Carretera Austral Self-Drive Adventure

This isn't just a drive along one of the world's most beautiful roads; you'll hear the wind whoosh through condors' wings, visit hanging glaciers and marble caves, hike, horse ride and take a journey through the true heart of Patagonia. This isn't just a drive along one of the world's most beautiful roads; you'll hear the wind whoosh through condors' wings, visit hanging glaciers and marble caves, hike, horse ride and take a journey through the true heart of Patagonia.
8 Days
$3,270

Carretera Austral Self-Drive Adventure - 8 - $3,270

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Drive the Southern Carretera Austral
  • Boat trip to Laguna San Rafael from Exploradores Valley
  • Discover the fascinating marble caves at Puerto Tranquilo
  • Spot condors at dawn 
  • Horse ride and hike from a stunning eco lodge
  • Visit the confluence of rivers Baker and Nef

Start from Balmaceda Airport and end at Balmaceda Airport

Landmarks visited on Carretera Austral Self-Drive Adventure

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1:  Balmaceda to Coyhaique

Arrive at Balmaceda airport and and transfer to the main town of the region, Coyhaique. Here there is some free time to tour the town and have some lunch. In the afternoon, transfer to Estancia Punta del Monte, in Coyhaique Alto, where you will have dinner and lodging.

Journey: 1 hours / 60km

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Estancia Punta del Monte


Day 2: Queulat National Park

Today is a chance to visit a condor roost in the peaks of the nearby mountains; an opportunity to watch them from the summit and get up very close to these magnificent birds. After a good breakfast at the estancia, you will start your journey north, to Queulat Lodge. This is true Patagonia and you will pass several typical small towns along the road, with exceptional views of mountains, cattle and sheep farms. Arriving at Queulat National Park, you enter a humid native forest, impressive for its steep slopes and roads lined with nalca also known as "Chilean rhubarb" with enormous leaves. 

Journey: 3.5 hours / 210km

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Queulat Lodge


Day 3: Hanging glacier at Queulat National Park 

After breakfast, you will drive the short distance to the entrance of Queulat National Park and hike a wonderful trail climbing a steep bluff to the north to reach a lookout over the hanging glacier and Tempanos lagoon. While you soak up the views, you're likely to hear a deep thundering noise as the glacier calves off huge chunks of ice in front of you. After this magical experience, you will return to Coyhaique. 

Journey: 3.5 hours / 210km

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Lodging in Coyhaique


Day 4:  Coyhaique to Mallin Colorado via the marble caves

This morning, you will start your journey along the extremely scenic Carretera Austral, to the south of the region. Crossing the Ibañez valley, passing Cerro Castillo's peaks and through humid forests, you will drive through some of the most remote areas of the Aysén region. Stopping off along the way in Puerto Tranquilo, you can enjoy an excursion by boat to the mysterious and stunning marble caves. Then it is on to your lodging for the night with time to settle into your cabin before dinner is served. 

Journey: 4.5 hours / 265km

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Mallín Colorado Ecolodge


Day 5: River Baker confluence & horseback riding in Mallín Colorado

After breakfast, you will take a short drive south to visit river Baker and its confluence with river Nef, a powerful place where pristine water crashes through the valley. Here, river Baker meets the sediment-coloured glacial waters of the river Nef, and the water changes colour as it flows on to the Pacific, at Caleta Tortel. After your visit here, head back to Mallín Colorado, for horseback riding or hiking in the afternoon. There are 15km of trails on the property  with beautiful native trees, amazing views of lake General Carrera and the Cordón Contreras mountain chain.

Journey: 0.5 hours / 30km

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Mallín Colorado Ecolodge


Day 6: Mallín Colorado 

Today is a free day, to explore the surroundings of Mallín Colorado and lake General Carrera. We recommend you pay a visit to the nearby town of Puerto Guadal with its many artisan shops; a real flavour of life in Patagonia. You can also explore the beautiful nearby waterfall, Cascada Los Maquis, visit an abandoned mine inside the mountains or visit the beautiful cemetery of Puerto Guadal which is full of flowers and amazing views. You may however decide to simply rest in your cabin at Mallín Colorado, to take in the beautiful views from your floor to ceiling bow window. 

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Mallín Colorado Ecolodge


Day 7: San Rafael glacier

There's an early departure from the lodge to Puerto Tranquilo and then it is on to Bahía Exploradores to take a cruise to the San Rafael glacier. You will spend a full day onboard with breakfast, lunch and coffee all included. Navigating through the fjords you should arrive at San Rafael lagoon by midday where there will be time to get close to the icebergs and appreciate them. The boat returns to Bahía Exploradores around 5pm and then you return to Mallín Colorado.

Journey: 2.5 hours / 100km (to Bahía Exploradores)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Accommodation: Mallín Colorado Ecolodge


Day 8: Balmaceda airport

Today you return to Balmaceda airport for your journey home. 

Journey: 5 hours / 240km

Meals: Breakfast 

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

A departure can be set up on a date of your choice with a minimum of 2 people (subject to availability). Price of USD $3,270 per person is based on a group of two people taking an independent tour with a rented 4x4 car.

Please get in touch for more details.

Additional Notes

There are optional extra activities for this trip - please get in touch for more details and pricing:

  • Jet boat trip to glacier Leones from Mallín Colorado
  • Helicopter flight over the Northern Icefields
  • Half-day hike to Puerto Guadal fossil site

Includes

  • 8 days car rental, from and to Balmaceda airport
  • 2 nights in Coyhaique
  • 1 night in Queulat
  • 4 nights in Mallín Colorado
  • Half board during the whole stay
  • Visit to the marble caves
  • Visit to river Baker confluence
  • Condor dawn visit at Estancia Punta del Monte
  • Hanging glacier hike in Queulat National Park
  • Mallin Colorado trails: hiking or horseback riding
  • Boat excursion to San Rafael glacier

Excludes

  • Beverages and alcoholic beverages
  • Lunch (except onboard boat excursion to San Rafael glacier)
  • Flights
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Personal expenses and equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?