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Carretera Austral, Cerro Castillo, Patagonia, Chile

Drive the Carretera Austral

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

10 Days

Prices Start from

$3,302 ex. flights

Embark on a self-drive adventure on the iconic Carretera Austral, a remote road that cuts through the stunning mountainous scenery of the Aysen region of northern Patagonia, making detours to see traditional coastal villages, visit iconic cave systems and stay within Patagonia Park.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Scenic Road, Chilean Carretera Austral, Patagonia, Chile 1

The Carretera Austral

Drive the iconic Carretera Austral, one of the most iconic road trips on Earth.

Puma, Patagonia, Chile 2

Patagonian Wildlife

Scout the landscape for huemul deer, Andean condors, guanacos and perhaps an elusive puma.

Fly fishing, Patagonia, Argentina 3

Great Outdoors

Try jet boating, trekking, ice hiking, kayaking and rafting amongst a mighty landscape.

Marble Caves, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile 4

See the Marble Caves

Take a small boat to the hidden caves full of blue and grey coloured stone.

Why we like it

This overland journey through Chilean Patagonia is one of the world’s greatest road trips, travelling on unpaved roads down the Carretera Austral, past tree-shrouded valleys and turquoise glacier-fed streams, and staying in isolated properties. Without another car in sight, and with only the tell-tale sign of dust in the distance to let you know that humanity is still out there, this is an almost-otherworldy journey in one of the most extreme places on the planet.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Days 1-2
    Santiago
  • Day 3
    Santiago - Balmaceda - Puerto Rio Tranquilo
  • Day 4
    Puerto Rio Tranquilo
  • Day 5
    Puerto Rio Tranquilo - Patagonia Park
  • Day 6
    Patagonia Park
  • Day 7
    Patagonia Park - Caleta Tortel
  • Day 8
    Caleta Tortel
  • Day 9
    Caleta Tortel - Aysen Region
  • Day 10
    Aysen Region - Balmaceda - Santiago
Scenic Road in Woods, Carretera Austral, Patagonia, Chile
Patagonia, Chile

Carretera Austral by 4x4

From the small settlement of Balmaceda in northern Patagonia, hop in a steadfast 4×4 and set off south into the Chilean wilderness characterised by soaring mountains, dazzling lakes and rugged landscapes. The Carretera Austral is mostly unpaved but in a good condition, adding to the exhilarating feel and pioneering spirit of one of the world’s most iconic road trips.

Kayaking, Marble Caves, General Carrera Lake, Chile
General Carrera Lake, Chile

Discover the Marble Caves

Take a small boat across General Carrera Lake to reach the marble cave sanctuary, a picturesque spot where the constant movement of the water has eroded the blue rocks into secret caves and mysterious tunnels.

Guanacos, Patagonia, Chile
Guanacos, Patagonia, Chile

Explore Patagonia Park

Journey to the remote Patagonia Park and stay in a homely and exclusive lodge that is the only property located within the private 200,0000-acre reserve. A seemingly endless network of hiking trails surrounds the lodge, each of which can be tackled alone or in the company of an expert naturalist guide. With views of flamingo filled lakes, snow-capped mountains and open grassland, head out on mountain bikes while looking out for guanacos, mountain vizcachas, elusive pumas and red foxes.

Caleta Tortel, Chile
Caleta Tortel, Chile

Walk the Boardwalks of Caleta Tortel

Spend time in the enchanting coastal village that commonly serves as a springboard for boat trips to turquoise glaciers and excursions to find Andean condors and black swans. This magical village, surrounded by islands, fjords, channels and estuaries, is renowned for its typical Chilota stilt homes and wooden boardwalks.

Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Colourful Streets, Valparaiso, Chile
Colourful Streets, Valparaiso, Chile

Adventures from Santiago

Santiago is a modern, cosmopolitan capital city with much to keep the discerning traveller occupied from panoramic cable cars to delightful bohemian districts. Further afield, travel to the charming port city of Valparaiso to see its original funiculars and multi-coloured streets, go wine-tasting in the Maipo or Colchagua Valleys or go horseback riding in the foothills of the Andes on little-used mule trails.

Guanacos, Torres del Paine, Chile
Guanacos, Torres del Paine, Chile

Suggestion: Torres del Paine Extension

Those wishing to experience all that Patagonia has to offer might like to extend their trip with a journey to Torres del Paine National Park, Chile’s iconic landscape dominated by three granite towers to spend time hiking, horse-riding and mountain biking across the steppe.

Accommodation

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

Hotel Orly £££££

  • Chile
  • City
  • Boutique

Hotel Orly has 26 rooms, all tastefully decorated with country manor furnishings, pine floors and wooden windows. The hotel is located in the fashionable Providencia and has a small breakfast room and bar, a separate downstairs restaurant, and a cafe offering some of the finest coffee in town. Hotel Orly is just a few minutes from the metro station, from where you can reach the old colonial centre of Santiago.

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The Singular Santiago £££££

  • Chile
  • City

Positioned in Santiago’s historic and bohemian neighbourhood of Lastarria, The Singular Santiago fuses neoclassical architectural influences with contemporary artworks and sleek interior aesthetics. Its chic rooftop boasts a sophisticated bar and a dazzling plunge pool, while its award-winning chandelier-clad restaurant offers one of the most memorable French culinary experiences in the city. Its 62 bright and spacious rooms feature luxurious bathrooms and framed artworks and most boast private balconies, while the indulgent suite offers its own separate living room. Overlooking a bustling street, the atmospheric rooms are ideal for people-watching in-between explorations of the city, yet undeniably tranquil come night time.  

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The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco £££££

  • Argentina
  • Boutique
  • Wilderness

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. Built from local stone quarried in the Chacabuco Valley and interspersed with recycled woodwork, the lodge blends in with the lush grounds that provided the habitat for an array of wildlife. A nearby handicraft store sells expertly crafter artisan goods that include wool blankets, carved wooden bowls and local honey. Its ten elegant rooms are equipped with antique wooden furniture and cosy underfloor heating, and each is individually decorated with photographs of the species and people who make their home in the wilds of Patagonia. In a separate building with views to Mount Tamanguito, the beamed ceiling bar is an ideal spot for gathering to share stories about the days’ adventures while the restaurant sources ingredients from on-site greenhouses and often hosts Patagonian asados (barbeques).

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Mallin Colorado Ecolodge £££££

  • Chile
  • Wilderness

Mallin Colorado Ecolodge is a family-run property overlooking the General Carrera Lake in the Aysen Region of northern Patagonia. A great base to explore the Carretera Austral. The property is set within 550 hectares, consists of a main lodge building where homemade meals are prepared using food grown in the gardens. There are six private rooms and four wooden cabins with one to three bedrooms. All the cabins are surrounded by native forest, have huge windows and offer views over the lake.

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Hacienda Tres Lagos £££££

  • Argentina
  • Wilderness

Hacienda Tres Lagos is located in the Aysen region of northern Patagonia, on the edge of General Carrera, the Bertrand and Negro lakes. With just 18 rooms, 12 deluxe, 4 family and 2 suites, it makes for a great base to explore the mountains, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls along the Carretera Austral. Each room offers an i-pod dock, walk-in closet, Wifi, safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer and fireplace. Hacienda Tres Lagos also offers a games room, sauna, Jacuzzi, art gallery and restaurant.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Or send us a quick email below and start your next journey.

Call us

James put together what proved to be a fabulous itinerary in Chile. We were slightly concerned that with 11 flights in 3 weeks we might be overdoing it, but the experiences in each location more than justified the travel, and James's first-hand experience proved invaluable.

Destination: Chile
Travel Expert: James

I would especially mention the positive and really helpful advice of James, who even met with me to chat face to face before putting together a bespoke trip that really met all of our expectations. As a result, our time in Chile was a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.

Destination: Chile
Travel Expert: James

Paul created an itinerary that perfectly suited our interests, and we were particularly impressed with the properties that he selected for us. Thank you for recommending we visit the Atacama Desert, which we hadn’t even thought of visiting, but which turned out to be the highlight.

Destination: Chile
Travel Expert: Paul

What a fantastic trip to Argentina, Chile and Brazil superbly organised by James.

Destination: Argentina, Chile & Brazil
Travel Expert: James

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $3,302 Per person

When to travel

Chile in January

January and February is the peak season in Chile as it is the height of the summer. Weather can be ideal throughout the country, although the Atacama Desert can occasionally experience unusual rainfall at this time.

Chile in February

January and February is the peak season in Chile as it is the height of the summer. Weather can be ideal throughout the country, although the Atacama Desert can occasionally experience unusual rainfall at this time.

Chile in March

Heading into the autumn, this is a shoulder season for most of the country. This can make for a lovely time to visit as peak prices come down and the crowds ease slightly.

Chile in April

April to August is the winter season throughout Chile, bringing in heavy rains. The southern part of the country will begin experiencing snow which can make areas inaccessible.

Chile in May

April to August is the winter season throughout Chile, bringing in heavy rains. The southern part of the country will begin experiencing snow which can make areas inaccessible.

Chile in June

April to August is the winter season throughout Chile, bringing in heavy rains. The southern part of the country will begin experiencing snow which can make areas inaccessible.

Chile in July

April to August is the winter season throughout Chile, bringing in heavy rains. The southern part of the country will begin experiencing snow which can make areas inaccessible.

Chile in August

April to August is the winter season throughout Chile, bringing in heavy rains. The southern part of the country will begin experiencing snow which can make areas inaccessible.

Chile in September

As the snow begins to melt and days get warmer, this can be a delightful time to visit the central valleys and north of the country.

Chile in October

October marks the start of spring in the lake district. Although you can expect rain, the flowers begin to bloom across the stunning landscapes and temperatures begin to rise.

Chile in November

November is a good time to visit, as spring is in full bloom across the country. Just before the peak season begins in December, there are fewer crowds.

Chile in December

December begins the peak season for travel to Chile, with the climate in its prime for visiting most of the popular destinations. We advise that you begin planning well in advance for travel during this time as many hotels can book up.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

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