Far from the Crowds on the Carretera Austral
12-day Road Trip in Chile for £2595pp
The Carretera Austral snakes it way through over 1200km of the Chilean coastline, and occupies an almost mythical place in the national consciousness. It took over 30 years to complete and takes you through some of the most isolated and beautiful scenery in South America.
From still mountain lakes and pristine forests, to snow-capped volcanoes, icy fjords and colossal glaciers, this is an area of epic landscapes and one that rewards taking your time. So what better way to enjoy it than at your own pace, behind the wheel of your own car? If you're liking the sound of the Carretera Austral so far then read on to find out more...
- Day One: Arrival in Santiago de Chile
- Day Two: Travel to the Lake District
- Day Three: Exploring Lake Llanquihue
- Day Four: On to the Carretera Austral
- Day Five: Chilean Fjords
- Day Six: Pumalin National Park
- Day Seven: Lake Risopatron
- Day Eight: Queulat National Park
- Day Nine: Puyuhuapi
- Day Ten: On to Coyhaique
- Day Eleven: Fly to Santiago
- Day Twelve: Overnight flight back to the UK
Day One – Start of your Holiday in Chile
Your self drive holidays in Chile will begin this morning as you touch down in Santiago, and we will be there to meet you and take you straight to your hotel in the upmarket Providencia area of the city. You will then have the rest of the day free to relax and enjoy one of South America’s most sophisticated capital cities.
Day Two – Fly to the Lake District
We will pick you up this morning and take you to the airport for your flight south to Puerto Montt, in the heart of the Chilean Lake District. We won’t be hanging around, however, as you pick up your vehicle and drive north to the small village of Puerto Octay, on the north shore of the second largest lake in Chile, Lake Llanquihue. (B)
- Our standard price is based on a Europcar I3 tariff (Toyota Hilux or similar) but if you'd like more room or power, just ask us about the full range of vehicles available.
Day Three - Free Day by Lake Llanquihue
You will have some free time today to enjoy exploring around the shores of Lake Llanquihue, with its string of pretty lakeside villages. As well as driving, it’s a great place to do some walking and you can enjoy some spectacular views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. (B)
Day Four - The Carretera Austral
Today you will drive back to Puerto Montt and then head south along the famous Carretera Austral. As you follow this road along the coast, you’ll pass the villages of Chamiza and Metri before you reach the ferry point at Caleta La Arena, from where you will sail across the Reloncavi estuary over to Caleta Puelche. Following the coast again, you will then head south to Hornopiren, where you will stay tonight. (B)
Day Five - The Chilean Fjords
This morning you will drive to the harbour to catch the ferry south along the Leptepu Fjord to the town of Leptepu itself. During this fantastic 3-hour boat journey you will have some stunning views of the fjord and the surrounding mountains. On arrival in Leptepu you will have a short drive across the Huequi Peninsula, with great views up to the 1435m Pico Bulli, before catching the short ferry across the Reñihue Fjord to Caleta Gonzalo, which is the gateway for visits to the beautiful Pumalin National Park. (B)
Day Six - Pumalin National Park
You will have the whole of today free to visit the Pumalin National Park. This epic landscape of temperate rainforest, snow-clad peaks and beautiful coastline offers some excellent walking possibilities and guarantees some superb photos. (B)
Day Seven - Lake Risopatron
Today you will continue south along the Carretera Austral through the humid evergreen forests of northern Partagonia. You will pass the beautiful Lake Yelcho and the small towns of Chaiten and La Junta as well as savouring some more beautiful views before arriving at El Pangue, on the northern shores of Lake Risopatron, which is famous for its sunsets. (B)
Day Eight - Queulat National Park
From your base overlooking Lake Risopatron you will have the whole of today to enjoy the constantly changing scenery of the Queulat National Park. From forests and swift mountain rivers, to vast fjords and the huge hanging glacier of Ventisquero, you will be able to enjoy some superb walking today. (B)
Day Nine - Relaxing in Puyuhuapi
Driving south from Lake Risopatron today, you will be able to enjoy some more stunning sights in the Queulat National Park on your journey. You will be spending the night at one of our favourite spa hotels in Chile, set in the remote countryside of Puyuhuapi, and we highly recommend arriving early so you can enjoy plenty of time soaking in the hotel’s natural hot springs. (B)
Day Ten - On to Coyhaique
Driving south from Lake Risopatron today, you will be able to enjoy some more stunning sights in the Queulat National Park on your journey, before you arrive in the town of Coyhaique this evening. (B)
Day Eleven - Fly to Santiago
This morning you will drive on to the airport in Puerto Montt and catch a flight back to Santiago. On arrival we'll meet you at the airport and take you back to your Providencia hotel so you can get ready to head out and enjoy your last night of your holiday in Chile. (B)
Day Twelve - Last Day of your Road Trip Holidays in Chile
Sadly, your Chile road trip holiday will come to an end today. As most flights for the UK depart in the afternoon, you should have some free time this morning to explore Santiago before we pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport for your international flight home. (B)
Options to extend this Chile road trip holiday
Wine Tasting in Maipo Valley - from £95pp
Chileans are justifiably proud of their wines, and any road trip holiday in Chile is enhanced by a trip out to some of the country's vineyards for a tasting session. We'd suggest a day trip into the fabulous Maipo valley, where you can visit a couple of Chile's best vineyards to sample their wares, as well as enjoying the beautiful countryside.
Atacama Desert - 4 days from £995pp
The Atacama desert is the driest place on earth, and also one of the strangest. This four-day extension to your Carretera Austral road trip will take you out deep into the Atacama desert to experience the other-worldly landscape of giant red volcanoes, coloured mineral lakes, and wildlife including chinchillas and pink flamingoes!
La Campana National Park - from £175pp
If you'd like to extend your Chile road trip to explore some of the country's most lovely natural scenery, easily accessible in a day trip from Santiago, why not take a trip into the gorgeous La Campana National Park? Ideal for walking and trekking, with paths that are accessible all year round, you can enjoy seeing waterfalls and palm trees, wildcats, skunks, eagles and chinchillas before driving back to Santiago in the evening.
Easter Island Tour - 4 days from £1250pp
The enigmatic Moai statues make Easter Island one of the most mysterious holiday destinations in the world, but happily its mysteries are within relatively easy reach of Santiago so adding on a tour of Easter Island to this Chile holiday is fairly straightforward. This four-day package will allow you plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the highlights of Easter Island.
Valparaiso & Viña del Mar Tour - from £140pp
The port city of Valparaiso was once one of the most famous in South America, and before the opening of the Panama Canal it was a regular stop for all shipping as they circumnavigated South America. Today you can see its superb historic architecture and the brightly-painted hillside houses, reached by Victorian funicular railways. From Valparaiso we'll travel on to the beachside town of Viña del Mar to enjoy its lovely promenade and parks.
Similar Holidays to South America
Our standard price for this road trip on Chile's Carretera Austral is £2595 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, rental car with unlimited free mileage and local taxes (excluding the local airport pickup tax which unfortunately we are unable to pre-pay), self drive information pack, all transfers in Santiago, and breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2017.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
Our Holidays are rated 4.9 out of 5 on the Feefo Independent Review Site