EASY PATAGONIA

16 days / 15 nights

This 16-day guided self-drive tour takes you through the most beautiful landscapes of Patagonia while travelling in a small group. You drive independently in a rental car while an expert English-speaking tour guide gives you a daily briefing on the respective route. A pre-programmed GPS facilitates orientation.

This novel way of travel allows you a certain degree of independent planning, while at the same time being accompanied by an expert who knows the local customs well.

After pick-up at Santiago Airport, you are taken to your hotel in the center. Here you meet your fellow travelers for the next two weeks and are welcomed with Chile´s national drink, the Pisco Sour. We then embark on a city tour to get a glimpse of this metropolitan city. Amongst others, we visit the historic city center, the market, the cathedral and the main square (Plaza de Armas). San Cristobal Hill rewards us with stunning views of the city and the impressive Andes Mountains – a constant companion during our time in Chile.

Overnight in Santiago.

After breakfast, a transfer takes us back to the airport in order to board a southbound flight to the capital of the Lake District, Puerto Montt. Our tour guide welcomes us upon arrival and accompanies us to nearby lakeside town Puerto Varas, where we pick up our rental cars.

Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)

Today we leave for our first trip in the Chilean Lake District. On one of Chile’s most beautiful scenic roads along Llanquihue Lake, we head to the majestic Osorno Volcano. The road takes us up to its ski center; from here we enjoy impressive views of the surrounding landscape of lakes and volcanoes.
Later on, there is still time for a visit to All Saints Lake (Todos los Santos) and the Petrohué River Rapids.

Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)

Today we get up early for our journey southwards on the Carretera Austral, the partially unpaved and scenic extension of the Chilean Pan-American Highway. We cross the rugged Patagonian fjords on several ferry trips that take us through untouched landscapes. Lush green vegetation accompanies us on both sides of the road while we cross Pumalin National Park. Eventually we reach Chaitén, a small town under reconstruction after the unexpected eruption of the eponymous volcano in 2008. The locals tell us about the enormous efforts of reconstruction after being able to return to their village. In the early evening, we arrive at our beautifully situated accommodation on the shores of Yelcho Lake.

Overnight at Yelcho Lake. (B)

Today we continue your journey on the Carretera Austral. The road penetrates deep into the untouched wilderness, along the turquoise-blue Frío River, glacier-covered mountain ranges, dreamy lakes and picturesque waterfalls. It is not far before we reach our cozy family hotel in the village of La Junta.

Overnight in La Junta. (B)

From La Junta it is only a short drive to Queulat National Park, where you can choose to do a 3-hour hike to the viewpoint of the hanging glacier “Ventisquero Colgante” and its waterfall.
The journey then continues along the lush wild vegetation of the Carretera Austral southward. Huge Nalca plants and gigantic ferns cover the side of the road; dense forests, quiet fjords and snow-capped peaks form a fabulous primal landscape. The road winds in tight serpentines toward one of the highest passes of the Carretera Austral and drops abruptly until reaching the raging Rio Cisnes (the Swan River). Here, the impenetrable, evergreen rain forests clear and make room for the harsh southern Patagonian mountain landscape. Through the wild and romantic valley of the Simpson River, we reach Coyhaique, the capital of the Aysen region.

Overnight in Coyhaique. (B)

After leaving Coyhaique, the road leads through an increasingly barren steppe landscape and crosses a deep valley, whose rock face shimmers in a variety of colors. The “Devil´s Mountain Pass”, offers a stunning panorama of the Cerro Castillo massif and up to the summits and glaciers of the northern ice field. In 1990, the Hudson volcano erupted here, suffocating the vegetation with its ash rain, damaging rivers and leaving a desolate ghost valley full of dead trees and vast marshes. After passing the Rio Murta Valley, endless southern beech forests cover the area. Chile´s largest lake, General Carrera Lake, is already visible at a distance. Its blue-green glacial water surface and often gigantic waves are framed by the bare, reddish-colored Pampa hills, massive ice fields and the radiant sky. We´ll spend the next two nights on its shore in the village of Puerto Río Tranquilo.

Overnight in Puerto Río Tranquilo. (B)

Today you have the possibility to visit the Exploradores Glacier. The access road offers impressive views on different glaciers, descending from the huge ice field San Valentin.

Overnight in Puerto Río Tranquilo. (B)

Along Lake General Carrera we approach the border with Argentina. The climate changes slowly, and transforms our surroundings into a drier steppe landscape. We pass the town of Chile Chico, which is also called the Chilean “Sun City” because of its surprisingly mild climate that allows the cultivation of cherries and other fruits. Shortly after crossing the border with Argentina, we reach the village of Perito Moreno.

Overnight in Perito Moreno. (B)

Today we reach the legendary Ruta 40, which leads south through the seemingly endless steppe landscape of Argentine Patagonia. The milky-turquoise, glacier-melt water of Cardiel Lake adds color to the arid and monotone, yet for the same reason impressive landscape. Eventually we leave Ruta 40 and drive westwards towards the Andes Mountain Range. On clear days, you will soon be able to see the fantastic rock formations of the Fitz Roy massif, before reaching the town of El Chaltén.

Overnight in El Chaltén. (B)

The Fitz Roy Massif is world-known among extreme mountaineers for its treacherous ice walls, unpredictable winds and ever-changing weather. Trekking enthusiasts from all over the world hike its many trails in the Los Glaciares National Park. We are no exception; today you have the possibility to embark on an exploration of the spectacular mountain scenery during an easy hike of several hours.

Overnight in El Chaltén. (B)

Today we drive past the emerald-green Viedma Lake through the vast expanses of the Argentine pampa to El Calafate on Argentino Lake. Immediately after arrival, we continue on to Perito Moreno Glacier. At the entrance to Los Glaciares National Park, the treeless pampa transforms almost seamlessly into dense southern forests. The southern arm of Argentino Lake appears turquoise compared to the milky gray walls of the southern ice fields. Floating icebergs testify the proximity of one of the most powerful natural events in the world; with unimaginable force, the Perito Moreno Glacier moves enormous masses of ice from the continental ice field down into the valley, which then crash thunderously from its white-blue walls into the lake. The icy river moves up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) a day, making it one of the few growing glaciers in the world. You can watch this magnificent spectacle up close from on a viewing platform.

Overnight in El Calafate. (B)

On Ruta 40, we cross the Argentine pampas one last time on our way to the Chilean border. Back in Chile, we head to Torres del Paine National Park, another highlight of our trip. Herds of guanacos on a gently undulating steppe landscape, rugged red-gray rock massifs, granite towers, milky-green shining lakes and gleaming white ice fields combine to form a magnificent panorama.

Overnight at a estancia in Torres del Paine. (B)

Today is at leisure for trips through Torres del Paine National Park. Your guide will highlight various options and destinations, allowing you to choose whatever suits you best. In the evening, we meet again in our hotel to share our experiences of the trip and reminisce during a farewell dinner.

Overnight at a estancia in Torres del Paine. (B)

Today´s destination is Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost city. On the way, we visit the nearby cave of Milodon. The German colonist Eberhard found the remains of the primitive “Milodon” animal, whose life-sized statue can be visited. In a short drive through Punta Arenas you can see the historic Strait of Magellan, separating the mainland from Tierra del Fuego. If the weather permits, you can even see the island on the horizon.

Overnigh in Punta Arenas. (B)

Finally, it is time to say goodbye to your fellow travelers and tour guide. The last ride of the journey leads to the airport of Punta Arenas, where you drop off your rental car. You can choose to continue your journey from Punta Arenas or take a flight back home via Santiago. (B)

Close Menu