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This tour gives you the chance to ride the entire Carretera Austral, offering you something new every day. You will have the chance to truly immerse yourself in Patagonia. You will ride through and visit seven national parks and reserves. The reserves are Parque Pumalin, Parque Nacional Corcovado, Parque Nacional Queulat, Reserve Nacional Rio Simpson, Reserve Nacional Cerro Castillo, Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, and Parque Patagonia. The diverse mix of riding and Chilean Patagonia adventures along with the cultural immersion makes this tour a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
You will be accommodated in the best lodges and cabins in Hornopirén, Yelcho Lake, Futaleufú, Coyhaique, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, O’Higgins, Puerto Guadal, Puerto Aysen, and Chaiten.
The starting day of the tour includes spending the morning prepping the bikes and having a meeting to cover the route, have a safety discussion, and answer any last minute questions about the ride. After you are all set, you will take a back road ride around the Reloncaví Estuary to meet up with the Carretera Austral and ride due south to the small coastal town of Hornopirén where you will stay for the night and prepare for the next day's ferry ride. This is a great way to ease into the splendor of Patagonia and prepare ourselves for the amazing ride that is the Carretera Austral.
In Hornopiren, you will board a ferry for a three-hour trip south along the coast. You'll sail through a beautiful fjord bordering the northern section of Parque Pumalin (founded by the U.S. entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins) and arrive at the port of Caleta Gonzalo. From there, you will ride through Parque Pumalin, where you'll have an opportunity to see 3000-year-old, giant Alerce trees; you'll take a short break from riding to admire the forest. From there, you will pass through the town of Chaiten. Just south of Chaiten, you will ride to Lago Yelcho for the first night.
Leaving Lago Yelcho, you will ride deeper into Patagonia. The road is paved for this section with nice direction and elevation changes, making for a scenic and exciting ride. You will ride adjacent to Parque Nacional Corcovado down to the small town of Villa Santa Lucia. It is here you will turn off the Carretera Austral for the day and ride into the Andes Mountains towards the world famous Futaleufú River. This all-dirt road section takes you into a very rural and beautiful part of Patagonia. You will pass the far side of Lago Yelcho with a dramatic view of the lake and mountains. You will again turn left towards the Futaleufú River and the town of Futaleufú, where you will stay for the night and prepare for the next day of rafting.
Waking up early to team up with local guides, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to raft the class 4 and 5 rapids of the Futaleufú River. This world-famous whitewater river is a beautiful example of Patagonia’s natural wonders and an opportunity to experience a unique and exciting off-bike activity found only here in the Chilean Patagonia. You will have the option for a half-day or full-day of rafting. With a good meal after rafting and some rest in the evening, you will prepare to continue your journey south.
Leaving the Futaleufú is bittersweet. Your route back to the Carretera Austral is the same road you came in on, but after that, you will head south once again. The route you'll take offers some of the most diverse and beautiful riding opportunities that you'll experience. You will ride into the most populated city in the Aysen Region, but before that, you ride through one of the most remote areas. Leaving Parque Nacional Corcovado, you will ride down to Puyuhuapi and into Parque Nacional Queulat, just south of town, the Queulat Hanging Glacier. The glacier sits atop a rocky cliff with waterfalls flowing down into the lake below. It’s a must-see sight and worth the stop. After this, you will continue your ride through three more Nacional Reserves and through a remote and long stretch of the Carretera Austral down to the main city of Coyhaique, where you will stay for the night.
From Coyhaique, you will ride into the Reserve Nacional Cerro Castillo. This impressive rock formation will be visible off to the west, high in the mountains above the Carretera Austral. After passing the Cordillera Castillo, you will ride into a remote and long stretch of road to your ultimate destination of the day. The small town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo on the shores of the largest lake in Chile, Lago General Carrera, will be your stop for the night. This area has many attractions, one of which is the Marble Caves. These marble caves have been carved out from thousands of years of waves washing against them. With stunning blue colors reflecting from the water, they are not to be missed. Accessed only by boat, you will take a 30-minute boat tour out to these natural wonders of the Chilean Patagonia.
Every day is a new adventure on this trip. As you ride towards the end of this world-famous southern road to O’Higgins, you will pass the Rio Baker and Parque Patagonia. Parque Patagonia offers views of wild guanacos and other animals found this far south of the world, while the Rio Baker, flowing from Lago General Carrera into the ocean, shows off its amazing blue colors. With a longer riding day, you will once again take a short ferry across the fjord Estero Mitchell. With the last 100 kilometers stretch in Villa O’Higgins, you can give yourself a small celebration because you have just made it to the end of the Carretera Austral and earned your rest day.
While this is technically a "rest day," it doesn't mean that you don't have anything planned for you to experience! Like the last rest day, you have options to see the Campo de Hielo Sur (Southern Icefield of Chile). This giant ice field is teaming with glaciers. You will have the option to take a boat tour to see the O’Higgins Glacier or a plane flight to view the entire ice field from above. The pilot for the plane tour is a personal friend of Moto Patagonia and an experienced bush pilot with many years flying in Patagonia. Either tour you choose will be an amazing opportunity to make unique and lasting memories.
After your rest day, it’s time to start riding again and experience new stops along the route back north. You will ride back towards Lago General Carrera, stopping in the small coastal town of Tortel, where the Rio Baker flows into the ocean. Here, you can witness how this old logging town lives with no roads and no cars. This walk-only town has miles of wooden walkways and water taxis and its people live a different style of life. From Tortel, you will ride through Cochrane to the southern edge of Lago General Carrera and on to Puerto Guadal for the night.
One of the long riding days will have you meandering through the beautiful southern section of the Austral road with a new viewpoint of this stunning area. Leaving Lago General Carrera, you will ride back through Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo leaving the dirt roads behind for paved roads. Riding towards the city of Coyhaique. After passing though Coyhaique, you will turn towards the coast and ride down to the ocean into Puerto Aysen for the night.
While covering the same ground is sometimes not fun, this trip is the exception. The Carretera Austral offers so many viewpoints and overwhelming sights that riding back north will be like riding a whole new road. This long riding day has you passing some familiar sections of road but with a whole new view. Leaving Aysen, you will aim for your destination of Chaiten but with a relaxed pace and no agenda. Riding through six national parks and reserves on a mix of dirt and paved roads, you will have more than enough sights and stops to make this a fun and inspiring day of riding. After having covered so much ground, you will take your time and enjoy the last days of this amazing trip.
On your last day of riding, you will have a welcomed ferry ride to catch up on some rest, tell tales of your adventures and once again soak in the surroundings of natural wonders. But the final day is not without amazing riding. After your ferry rides back north from Caleta Gonzalo to Hornopiren, you will ride north to Puelche and catch the final short ferry ride of the trip. You will ride along a paved section of the Carretera Austral shouldering the coast on one of the best paved coastal roads in the region. Back into Puerto Varas, it will be a day to feel a sense of pride to have covered some of the most diverse adventure riding the world has to offer!
This tour is categorized as a difficulty level 4 tour. Tours designated with a difficulty level 4 will contain several long, off-pavement sections and some challenging paths to navigate and is for seasoned riders only.
This tour will start and end in Puerto Varas, Chile. You will get the chance to visit Hornopirén, Caleta Gonzalo, Yelcho Lake, Futaleufú, Coyhaique, Rio Tranquilo, O’Higgins, Puerto Guadal, Aysen, and Chaiten.
El Tepual Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at El Tepual Airport (PMC). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Moto Patagonia will pick you up from the airport.
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