16 days / 15 nights
A 16-day, small group, guided trip through the most beautiful landscapes of Patagonia. You will travel independently in your rental car (price included), while a knowledgeable guide instructs the participants on the daily tour locations.
This is a new kind of Patagonia travel, that allows individually chosen stops, accompanied by an expert who knows the local areas and customs very well.
At the international airport in Santiago, Chile, you will be picked up by your English speaking tour guide and transfered to your hotel in the center of Santiago. We will welcome you with the national drink of Chile, the Pisco Sour. During the city tour you will get to know the historic old town, the cathedral and the Plaza de Armas.
1 Night at Hotel Boutique Carmenere.
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport and fly to the capital of the Lake region, Puerto Montt. Here your tour guide will welcome you. We continue with a short drive to Puerto Varas where we pick up the rental car.
2 Nights at Hotel Casa Kalfu
Approximately 128 km – round trip; asphalted roads.
After a good breakfast, we will start our first tour of the Chilean Lake District. Along one of Chile’s most beautiful scenic roads, we head to the majestic Osorno volcano on Lake Llanquihue. The road takes you up to the ski center; from there you will have an impressive view of the lake and surrounding volcanic landscape.
Later on we will visit the Lake Todos los Santos and the Petrohue waterfalls.
Approximately 360 km, 5-6 h Drive on paved and gravel roads plus ferry crossings.
Enjoy the ferry system of southern Chile after your drive to Hornopiren and then another ferry ride from Caleta Gonzalo to Lake Yelcho and your accomodations for the evening.
Very early next morning you leave for more of the south, with several ferry crossings on the way to the Carretera Austral. Along the way you will travel through completely untouched landscapes of the new Pumalin National Park on your way to Chaiten, a small town under reconstruction after the eruption of the eponymous volcano in 2008. We discover the preserved and the destroyed part of the village, and learn a lot about the enormous efforts of reconstruction by the locals after their return. In the early evening we arrive at our beautifully situated accommodations on Lake Yelcho.
1 Night at Hotel Yelcho
About 126 km, 3-4 hours drive
Mainly gravel road with possible short construction site stops (road is in the process of asphalting)
Today you continue your journey on the famous Carretera Austral, the partly unpaved and attractive extension of the Chilean Pan American Highway. The rustic gravel road penetrates deep into the untouched wilderness, along the turquoise-blue “Frío“ River, glacier-covered mountain ranges, dreamy lakes and picturesque waterfalls. You reach your cozy family hotel in the La Junta village.
1 Night at Hotel Espacio y Tiempo
Approximately 253 km, 5 hours drive
First about 120 km mainly gravel road, from Lago Aguirre tarred to Coyhaique
After a short drive there is the possibility of a 3-hour hike, which will lead you through the Queulat National Park, arriving at a vantage point where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the hanging glacier “Ventisquero Colgante” and its waterfall.
Next, the journey continues along the lush wild vegetation of the Carretera Austral southward. Huge Nalca (burdock) plants and gigantic ferns decorate the roadside, dense forests, quiet fjords and snow-capped peaks that 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 we reach 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 you reach the capital of the Aysen region: Coyhaique.
1 Night at Hotel Belisario Jara
Approximately 277 km, 5-6 h drive.
First 80 km are tarred, then there is a good but winding gravel road for 100 km; from Bahia Murta there are tarred 64 kms, last 10 km are graveled.
Today you leave Coyhaique, driving through an increasingly barren steppe landscape and cross a deep valley whose rocks shimmer in a variety of colors. At the “Devilcross”, a fabulous panorama opens onto the massif, Cerro Castillo (Castle Mountain) and up to the summits and glaciers of the northern ice fields. 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. In the Rio Murta Valley begins the endless southern beech forests and from afar you can see the shining turquoise waters of Lake General Carrera. Framed by the bare, reddish shimmering hills of the Pampa, the massive massifs of the ice fields and a radiant sky, this gigantic lake will be before us with its ever-changing, blue-green glacial water surface and its often gigantic waves.
2 Nights at Hotel El Puesto
Today you can visit the Exploradores Glacier and on the way have impressive views of different glaciers and the foothills of Mount San Valentín, the highest peak in the Patagonian Andes, rising to an elevation of 4,035 meters with 5 alpine-type glaciers.
Approximately 158 km, 4-5 hours drive
To the border there are 104 km of winding gravel road. From “Los Antiguos“ on the road is tarred.
Along the Lake General Carrera you will approach the border with Argentina (east of Chile Chico). The climate changes and here we reach a drier steppe landscape. “Chile Chico“ is also referred as the Chilean “Sun City” because of its surprisingly mild climate in which cherries and other fruits are planted. Shortly after crossing the border we reach the village of Perito Moreno.
1 Night at Hotel Chacra Kaiken
699 km, 8-9 h ride
The first section of the road is completely tarred to Gobernador Gregores and on to Lake Cardiel; then another 70 km is a good gravel road, from there over Tres Lagos the road is again all tarred.
Today you reach the legendary Ruta 40, which takes you further and further south through the endless steppe landscape of the Argentine Patagonia. Cardiel Lake, with its milky-turquoise, glacier-melt water, adds color to the arid landscape, which is so impressive because it breaks the monotony. From Ruta 40 you approach the Andes again, and weather permitting, will soon see the fantastic rock formations of the Fitz Roy massif. You will reach the wind-blown town of “El Chalten“.
2 Nights at Hosteria El Pilar
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 hiking trails in the Los Glaciares National Park. You will also explore the spectacular mountain scenery after breakfast in a several-hour, easy hike.
About 215 km, 2.5 hours drive to Calafate
The road is completely tarred and continues on to the national park 78 km, 1 h drive
Today you will drive past the emerald-green Viedma Lake through the vast expanses of the Argentine pampa to Calafate on Argentino Lake.
Immediately afterward continue on toward Perito Moreno Glacier. At the entrance to the Los Glaciares National Park, the treeless pampa is transformed almost seamlessly into dense southern forests. The southern arm of Lake Argentino appears turquoise against the milky gray walls of the southern ice fields. Occasionally, floating icebergs testify the proximity of one of the most powerful natural events in the world. The Perito Moreno glacier presses enormous masses of ice from the continental ice fields down into the valley with unimaginable force, which crash thunderously from the white-blue walls into the lake. The icy river moves up to 2 meters a day, making it one of the few growing glaciers in the world. You will watch this magnificent spectacle from a platform, up close.
1 Night at Hotel Sierra Nevada
Approx. 340 km, 6-8 hours drive (depending on the delay at the border crossing)
The recommended route is via Esperenza tarred road to the border station. Shortly after the border the route changes to a good gravel road.
On the Ruta 40, you cross the Argentine pampas one last time on our way to the Chilean border. Here you head toward the Torres del Paine National Park, which is one of the highlights of your 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.
Accommodation is in a cozy, family-run hotel on the edge of the national park.
2 Nights at the Hosteria Mirador del Payne
Today, the entire day is available for trips through the national park. The tour guide will highlight various options and goals in the park, and everyone can choose the one that suits them best.
In the evening everyone meets again in the hotel to share the experiences of the trip and reminisce during the farewell dinner.
About 310 km, 5 hours drive
First section of the road just before Cerro Castillo it is graveled. From there to Punta Arenas it is tarred.
Your destination today is Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost major city. On the way there you visit the nearby cave of Milodon. The German colonist Eberhard found the remains of a primitive animal “Milodon” whose natural size statue can be visited. In a short drive through Punta Arenas you can see the historic Strait of Magellan, which separates the mainland from Tierra del Fuego. Weather permitting you can even see the island on the horizon.
The last night will be in one of the most beautiful and authentic accommodations in the city.
1 night at Hotel La Yegua Loca
Sadly, the tour ends here with the drive to the airport to return the rental car. The 3.5 hour flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago will fly over the wonderful landscapes you enjoyed during your Easy Patagonia Tour.