Tailor-Made Holiday

Northern Patagonia Self-Drive, Chile

Drive the Carretera Austral in the scenic Aysen region of Chile

12 days

from £2,595pp (excluding flights)

A self-drive adventure on the Carretera Austral, a remote road through the stunning mountainous scenery of the Aysen region of Chilean northern Patagonia.

  • An unspoilt wilderness that richly rewards travellers’ with the inclination to explore this little known region of Chile
  • Drive the Carretera Austral, the perfect way to explore this region
  • World class fly fishing on the mighty Baker River
  • Experience an array of outdoor pursuits - jet boating, trekking, ice hiking, kayaking and rafting

Begin this journey in the small settlement of Balmaceda, in Chilean northern Patagonia, fly in and collect your 4x4 before heading south into the wilderness. Lovers of mountains, lakes and rugged, remote landscapes,  will be delighted with this area of northern Patagonia. The roads are unpaved most of the way but are in good condition, adding to the excitement and pioneering spirit you get from a road trip in this area.

This holiday is very much about the incredible scenery. Do this from the car windows as you travel through the changing landscape, from tree shrouded valleys to rocky, snow-capped mountains; from emerald rivers to turquoise, glacial-fed streams. Crystal clear lakes reflect the surrounding mountains, amplifying the magnificence of the scenery. It’s an adventure driving down the Carretera without a car in sight, just the tell-tale sign of dust in the distance to let you know that humanity is still out there. If you feel like stretching your legs there are numerous activities to participate in, fly fishing in the Rio Baker, glacier walks, trekking for all abilities, kayaking and jet boating.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2595 £ 1000
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Car hire
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Madrid

Fly Madrid to Santiago overnight

Day 2

Day at leisure in Santiago

Santiago de Chile enjoys a striking setting sandwiched between The Andes and the Pacific Ocean. It is a modern, cosmopolitan capital city with much to keep the discerning traveller occupied.

Cable car rides offer panoramic views, while art museums both classic and modern vie for your attention. As a modern city, it is easy to explore and any visitor will delight in wandering the bohemian district of Lastarria, home to high quality boutiques and restaurants.

Readily accessible from the city are horse riding, white water rafting or skiing excursions and the region's much celebrated vineyards.

You will be staying at Hotel Orly, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Day at Leisure with Optional Sightseeing
Time to yourself. You may like to consider some of the following excursion ideas:

- Explore the charming port city of Valparaiso with its original funiculars and winding, multi-coloured streets.

- Wine-tasting with a vineyard tour in the Maipo or Colchagua Valley.

- Visit Pablo Neruda’s house at Isla Negra, Chile’s Literature Nobel Prize winner.

- Go riding for the day in the Andean Foothills on little-used mule trails.

- Travel by car southwards out of the city through local towns and villages to the tranquil El Yeso Reservoir

You will be staying at Hotel Orly, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Fly Santiago to Balmaceda

Car Hire
Pick up place: Balmaceda
Drop off place: Balmaceda
Duration of hire: 9 days
Type of vehicle: Car

Drive from Balmaceda to Puerto Rio Tranquilo

A scenic three hour drive, the first hour is on a paved road, the last part of the journey is on a good unpaved road.

The small town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo is located on the western side of the General Carrera Lake. It is the base for visits to the marble caves and Exploradores Glacier.

You will be staying at Hostal El Puesto, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Half Day Marble Caves
Take a small boat the short distance across the General Carrera lake to reach the marble cave sanctuary. A picturesque spot where the constant movement of the water has eroded the blue/grey coloured rocks leaving behind secret caves, amazing tunnels and breathtaking formations.

You will be staying at Hostal El Puesto, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Travel from Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Patagonia Park

Drive three to three and a half hours to Patagonia Park. The journey runs along the beautiful turquiose coloured Rio Baker river. It is worth a stop at the confluence where the river meets with the Rio Nef, it is quite an impressive site. Watch out for guanaco and other wildlife during the drive through Patagonia Park.

Patagonia Park is an area of 200,000 acres of land in a remote part of Aysen, Chile. It was once an overgrazed sheep and cattle ranch which is being returned to its natural state of grasslands. It is now an important ecosystem which is helping to protect many rare and threatened species. Wildlife has returned to the park already including huemul deer, puma, Andean condor and guanaco amongst others.

You will be staying at The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Exploration of Patagonia Park
Spend the day exploring the incredible landscapes of Patagonia Park. From the lodge there are endless hiking trails which can be done with or without a private guide, these range from a short stroll to a full day trek. There are some beautiful scenic drives through the park with views of flamingo filled lakes, snow-capped mountains and open grassland. Another fun activity in the park is mountain biking, bikes cannot be hired in the park but can be arranged. Bird watching is good, particularly the Chacabuco Valley which is home to about 100 species of birds. During the walks and drives look out for the many mammals that live in the park including guanaco, huemul, mountain vizcacha and red fox.

Outside of the park are many opportunities for boating and kayaking as well as some world class fly fishing along the Baker and Cochrane rivers.

You will be staying at The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Travel from Patagonia Park to Caleta Tortel

A stunning five hour journey along unpaved roads, past rivers, lakes and mountains.Travel through the small town of Cochrane which does have an ATM and petrol.

Caleta Tortel is a coastal village located between the mouth of the Baker River and a small embayment of the Baker Channel. The surrounding geography is rugged, formed by a number of islands, fjords, channels and estuaries. The village was founded in 1955 to exploit the cypress wood that was abundant in the area. For most of its history the village had only air and boat access, a road was constructed only in 2003.

Caleta Tortel consists mainly of stilt houses, typical of Chilota architecture, built along the coast for several kilometres. There are no conventional streets - instead there are wooden walkways and staircases. This gives the village its distinctive look. Cars need to park at the Rincón Alto area above the main town and then travel is on foot down the wooden staircases and along the boardwalk streets.

You will be staying at Entre Hielos Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Day to explore Caleta Tortel
A day to explore this remote area, options include:

- trips to Glacier Steffens

- many wonderful hikes of varying lengths

- take a boat trip along the Baker river or one of the many bays and islands in this area

- walk along the boardwalk streets, exploring this quirky town

You will be staying at Entre Hielos Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Drive from Caleta Tortel to Hacienda Tres Lagos

A journey of about six hours along unpaved roads. Scenery all along this route is beautiful with a mix of mountains, lakes, rivers and rugged remote landscapes.

You will be staying at Mallin Colorado Ecolodge, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Drive from Hacienda Tres Lagos to Balmaceda

A journey of approximately five hours travelling along the shores of the huge General Carrera Lake.

Fly Balmaceda to Santiago

Fly Santiago to Madrid overnight

Day 12

Car Hire
Drop off place: Balmaceda
Type of vehicle: Car

Fly Madrid to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Hotel Orly

Hotel Orly

Positioned on a wide tree-lined avenue in Santiago’s buoyant Providencia district, Hotel Orly is a charming mansion property that is encompassed by trendy eateries and close to the efficient Santiago Cable Car....

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The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco

The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco

An inviting and sustainable lodge set within the iconic Patagonia Park, The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco is the only non-camping accommodation in this private nature reserve....

View Accommodation

Mallin Colorado Ecolodge

Mallin Colorado Ecolodge

Mallin Colorado Ecolodge is a family run property overlooking the General Carrera Lake in the Aysen region of northern Patagonia....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Chile

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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Paul Bird, Travel Expert

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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