Aysen, Little-Known Patagonia

Explore Aysen, one of the lesser known regions of Patagonia, on this organised tour. Includes Los Alerces & Queulat National Parks, driving the Carretera Austral, Exploradores Glacier, as well as Santiago and Buenos Aires. With plenty of stunning lakes & mountains you can really enjoy the scenery of this region.

Explore Aysen, one of the lesser known regions of Patagonia, on this organised tour. Includes Los Alerces & Queulat National Parks, driving the Carretera Austral, Exploradores Glacier, as well as Santiago and Buenos Aires. Read more...

15 Days


Aysen, Little-Known Patagonia - 15 - $4,581

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • City tour of Buenos Aires
  • Travel on down 'The Southern Highway' to Coyhaique
  • View Exploradores glacier and visit the Capilla de Marmol by boat
  • Continue south to Puerto Bertrand on the shores of a glacial lake
  • Optional visit to a vineyard or the port city Valparaiso

Start from Buenos Aires and end at Santiago

Landmarks visited on Aysen, Little-Known Patagonia

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1 - Buenos Aires - Day at leisure to rest, explore or take an optional excursion:

Those passengers arriving on an international flight will be met by the tour leader or a local representative and transported to the group hotel.

The day is then free to rest, explore the city or take an optional excursion.

Accommodation: Hotel Kenton Palace, Buenos Aires

Day 2 - City tour of Buenos Aires.

Today you have a guided city tour. Buenos Aires is an elegant city famed for its museums and the arty port district of La Boca with its cobbled streets and brightly-painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and that Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The historic centre is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic, Parisian feel.

The Bohemian district of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and extravagant restaurants. Adjacent to the centre is the Gallic influenced Recoleta district where Evita Perón was laid to rest.

After the tour, you have free time to shop, have a drink and a pastry in a salon de thé, peruse the items on display in one of the many markets and boutiques or visit one of the city’s museums.

Accommodation: Hotel Kenton Palace, Buenos Aires

Day 3 - Fly to Esquel in Argentine Patagonia.:

A southbound flight (2.5 hours) takes you to the beginning of your journey through Patagonia. Arrive at Esquel in the foothills of the Andes. The backdrop of the town is starkly beautiful with dramatic mountains to one side and open grasslands to the other. Flight time permitting, there will be a chance to explore the sleepy settlement.

Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Esquel, Esquel

Day 4 - Board the Old Patagonian Express or visit Los Alerces National Park:

La Trochita, the Old Patagonian Express, no longer crosses the continent. Nowadays there is just a short journey north along the narrow gauge tracks. The train runs a very infrequent program that changes from month to month so in the increasing likelihood the train journey is not possible, or for those who prefer not to ride, we will organise a visit to the Los Alerces National Park, which has countless beautiful lakes and lagoons, which can be seen from beautiful walks and various viewpoints. The park was established to protect the alerce conifer tree, which can grow to over 60m and survive for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Esquel, Esquel

Day 5 - Cross into Chile to Futaleufú. Walking or white-water rafting:

Today we travel by private vehicle across the Andean range to the Chilean town of Futaleufú, in the remote Aisén region of Chile. This is a fractured territory of islands and fjords. The mainland here is covered by snowy volcanoes and sapphire-tinted glaciers. Out of these, vivacious rivers tumble and crash through deep valleys fringed by ancient temperate rainforests; 73% of the territory is now protected land.

Border formalities permitting, it is around a 2 hour journey along a beautiful valley hemmed in by towering mountains on either side. Close to the town of Futaleufú is a raging river where the foaming rapids and white water attract rafters from all over the world. If you fancy a paddle yourself, this can be arranged locally. Alternatively, enjoy a relaxing afternoon, including a stroll along the river bank.

Accommodation: Hosteria Rio Grande, Futaleufú

Days 6 and 7 - Drive down the Carretera Austral to Puerto Puyuhuapi. Visit to Queulat National Park:

We continue west and join the Carretera Austral. This isolated road winds its way from Puerto Montt in the north to its southerly limit at Villa O'Higgins, carving its way through a variety of breathtaking landscapes, fording rivers and almost slicing glaciers in two. In the early 20th century there were attempts to colonise this rugged region, however the road was only constructed much later by General Pinochet in a bid to increase the population and to safeguard Chilean territory.

Nowadays, in the Chilean summer months (January and February), more adventurous Chilean families may come here, but otherwise tourists are confined to adventure-seekers, back-packers and enthusiastic, curious travellers like us. Public transport along the road is still very scarce and so you'll travel by private minibus. We'll be able to stop along the way to drink in the views of the awe-inspiring scenery.

The northern part of the road (predominantly unpaved) passes settlements nestled in the thick temperate rainforest, fast flowing rivers and lakes. We stop in one such village, Puerto Puyuhuapi sitting at the head of a fjord. There are thermal springs nearby which you can visit in the evening and soak your rattled bones while enjoying the peaceful setting.

A short distance from the village of Puerto Puyuhuapi is the Queulat National Park, famed for the hanging glacier beyond. There is a 3 hour return walk through the forest to a vantage point of the glacier, where you can watch glacial waterfalls tumble onto the rocks below and form a river which meanders through the valley.

Accommodation: Casa Ludwig or Hostal Alemana, Puerto Puyuhuapi

Days 7 and 8 - Travel on down 'the southern highway' to Coyhaique.

Today we continue south to Coyhaique, the capital of Aisén. In this modern, planned town, set against a backdrop of snowy peaks. This pleasant town has a large central plaza, and you can relax and unwind here for the day.

Accommodation: Coyhaique: Belisario Jara, Coyhaique

Day 9 - Lago General Carrera  

Today, the scenery of the Carretera Austral changes dramatically. We leave behind the damp, evergreen forest and the scenery is transformed into sweeping open valleys, with snow-capped mountains, fast flowing rivers and forests of deciduous beech trees.

After a few hours you reach the expanse of Lago General Carrera, which you will cross on a small car ferry to reach the southern shore at Chile Chico. We continue alongside the shimmering waters before spending the night in a lakeside lodge.

Accommodation: Terra Luna, Puerto Bertrand/Puerto Guadal

Day 10 - Day at leisure to relax, stroll along the lake shore or nearby rivers or fish, kayak or raft:

The nearby towns of Puerto Bertrand and Puerto Guadal and the Rio Baker river are the bases for plenty of activities including fly-fishing, kayaking, zip-lining, white-water rafting, horse riding and trekking - or like many before you, you may wish just to enjoy the vistas with a leisurely stroll along the river or lake.

(Please check you are insured for any of the activities you wish to do, before advising your tour leader in time to put your name down for those which need pre-booking).

Accommodation: Terra Luna, Puerto Bertrand/Puerto Guadal

Day 11 - Continue north to Puerto Rio Tranquilo on the shores of a glacial lake:

Continuing a short distance north along the edge of General Carrera with its shimmering turquoise waters is the small town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo where tourism is in its infancy and accommodation is relatively basic.

Accommodation: El Puesto , Puerto Tranquillo

Day 12 - View Exploradores glacier and visit the Capillas de Marmol by boat: 

Driving though the Exploradores valley you travel through the Andean mountains towards the glacier. Take a walk through the forest and up wooden walkways to a vantage point over the ice, one of the few glaciers which are accessible - an expanse of some 4,200km of ice. The most famous of the glaciers in this region is the vast San Rafael Glacier, although due to limited road access, a visit cannot be guaranteed.

For the more adventurous of you (who are relatively fit), there is an option to trek on the glacier; though this must be booked in advance. After returning to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, you'll have a guided excursion on Lake General Carrera. After navigating across the cobalt blue waters in a small motor boat, you reach the Capillas de Marmol, a series of rocks which have formed and eroded over time to resemble 'marble caves' rising out of the water.

Accommodation: El Puesto , Puerto Tranquillo

Day 13 - Return to Coyhaique and fly to Santiago: 

We return north to the airport (at Balmaceda, 1hr south of Coyhaique) and take the 3.5 hour flight to Santiago, arriving late afternoon/evening. The busy, sprawling capital is set in a broad valley between the snow-mantled range of the Andes and a smaller coastal range with a distinctly Mediterranean feel.

Accommodation: Hotel Torremayor Provendencia, Santiago

Day 14 - Optional visit to a vineyard or the port city Valparaíso: 

Whilst in Santiago you can choose to visit one or two of the small museums; or, for a panoramic view of the city, head to the central hilltop park of Cerro Santa Lucía. For even more dramatic views, take a cable car to the summit of San Cristóbal, where you can join Chilean families wandering along the leafy paths. We recommend a coffee, beer or glass of wine at one of the pavement cafés in Bellavista. This is the bohemian district: an Italian quarter of narrow streets peppered with bars and shops selling local semi-precious lapis lazuli at reasonable prices. The museum and house of Chilean poet laureate Pablo Neruda is close by, and its unusual interior with an eclectic collection of paintings and bric-a-brac is well worth a visit.

Alternatively, you can visit Valparaíso, Chile's second city which is only 2 hours away by bus. This lively seaport is built on a series of hills which form a backdrop to the wide bay, with views over the seaside resort of Viña del Mar. You can wander along the sombre streets behind the port, and among the residences and office buildings built for British and German merchants, or take a ride in one of the wooden funiculars which link the cliff-top communities. These have been recently enlivened with brightly coloured façades, new boutique hotels and chic restaurants.

You may also choose to take a leisurely visit to one of the wineries located in the fertile valleys close to Santiago. The region's viticulture has gained an excellent reputation and you can sample some of the wines and take a tour of the cellars and bottling plants.

Accommodation: Hotel Torremayor Provendencia, Santiago

Day 15 - Depart for international flight or extension

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Start date Price (pp)
October 2020
30-Oct-2020 $4,581* Provisional Date

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in GBP (£) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost £3,448

Additional Notes

The price of a single supplement is GBP £511 (2019) or £590 (2020).


  • Services of tour leader
  • All land and domestic air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Buenos Aires: city tour
  • La Trochita train journey or Los Alerces National Park, Esquel
  • Queulat National Park and glacier
  • Puerto Rio Tranquilo: Glacier Exploradores and boat trip to Capillas de Marmol
  • Breakfast daily


  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Personal expenses and equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

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