Why travel the Carretera Austral?
There are many reasons to explore the Southern Highway. Here are some of our favourites:
- Road Trips - Road trips along the Carretera are quite simply the way to travel through Chilean Patagonia...
- Hiking - The Carretera passes some fantastic hiking routes, many of them well-kept secrets
- Fishing - The Baker and Palena Rivers are world-famous for the plentiful fishing opportunities
- Photography - Here at Swoop we're forever blown away by returning customers and the memories that they've captured with their cameras
- Mountaineering and Ice Cap Expeditions - The Patagonian ice cap is the third largest in the world and home to world-famous glaciers and tremendous peaks
- Canoeing, Kayaking, and White-Water Rafting: discover more about adventure activities along the Carretera Austral over on our blog.
Aysen feels like a real pioneering place; the Chilean Gaucho culture is much more obvious and you see more day to day life, but what is really cool is that if you want to go somewhere that nobody has ever been, it can be arranged.
Harriet Pike Trekking, Mountaineering & Cycling Specialist
Carretera Austral: Your Questions Answered
The best times to go are around the summer period (approx. October through March). This is when the days are longest and temperatures are highest. This is of particular importance the further south you are looking to go along the Carretera - southern Patagonian is the southernmost point before Antarctica, after all. Keep in mind, though, that just because it's summer doesn't mean it won't rain - owing to the mountainous terrain and the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the weather can be very changeable throughout much of Patagonia.
What you'll need to take depends in large part on what you are planning to do - clearly, the requirements for a 2-week fishing trip will be very different from an action-packed multi-activity adventure. Get in touch with the sort of adventure you're looking for and we'll be able to give you a much more comprehensive idea of what you'll need.
Check out our general kit list that covers the most important things that almost everybody needs to know about and what you should bring on a trip to Patagonia.
Trips along the Carretera Austral
An action-packed week in Patagonia’s pioneer country, Aysen. This isn't just a drive along one of the world's most beautiful roads; you'll hike on the steppe, ride with gauchos in the mountains, snorkel in pristine river waters, hear the wind…
An 8-day adventure along the northern half of the legendary Carretera Austral and spend two nights in Queulat National Park. All lodgings will be organised for you, you'll simply need to enjoy the scenery as you drive south towards…
A chance to see visit the Catedral de Marmol (the Marble Cathedral) on the Lago General Carrera as well as opportunities to hike in the Lago Tamango National Park and around the Glaciar Exploradores. All this on a roadtrip…
What better way to explore the Aisen region of Chile, then Chalten and the infamous Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina and then finally cycle across Tierra del Fuego the Island at the end of the world. You'll have a day…
A challenging, two-week mountain bike journey along the legendary Carretera Austral highway's southernmost portion and visit some truly unique places, like Caleta…
A spectacular route deep in this remote region, winding around Lago General Carerra on mainly gravel roads, crossing it by ferry and taking in a boat excursion to the shining caves known as the Capilla de Marmol (Marble Cathedral), with…
Journey on the magical Carretera all the way to its terminus at Villa O'Higgins. Then enjoy an entire day on its lake, exploring the O'Higgins and Ventisquero glaciers that feed into it. Also visit the mysterious Tortel, a…
Where to Stay along the Carretera Austral
Located uniquely in the middle of the Queulat National Park, this lodge sits in the middle of protected natural beauty. It's a basic but comfortable place to stay whilst exploring the incredible landscape of the area, lying very close to the great Queulat Fjord.