Travel along the Carretera Austral or around Lake Llanquihue on our bikes.
DO YOU WANT A WEEK OR A WHOLE MONTH RIDE?
Then you definitely have to check these destinations!
Cycling the carretera austral
The Carretera Austral runs officially from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins.
The route is 1200 kilometres long, has approximately 60% gravel road and covers the regions of Los Lagos and Aysén. Features glaciers, dense rainforest, a network of fjords and Chile’s largest lake: Lago General Carrera.
The Construction of the Carretera Austral (officially named Ruta 7) began in 1976, during the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, and was completed in 2003.
The highway, which has been slowly being paved, goes from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins, connecting some of Chile’s most remote communities, connected by different ferries.
Every corner is a sight to behold, but there are some highlights along Carretera Austral.
Sometimes you have to get off the road, those distances are worth it. From north to south, the most important sights are:
– The densely forested of Pumalin Park,
– The hanging glacier Ventisquero,
– A hike to the peaks of mountain Cerro Castillo, a visit to the most southern ice cab of the world.
– A canoe trip through the Marble caves of Puerto Tranquilo
– The water village of Tortel.
– The border crossing from Villa O’Higgins to Argentina.
Distances and time
Distances are of course personal, but we advise to take the time.
Bicycle fanatic or not, the route has a number of very steep peaks and there are still more than 500 kilometres of unpaved road.
Moreover, it is so nice that it is a shame to race past it.
A famous saying in Patagonia says “Quien se apura en la Patagonia, pierde su tiempo” (Whoever goes too fast in Patagonia, wastes his time).
Every day you will cycle an average of 60 kilometres and you should take an extra day at each highlight to visit.
In total you need between 24 – 30 days to get from the beginning in Puerto Varas to the end at Villa O Higgins.
The direction north-south is the most popular and is nice to meet other travel companions, usually the wind direction works in your favour.
The season is pretty important, the sunniest months are from November to March, you have a chance of good weather.
Most of the Carretera Austral is classified as a oceanic climate, with cool, moderate temperatures and frequent rains, be prepared for rain around Puyuhuapi, Puerto Aysén, and Caleta Tortel.
A tent, complete camping equipment and a bit of outdoor ambiance are a must.
When arriving to a village and if you prefer a bit of comfort, you will find a hostales, the prices may vary, but they are between $ 15,000 and $20,000 Chilean pesos per person per night.
The food slowly becomes more expensive (from north to south) and more limited. The shops are very small and the supply is less, water is pure and safe from natural water sources.
ATMs on the route can be found in Coyhaique, Cochrane, but not in Villa O’Higgins so be prepared.
Round trip Lake Llanquihue – 3 days
In its coasts are the picturesque cities of Puerto Varas, Ensenada, Las Cascadas, Puerto Clocker, Puerto Octay, Frutillar and Llanquihue, famous for the great German influence in its architecture and particularly for the interesting events that take place on summer.
Departing from Puerto Varas, on route 225 heading to Ensenada on east direction, you will quickly reach the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, Passing through the beaches Hermosa and Niklitschek, Punta Cabras and Poza Loreley. In the middle of this paradisiacal refuge of nature is the Green Lagoon, with its intense green color, surrounded by trees and native vegetation, it is a point to forget all the worries and prepare to enjoy what is coming, the majestic view of the Osorno volcano, considered by many geologists as the most perfect volcano in the world, due to its conical shape.
Continuing the journey along the steep bank, you will soon leave behind the national park and enter the area of Las Cascadas, the lush native vegetation is wonderful. At this point, the immensity of the Osorno volcano is appreciated in all its splendor. The main attraction of this site are its beautiful waterfalls.
You will arrive later at El Maitén beach, where you can see a very old chapel with a plaque that recalls the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of German settlers in these areas.
A few kilometers further north is Puerto Octay, a little town full of German architecture, the Sentinel Bay has one of the best views of the area.
If you continue the tour around the lake, now heading south, along a paved road, the panoramic view is unforgettable, as you will< can see three volcanoes, Osorno, Puntiagudo and Calbuco.
Reaching Frutillar with German-style buildings, a perfect place to taste the
delicious German kuchens on most of the restaurants that are on the coastal avenue.
Every year between January 27 and February 5 a classical music festival takes place, an occasion in which the city dresses up to welcome tourists from all over the world who come to enjoy the show.
You will continue along the coastal road to the town of Llanquihue, which receives the name of the lake, and then back to Puerto Varas, where your journey began.