Carretera Austral Express: North & South

An action-packed self-drive road trip, you'll spend two whole days in Queulat National Park whilst staying at a lovely lodge with a range of excursions to enjoy. You'll also go horse-riding in the mountains and visit the Marble Cathedral. All this whilst driving along the magical Carretera Austral and all accommodation organised for you. You'll also go horse-riding in the mountains and visit the Marble Cathedral. All this whilst driving along the magical Carretera Austral and all accommodation organised for you.

9 Days

Carretera Austral Express: North & South - 9

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Follow the Simpson River into the Andes and make your way to Queulat National Park
  • Choose from a range of exciting excursions in the Park for two days
  • Boat or kayak around the Queulat Fjord, or hike to nearby waterfalls
  • Take a boat trip to the San Rafael Glacier after exploring the Exploradores Valley
  • Breakfasts included every day of your trip, as well as two dinners

Start from Bariloche and end at Balmaceda Airport

Landmarks visited on Carretera Austral Express: North & South

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Balmaceda to Posada Queulat

Arrive into Balmaceda airport, preferably on the first flight of the day. Pick up your hire car and drive north to Posada Queulat. You'll drive along the Simpson River and cross the Austral Andes range, then continue toward the north among rugged mountains, passing lakes, rivers and the sea.

Journey: 4.5 hours / 250 km paved and gravelled road

Accommodation: Posada Queulat


Day 2: Ventisquero Colgante 

Today you'll explore the Ventisquero Colgante section of the Queulat National Park. There is a great day hike to a viewing platform looking out to a hanging glacier and lake below, as well as shorter hikes to other viewing platforms and a short 30 minute boat trip on the lake that takes you right underneath the waterfalls.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Posada Queulat


Day 3: Queulat Fjord

A day exploring the Queulat Fjord, which may see you boat, kayak, hike to nearby waterfalls, or drive a little further north to explore the historic Germanic village of Puyuhuapi.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Accommodation: Posada Queulat


Day 4: Posada Queulat to Cerro Castillo

Retrace your steps driving south through Coyhaique – have a coffee break in one of the lovely little cafes in the town centre. Continue south to the Ibanez Valley to the small village of Cerro Castillo, your base for the next 2 days.

Journey: 5–6 hours / 300 km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: La Casona de Mary Sandoval, Cerro Castillo


Day 5: Hike to Laguna Castillo

Spend the day hiking to Laguna Castillo.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: La Casona de Mary Sandoval, Cerro Castillo


Day 6: Puerto Rio Tranquilo and kayak to the Marble Caves

In the morning, drive south to Puerto Rio Tranquilo. In the morning, you will then head out on a half day kayak to the Marble Caves (included excursion).

Journey: 3 hours / 120 km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Puesto, Puerto Rio Tranquilo


Day 7: Exploradores Valley and the San Rafael Glacier

A whole day venturing deep into the Exploradores Valley, with a boat trip to the San Rafael Glacier (included excursion).

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Puesto, Puerto Rio Tranquilo


Day 8: Visit the Marble Caves then drive to Coyhaique

You'll have a free morning which you can use as a weather window to visit the Marble Caves. Back in the car, drive back to Coyhaique for your final night in the Aysen region. If you are short of time, leave Puerto Rio Tranquilo early in the morning and drive straight to Balmaceda Airport to catch a late afternoon flight.

Journey: 4 hours / 220 km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Patagonia House


Day 9: Departure

Drive back to Balmaceda Airport and return your hire car, before your flight home or onward.

Journey: 50 minutes / 55 km

Meals: Breakfast

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Price is per person based on a group of 2 people.

Departures can be set up for a minimum of 2 people. Please get in touch for details.

Includes

  • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 dinners
  • Accommodation: 8 nights across local lodges
  • Car hire for 9 days
  • Excursions as indicated in itinerary

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • International and domestic/in country flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal Equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
  • Gratuities/Tips
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?