Patagonia – Self-Drive Tour Along The Carretera Austral

Patagonia - Self-Drive Tour Along The Carretera Austral

Untouched nature, eternal ice, beautiful fjords and endless forests. Patagonia is a real natural spectacle. The fascinating region can be practically explored by rental car along the Carretera Austral. The national parks are great for hiking and escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Adventurers can discover the lakes by kayak and hike on glaciers. Impressive encounters with penguins, sea lions and, with a little luck, whales await animal enthusiasts.

This is an example of one of our tours and should serve as a source of inspiration. Of course, the itinerary including the destinations can be adjusted and we would be happy to work out a tour tailored to your interests and budget.

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Best travel time: November to March

Travel time: 21 days

Travel planning: Spend a few more days around Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile before or after the self-drive tour.

Tip: Do not collect your rental car until you are in Chile. This saves you the additional fee that is incurred if the car is received in one country and returned in another. Many of the roads are also unpaved, so prepare for a bumpy ride.

Day 1: International flight & arrival in Ushuaia
Arrival at the airport of Ushuaia in Argentina. You will be picked up and taken to your hotel.

Day 2: Ushuaia
In the morning you visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Explore the beautiful area with its lakes and mountains on foot. After lunch in the national park, you will board a boat that will take you through the Beagel Channel to Penguin Island. You will encounter sea lions and cormorants along the way. After a leisurely stop at the penguins, it’s back to the hotel.

Day 3: Ushuaia – Punta Arenas
Early in the morning you will travel by bus across the border to Punta Arenas. This bus journey takes around 12 hours. But you will be rewarded with a spectacular landscape and a ferry crossing of the Strait of Magellan. When you arrive in Punta Arenas, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel.

Day 4: Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine
Today your self- drive tour starts. Travel by bus to Puerto Natales, where you will pick up your rental car. Then it’s on to what is probably the most famous national park in Chile.

Day 5: Torres del Paine
You have the whole day to explore the Torres del Paine National Park. Be sure to hike to Laguna Amarga with its famous three rocks.

Day 6: Torres del Paine – El Calafate
The journey continues north to El Calafate. After crossing the border, you will cross the Patagonian steppe. Here you have a good chance of seeing condors, guanacos, rheas and gray foxes.

Day 7: El Calafate
On to the eternal ice! Take the boat to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Exciting ice trekking awaits you there. The guide can tell you a lot of fascinating things about the glacier.

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Day 8: El Calafate
Today another boat tour into the ice awaits you. You’ll travel to the icebergs in the Upsala Canal and the glaciers on the Spegazzini Canal.

Day 9: El Calafate – El Chaltén
After breakfast you travel to El Chaltén by rental car. El Chaltén is known as Argentina’s Tekking Mecca. After your arrival you can start hiking straight away. As a shorter trek, it is recommended to hike to the Miradores Los Condores y Las Aguilas. There you have a wonderful panoramic view of El Chaltén.

Day 10: El Chaltén
Today is at your leisure. There are various trekking options. Recommended is z. B. the trek to the Laguna de los Tres at the foot of the Fitz Roys.

Day 11: El Chaltén – Lago Posadas
Today you drive further north to Lago Posadas. Some estancias, herds of cattle and birds cross the path that is quite a long today. A lonely landscape awaits you: dry pampas, small salt lakes and, when visibility is good, a view of the imposing mountain range of San Lorenzo.

Day 12: Lago Posadas – Lago General Carrera
The journey continues to Lago General Carrera. To do this, you cross the Chilean border again. The lake is the second largest in South America and extends from Chile to Argentina, where it is called Lago Buenos Aires.

Day 13: Lago General Carrera
Explore the lake today. Go on a boat tour to the beautiful marble caves. The adventures can also explore the caves on their own by kayak.

Day 14: Lago General Carrera – Coyhaique
Today you travel on to Coyhaique. You drive past Cerro Castillo National Park, swampy lagoons and moorland. Coyhaique is a small town with lots of restaurants. The square in the city center is a great place to relax and watch the hustle and bustle.

Day 15: Coyhaique – Puyuhuapi
In the morning you travel to Puyuhuapi by rental car. The journey leads over one of the highest passes on the Carretera Austral. Here the southern Patagonian mountain landscape gives way and gives way to the impenetrable rainforests. Your destination today is Puyuhuapi – an ideal starting point for the Queulat National Park.

Day 16: Puyuhuapi
Explore the Queulat National Park. Here you will find breathtaking fjords, hanging glaciers and thundering waterfalls. The park is great for kayaking and rafting. Alternatively, you can relax in the hot thermal baths in the area.

Day 17: Puyuhuapi – Chaitén – Caleta Gonzalo
After breakfast you travel further north with your rental car. You drive through the town of La Junta and have a wonderful view of turquoise rivers and lakes on the way. Once in Chaitén, take the ferry to Caleta Gonzalo.

Day 18: Caleta Gonzalo – Hornopirén
Today another spectacular national park awaits you. The Pumalin National Park is Chile’s main attraction in ecotourism. Thanks to the nature reserve, the once threatened puma and the Patagonian cypress population were able to recover here. From Pumalin National Park you take the ferry to Hornopirén.

Day 19: Hornopirén – Puerto Varas
The journey continues to Puerto Varas. The small town lies on the shores of Llanquihue Lake and exudes a lot of charm. From Puerto Varas it is worth visiting the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and the Osorno volcano. Round off the last day of your self-drive tour here before you return your rental car in the evening.

Day 20: Puerto Varas – Puerto Montt – Chiloé – Puerto Montt
In the morning you drive to Puerto Montt and deposit your luggage at the hotel. Then it goes by ferry to the island of Chiloé. During a tour of the island, discover the picturesque stilt houses, colored houses and the culture of the Chilots. After a typical lunch, continue to see the penguins in front of Puñihuil. In the evening, take the ferry back to Puerto Montt and your hotel.

Day 21: Puerto Montt – journey home
Even the best vacation comes to an end. Today it is time to say goodbye to Patagonia. You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport. You will then take the return flight home. Or how about an extension in the north of Chile?

Patagonia - Self-Drive Tour Along The Carretera Austral