ford Quarterman

Day 15: Coyhaique

  • Went again to Coyhaique to decide up our fourth crew member for the rest of our journey down the Carretera Austral.
  • Camp: El Tenting, which is conveniently situated very shut to Cervecería Tropera, you possibly can guess the place we spent our evening.
Fixing Fuses in Patagonia

The other factor we did in Coyhaique was cope with automotive points. Pobre Cielito Lindo has had an extended trip.

Day 16: Coyhaique to Puerto Rio Tranquilo

  • Notes: Rio Tranquilo is the place entry to the well-known Marble Caves is, so we deliberate to get here to camp and do the caves the next day. There isn’t any cellphone service and very little  WiFI anyplace close to here for days.
  • Camp: Before getting to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, we took a left down in the direction of Puerto Sanchez and stopped to wild camp alongside the seashore at Bahía Murta. There are loos you need to use at the tourist office there. Again, find it on iOverlander.
Marble Caves Chile

Exploring the marble caves by boat from Puerto Rio Tranquilo.

Day 17: Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Glacier Exploradores

  • Activities: Marble Caves: You’ll be able to both do a guided kayak tour to the marble caves or take a boat tour from the marina with most tourists. We opted for the boat at 10,000 CLP per individual as opposed to the kayaks at 42,000 CLP per individual. So long as the port is open (extreme weather makes this unpredictable), the boats go several occasions a day, and you’ll find a boat proper in the middle of town at the seashore. For the kayak tours, go to the tourism kiosk on the proper as you enter the middle of city, which also shares an office with El Puesto Expediciones, who can set you up for kayaking. When you take a boat tour, attempt to get Jorge as your information, he utterly makes the tour and could have you close to tears in laughter.
  • Notes: The marble caves are in Lake Basic Carrera, the similar lake on which The North Face founder Doug Tompkins handed away in 2015 due to extreme climate and a tragic kayaking accident. In case you exit on the water your self, please heed climate warnings and be protected.
  • Beer: Across the road from the seashore is Cervecería Arisca, which may or might not have functioning WiFi (not once we have been there), but does have respectable craft beer.
  • Camp: There isn’t a wild tenting in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, so we headed west up the canyon in the direction of Glacier Exploradores, which was a BEAUTIFUL drive. It began to pour rain on us, so we found an abandoned shack alongside the street the place we set up camp inside for the night time and had a very fantastic and comfy journey. We discovered it on iOverlander. If it weren’t pouring rain, we in all probability would have opted for an outside website, but this shack made our experience good and fun. Solely in Patagonia…
Our Cabin in Patagonia

This little shack was such a spotlight for us. All it takes is a campfire, some cards, and just a little (or huge) Chilean pink wine. © Ford Quarterman

Day 18: Glacier Exploradores to Cochrane

  • Activities: Glacier Exploradores: There are two methods to see Glacier Exploradores. You possibly can either hire a guide and do a full-day trek onto the glacier (this is run by CONAF), or you’ll be able to pay Four,000 CLP pp a bit further up the street to do a 15-minute hike up to a mirador (that is privately operated). We opted for the 15-minute hike to the Mirador. For my part and based mostly on my expertise with different Patagonian glaciers, this one is the least lovely. It was very sub-par compared to Perito Moreno, which is an absolute should in Southern Argentina, or even Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine, Chile. What is exclusive about Exploradores is that from the viewpoint it seems very “caught in the act” of receding, abandoning large undulations of the earth.
  • Activities: Heading south, stop at the confluence of Rio Baker and Rio Nef. There’s a trailhead from a parking zone on the aspect of the highway. It only takes about 10 minutes to stroll the 700m down to the confluence and it’s definitely value it, even in the rain. In the event you examine Patagonia Sin Represas, which I mentioned above, you will keep in mind that Rio Baker is considered one of the two principal rivers that have been shielded from the menace of dams. The confluence is robust and delightful.
  • Beer: There is a cervecería in Cochrane where you will discover some local craft beer and even half-functioning WiFi.
  • Notes: Fuel is cheaper in Puerto Tranquilo than Cochrane, refill before you head south.
  • Border Crossings: There’s a police station in Cochrane at the NE corner of the foremost plaza where you’ll be able to go in and ask about which borders are open. This was essential to us in our automotive, and we came upon that the only one open for driving a automotive throughout was simply north of us at Paso Roballos. This meant backtracking no matter what. The normal finish of the Carretera Austral is Villa O’Higgins, however there isn’t any approach to drive into Argentina from there, which suggests coming back to Paso Roballos. Since there’s one other lengthy ferry crossing to get to Villa O’Higgins, we decided to skip it altogether since we’d have to do it all twice. In case you are on foot, you can also make the 22km crossing into El Chaltén by path.
  • Camp: We wild camped at Lake Cochrane about 16km out of town. Discover it on iOverlander. It was a stupendous, secluded lot on the edge of the lakeshore and made for a very nice campsite for the night time. It’s east of Cochrane, so you’ll have to drive back to city to continue south.
Glacier Exploradores

The attention sweet by no means stops on the Carretera Austral. The street by way of the canyon to Glacier Exploradores was jaw-dropping.

Day 19: Cochrane to Caleta Tortel

  • Actions: Cease along the drive for all the pictures, this can be a BEAUTIFUL stretch of the Carretera Austral.
  • MUST-DO: Caleta Tortel is a singular and picturesque village at the edge of a fjord, manufactured from picket boardwalks. It’s value seeing. Park in the roundabout (you possibly can’t drive any additional) and walk all the method to the finish of the boardwalks, about 2-miles a method. Then both flip around and come again or hike up and over the mountain for beautiful views (the path is on maps.me) back to the parking zone.
  • Camp: We opted to head back north after a couple of pretty hours in Tortel, and we wild camped on the edge of Rio Baker at a pleasant little clearing that we found on iOverlander.
  • Notes: Replenish on recent water before you allow Cochrane, the water in the public faucets in Tortel was straight up brown.
Vagabonds in Patagonia

A gaggle of vagabonds vagabonding at Vagabond Bridge over Vagabond River. © Ford Quarterman

Caleta Tortel

Lovely Caleta Tortel, end of the street for this crew on the Carretera Austral. © Ford Quarterman

Day 20: Parque Patagonia

  • Drove back up by way of Cochrane, stopping once more for fuel and groceries and a picnic in the park, then continued north to Parque Patagonia, which is on the similar street as Entrada Baker or Paso Roballos (the border crossing into Argentina).
  • Actions: Lagunas Altas is the extra common hike in Parque Patagonia, but we didn’t have enough time for it, so we continued east to the subsequent campground at Casa Piedra. Here we hiked the Avilés trail, a 10-mile hike which we started at 6 pm and made it back precisely by 10 pm, nonetheless plenty of daylight! This hike was GORGEOUS and I highly advocate it. It’s a loop that follows a river, and if you attain the end you cross a suspension bridge over a gorge and hike again on the other aspect of the river.
  • Camp: There are a couple of totally different campsites for eight,000 CLP pp within Parque Patagonia, which stretches from the Carretera Austral all the method to Argentina. Parque Patagonia is one among the efforts of Tompkins Conservation and it is pristine and delightful, identical to Parque Pumalín up north.
Carretera Austral

The street that finally took us away from the Carretera Austral, into Parque Patagonia, and ultimately Argentina.

Parque Patagonia hike

Sunset hike on the Avilés path in Parque Patagonia. A perfect send-off after mountaineering our approach down the Carretera Austral.

Day 21: Parque Patagonia to El Chaltén, Argentina

  • It was Christmas Eve, and we didn’t need to be in the center of BFN, Argentina for Christmas, so we drove about 600km that day all the approach from Parque Patagonia to El Chaltén, Argentina.
  • Notes: This border at Paso Roballos is completely distant, do not anticipate any providers for a whole lot of kilometers. There are 11km between checkpoints, and the No Man’s Land right here is other-worldly lovely. The customs officers have been very nice on each side and we had no hassle in any respect crossing in Argentina. The subsequent “gas station” (a pump in the middle of nowhere) was $5.36/gallon and had a small convenience retailer and toilet in Bajo Caracoles. That’s the place you hit the famous Argentinian Route 40. The subsequent fuel after that was Gobernador Gregores, and that fuel station has free WiFi and delicious empanadas, also in all probability a must-do by default.
  • Camp: We handled ourselves to a roof for Christmas, staying at the historic Fitz Roy Inn for a couple of nights. It was my third time visiting El Chaltén, and I stayed for the subsequent 10 days. My Guide to El Chaltén is coming quickly.
Road to El Chalten Argentina

Vacation spot: El Chaltén, Argentina. Patagucci Gang signing out from the Carretera Austral. © Ford Quarterman

Related: Ideas for Visiting El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier

Carretera Austral By the Numbers

  • We drove about 2,200 km or around 1,400 miles on and around and forwards and backwards on the Carretera Austral from our begin in Puerto Varas to our crossing into Argentina (map under).
  • We started with 2 individuals (Ford and I) for the first 2 weeks, then added 2 more (Ford’s brother and his girlfriend) for the last 2 weeks. We lovingly referred to as ourselves the #PatagucciGang. Cielito Lindo couldn’t probably pack in anything.
  • My newest passport was issued in July of 2016. Of the 19 complete stamps which are in it, 17 of them are from Chile and Argentina. #askmewhatmyfavoriteplaceisonemoretime
  • There are approach too many individuals with “M” names in Chile. I almost screwed myself out of a lodge reservation throughout peak season as a result of I confirmed the flawed dates with the mistaken “M” over e mail. At the moment, I was in day by day communication with a Marcela, Marcelo, Marilia, Mauricio, Michal, Mary, and TWO Mariajoses, ALL for various reasons, none from the similar place or firm.
  • We slept inside 4 nights, I spent 15 in tents, 2 in tree homes, and 1 in an deserted mountain hut.
  • I had precisely 2 scorching showers, 2 glacial cold showers, numerous baby wipe baths, 1 river tub (yes, with biodegradable soap), and a couple of wood-fired scorching tubs.
  • We took 5 ferries.
  • We ate extra salchicha (scorching dog) than I care to admit or take into consideration.
  • We had only a handful of hours of WiFi or cell service the whole time, none of which was even shut to robust enough to stream Recreation of Thrones. #winterisgone
  • In #Argentina, it took Four days to obtain 20% of an audiobook, which I started listening to, and once I hit the end of the downloaded section, it erased and had to start downloading from the starting another time. #palmtoforehead
  • Low cost wine in Chile (about $Three-Four/bottle) is approach, WAY higher than low cost wine in Argentina, but Argentina is the producer of my new favorite: Torrontes.

Carretera Austral Conclusions

These three weeks on the Carretera Austral have been three of the most adventurous and freed from my life. About halfway by means of, I posted this on Facebook:

“We’ve been wild tenting quite a bit, and there’s no menace of animals right here (a wierd thing for a woman from bear country). Daily is a brand new journey, every new section of the street seems more lovely than the last. The sun has been shining day-after-day for us, and it didn’t take us long to find our new favourite Chilean pink wine.

I feel eliminated down here.

We are so removed from regular civilization. And as you street journey lovers know, all the things modifications when you will have your personal automotive. We’re shifting at our personal tempo, mountaineering where we would like to hike, seeing what we would like to see.

As we speak we went on our third glacier hike to see a hanging glacier. Third! And it was the most mind-blowing yet. The landscapes we have now seen are a few of the most lovely on the planet. I’m so grateful to be experiencing this, even with a lot time utterly off grid. I don’t assume I’ve ever felt so free.”

The raw, wild great thing about Chilean Patagonia has utterly gained me over another time. It has my coronary heart, and that’s what I know. What I don’t know and the query I’m nonetheless asking is, the place can I probably go from right here? What tops the Carretera Austral?

For me, even with the plethora of private and logistical challenges that this trip introduced (because no trip comes with out them), these three crazy lovely weeks shall be a few of the most memorable of all of my travels, for the remainder of my life. I’m greater than grateful to have had the opportunity to expertise the Carretera Austral like this for the first time.

Map of the Carretera Austral

Stop by the vacationer office close to the essential plaza in Coyhaique to get free maps of the Carretera Austral.

Map Carretera Austral

Have you experienced the Carretera Austral? Inform us about your experience in the comments, or ask any questions you may need, I’ll do my greatest to answer them.

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