- The ultimate South America road trip: Drive on a 4WD the Carretera Austral, surrounded by hanging glaciers, lush green forests and breathtaking mountain scenery
- Visit by kayak or a small boat the blue and turquoise sparkling “Capilla de marmol” (marble chapel) nearby Puerto Tranquilo or enjoy a rafting tour on the torrent Rio Baker
- Discover one of Patagonia’s best kept secret, the Exploradores valley with its countless waterfalls, glaciers an unclimbed granite walls and peaks
- Hike on a hidden trail to the remote Leones lake and glacier and explore the Patagonian Moon valley in Jeinimeni National Reserve
- Food & Culture: Meet locals and be inspired by typical Patagonian food like empanada, pastel de choclo, cazuela & lamb BBQ
- Hike through ancient forest to the Yelcho Glacier, undertake a kayak trip in the Queulat National Park and drink Mate tea with a tropero (cattle driver)
8 days from/to Balmaceda
- self-drive tour
- nature adventure
- 7 nights hotel / guesthouse
- 7 x breakfast
from 1.390 USD
Aysén is a paradise for outdoor adventurers, because the offbeat landscapes of Northern Patagonia offer many possibilities for travelers:
With its spectacular glaciers, verdant forests and silent fjords, the sparsely populated region of Aysén is our top recommendation for anyone interested in hiking, trekking, rafting, kayaking, biking, ice hiking or almost any other kind of outdoor adventure. Between activities, we’ll invite you to stop for mate tea with a real tropero (cattle driver) or fuel up with a traditional cordero or ternera al palo (lamb or beef barbecue) – experiences you’ll never forget.
A major highlight of the Aysén region is the Carretera Austral. This is one of the most exciting roads in the world, stretching south for almost 800 miles from Patagonia’s Lake District to Villa O’Higgins. We’ll lead you deep into humid rainforests filled with thriving ferns and gigantic nalca plants, and bring them face-to-face with looming glaciers of awe-inspiring proportions.
This unique self-drive tour takes you along Chile's largest lake, Lago General Carrera. Explore the unique natural wonders of this still untouched region, for example the lake´s impressive surreal marble caves or the mighty Baker River. Cerro Castillo and Patagonia National Parks entice with spectacular hikes.
Activity level 2 – Moderate – Suitable for people who are reasonably fit and hike at least once a month. Participants should be able to walk with their daypack (15-20 lbs) 4-8 hours a day with some strenuous ascents and descents. The equipment for your belongings must be carried by you throughout the duration of the trip day (rain gear, fleece or light down jacket, trekking poles, gloves, hat, camera, lunch and water for the day, and also gear for good weather conditions).
Day 1-2: Balmaceda - Villa Cerro Castillo - Cerro Castillo National Park
Day 1: Balmaceda – Villa Cerro Castillo (about 1 h drive – 72 km/45 mi)
The journey begins at Balmeceda Airport in Southern Chile´s Aysén province. After picking up your rental car, travel south on the Carretera Austral that traverses Chile´s remote south. It doesn’t take long before you get to enjoy spectacular views of the Cerro Castillo mountain range on the right-hand side.
Overnight at a 3*-hotel in Villa Cerro Castillo. (-/-/-)
Day 2: Cerro Castillo National Park
Recommended hike: 7-8 h medium difficulty /15 km (9 mi) length / 1,061 m (3,481 ft) elevation
Cerro Castillo National Park has become a new attractive hiking destination over the past few years. There are various options; we recommend the ascent to the "Laguna" of the Cerro Castillo mountain massif. This can easily be done on your own, as the hiking trail is always well marked. Enjoy wonderful views of the wide valley, the mountains and the village. Past imposing glaciers, after three to four hours you reach the lagoon with the majestic peaks of the Cerro Castillo in the background. Take your time to enjoy the incredible surroundings, before descending the same way.
Overnight at a 3*-hotel in Villa Cerro Castillo. (B/-/-)
Day 3-4: Villa Cerro Castillo - Puerto Guadal - Chile Chico
Day 3: Villa Cerro Castillo - Puerto Guadal (about 4 h drive - 180 km/112 mi)
Today, your trip continues south on the Carretera Austral. Follow the course of the Murta River until it finally flows into Chile's largest lake, Lago General Carrera, whose blue-green glacier water is visible from far away. Near Puerto Rio Tranquilo, we recommend a visit to the Marble Caves, a unique geological formation made mostly of marble on the pristine shores of the lake. The rock formation "Capilla de Mármol" (Marble Chapel) is one of its highlights. Afterwards the journey continues along the shore until you reach Puerto Guadal.
Overnight at a 3*-hotel in Puerto Guadal. (B/-/-)
Day 4: Puerto Guadal - Chile Chico (2-3 h drive - 105 km/65 mi)
In Puerto Guadal, the "Fossil Mountain" and the impressive waterfall Los Maquis are worth a visit. Later on, continue your journey along the southern shore of Lago General Carrera to the small village of Chile Chico, near the Argentine border. Its mild microclimate allows for the cultivation of cherries and other fruits, which is why it is also called the Chilean "sun city".
Overnight at a 3*-cabin in Chile Chico. (B/-/-)
Day 5-6: Patagonia National Park (formerly Reserva Jeinimeni) - Chile Chico - Puerto Bertrand
Day 5: Patagonia National Park
Recommended hike: 4-5 h medium difficulty / 7.4 km (4.6 mi) length
Discover Patagonia´s breathtaking landscape on a unique hike in the recently opened Patagonia National Park (formerly Reserva Jeinimeni). The 7.4 km (4.6 mi) long circular trail of medium difficulty starts about one hour from Chile Chico and takes at least 4 to 5 hours to complete. Marvel at the 40 m (130 ft) high freestanding rock 'Piedra Clavada' in the middle of the pampa and discover the cave 'Cueva de las Manos' with countless old wall paintings, several thousand years of age, one of the most important cultural legacies of this region. The colorful rock formations of Valle Lunar inevitably remind of a lunar landscape. On the way, you are likely to encounter wild guanacos and condors, if you´re lucky even pumas.
Overnight at a 3*-cabin in Chile Chico. (B/-/-)
Day 6: Chile Chico - Puerto Bertrand (3-4 h drive - 130 km/80 mi)
Drive back along the southern shore of the lake to the village of Puerto Bertrand, where you stay amid beautiful scenery near the eponymous lake. It is the source of the Baker, one of Chile´s mightiest rivers, which flows together with the Neff about 20 km (12 mi) further south. This spectacular confluence is definitely worth a detour.
Overnight at a 3*-hotel in Puerto Bertrand. (B/-/-)
Day 7-8: Puerto Bertrand - Coyhaique - Balmaceda
Day 7: Puerto Bertrand - Coyhaique (5-6 h drive - 285 km/177 mi)
Today´s journey on the Carretera Austral leads back north to Coyhaique, the largest city in the region. Back in "civilization", there are good options for restaurant visits and shopping.
Overnight at a 2-3*-hotel in Coyhaique. (B/-/-)
Day 8: Coyhaique - Balmaceda (1 h - 57 km/35 mi)
Drop off your rental car at Balmaceda Airport. From here you can continue your trip to another region of Chile, or fly back home via Santiago. (B/-/-)
- Accommodation: 7 nights in the mentioned middle class accommodations, rooms with private bathroom
- Meals: 7 x breakfast
- 8 days rental car (SUV 4x4) from/to Balmaceda Airport including CDW with 240,00 USD deductible, unlimited mileage
- Rental car category F2 (JEEP NISSAN XTRAIL AUTOMATIC or similar)
- Airport service charge
- Programmed GPS
- 24 h emergency contact
- Single supplement: extra charge p.p. $360 USD
- Meals and beverages not indicated on the itinerary
- Optional trips
- Local payments
- International and domestic airfare
- Travel insurance is not included in this tour. Travel insurance is mandatory and must be purchased prior to the start of the trip.