The Carretera Austral by rental car

The southern highway by rental car is probably one of the most spectacular routes in Patagonia, designed to be traveled with time in your rental vehicle.

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Travel on your own along the Carretera Austral, one of the most emblematic routes in the region.

  • Feel the sensation of driving through inhospitable Patagonia.
  • For nature and adventure lovers willing to drive more than 1,800 kilometers.


Day 1: Puerto Montt / Puerto Varas (197 km – Approx 2h10)

View of Puerto Montt

Arrival at Puerto Montt airport. Pick up of your rental car.

On the road to Puerto Varas.

Puerto Varas: City founded by German immigrants in 1853 with the support of the Chilean government. A national heritage site since 1992, the city is characterized by its typically Germanic colonial architectural style. Some houses alternate neo-baroque and neoclassical aspirations (see Kuschel House built in 1915-1917, or Jüpner-Klenner House, built in 1910). Puerto Varas or also called “the city of roses” for all these flowers that adorn the streets, is quite extensive and far from being lost deep in the countryside. Its incredible landscape with Lake Llanquihue and the Osorno Volcano (alt. 2,652m) in the background. It is also the gateway to several tourist sites.

Arrival and installation at the Casa Kaflu hotel , in a standard room. Room available from 2:00 p.m. onwards,

AddressHotel Casa Kalfu: Tronador Nº 1134 Esquina Manzanal, Puerto Varas – Tel +56 65 2751261 +569 94529151

Suggested visits

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, built between 1915-1918 mixing a neo-Romanesque style with baroque ornaments, and its facade covered with wooden slabs, is an emblem of the city, colored white and white where the music resonates even in the streets, you will have the feeling of being in a picturesque village in Europe.

Day 2: Puerto Varas / Chiloe (186 Km) – Castro

View of Puerto Varas

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

After Tierra del Fuego, Chiloé is the largest island in South America. The Coastal Range, which runs along the Chilean coast, crumbles here into a group of 40 islands that form the Chiloé archipelago. The large island is 180 kilometers long and is separated from the mainland by the Chacao Channel, which can be crossed in less than half an hour.

You will depart from Pargua, where you will board a ferry that crosses the Chacao Channel. For the immersion in the world of Chiloé, you will start the day sailing for 30 minutes through the Chacao Channel, where you can observe a great variety of birds, and if luck permits, the navigation will be accompanied by charming Commerson’s dolphins (cousins of dolphins) until you reach the small town of Chacao.

Suggested visit for today :

Visit the small town of Puñihuil on the west coast of the island. This large beach is in front of the islets where small colonies of Magellanic and Humboldt penguins have settled.

The local community offers sea excursions, weather permitting, to get close to these birds between October and March.

Supplement for navigation in Puñihuil: Combined service: + US$ 17. per person

Then take the road back to Ancud and continue south to the town of Castro.

Arrival and installation at the Palafito 1326 Boutique hotel , in a standard room with side view. Room available from 2:00 p.m. onwards.

Address Hotel Palafito 1326, Vía Ernesto Riquelme Nº1326, Castro Lake District – Tel +56 65 2530053

Day 03. Castro

View of Castro on the Island of Chiloe

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Suggested visit: Departure to discover the landscapes of Chiloé. The day begins with a visit to Castro and its stilt houses on the Gamboa River, the square and its church, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Next, visit the Church of Nercon (1890), a national monument recently restored and also on the Unesco heritage list. The day will continue in Dalcahue, where you can stop at its beautiful coastline for a walk in front of beautiful natural landscapes and a visit to the handicraft market, the museum, the church and the traditional port.

The word Dalcahue comes from the Huilliche language and means place of dalcas (the Huilliches are natives of Chile, forming the southern branch of the Mapuche people. They mainly inhabit the regions of rivers and lakes). These were small boats made by the Chonos (nomadic natives who inhabited this area) with 3 pieces of wood.

Free feeding
Overnight at the same hotel.

Day 04. Castro–Chaiten

Sign on the Carretera Austral towards Chaiten

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Crossing by barge with Naviera Austral, departing on Sundays. Departs at 6:00 p.m.

Buy tickets directly through the website.

2023 reference rate for a smaller vehicle 🡪 + US$ 237 per vehicle

6 hours of navigation by barge to reach Chaitén.

Free feeding

Accommodation at Hotel Yelcho or similar

Day 05. Chaiten

Breakfast at the hotel. Rental car.

Suggested visit.

Visits to the Chaitén lookout point and museum

Tour of the El Amarillo sector and possibility of hiking the Chaitén volcano crater trail.

Visit to Pumalín National Park, officially Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park, is a Chilean national park located in the province of Palena, Los Lagos Region in Chile. It has 402,392 hectares and was created by Supreme Decree No. 28 of February 28, 2018.

What to do in the Park?

Walk the trails of the Douglas Tompkins Pumalín National Park.

Visit the site museum in the urban radius of Chaiten (near the Blanco River).

To know the bird life of Playa Chana.

To know the Yelcho snowdrift.

Visit the Loberías de Caleta Gonzalo and Playa Santa Bárbara.

Free food. Overnight at the same hotel.

Day 06. Chaiten – Puyuhuapi

View of Puyuhuapi

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Route to Puyuhuapi (2 h 36 min (187.7 km) on Carr. Austral/Route 7)

Suggested visit:

Yelcho Lake – 49 km.

Puyuhuapi – 84 km.

Futaleufu National Reserve – 71 km.

Palena National Reserve – 39 km.

Futaleufu River – 68 km. Austral Route – 18 km.

Puyuhuapi Hot Springs – 82 km.

Free feeding

Lodging at the Hosteria Alemana or similar

Day 07. Puyuhuapi

View of the hanging snowdrift in Puyuhuapi

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Suggested visit:

Queulat National Park

Hanging snowdrift

Free feeding

Overnight at the same hotel

Day 08. Puyuhuapi – Coihaique

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Route to Coihaique: 3 h 32 min (232.8 km) on Carr. Austral/Route 7

Suggested visit:

Visit to Puerto Ibañez and Salto del Rio Ibañez viewpoint.

Lodging at hotel El Reloj or similar

Day 09 Coihaique – Puerto Tranquilo

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Coihaique 🡪 Puerto Tranquil or 3 h 36 min (215.2 km) via Carr. Austral/Route 7

Suggested visit:

On the way to Puerto Tranquilo you will pass near the Cerro Castillo National Park where you can hike along one of the trails. one of the trails.

At the end of the afternoon, arrival at your accommodation. Valle Exploradores Aparthotel Installation in standard room.

Room available from 15:30 to 15:30 hours.

Day 10. Puerto Tranquilo

View of Puerto Tranquillo

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

In supplement navigation on the San Rafael Glacier – Puerto Tranquilo + US$ 245 per person

Departure for navigation to the San Rafael lagoon by arrangement with the Valle Exploradores hotel.

Early morning departure to Rio Tranquilo, approx. 07:00 AM a shuttle will be waiting to take you to Rio Exploradores. Once you arrive at the dock, the Spanish-English speaking guide will give you a safety briefing and general information about the navigation. After boarding the boat “La Certeza”, a smooth navigation begins along the last stretch and the delta of the Exploradores River.

Landscape of particular beauty where you will have breakfast.

After 2 hours of navigation we will arrive at Laguna San Rafael National Park. Weather and tide conditions permitting, we will take a short hike of approximately 30 minutes round trip along a small trail and visit the ruins of the historic Hotel Ofqui. Afterwards, we will return to the boat and sail to the wall of the San Rafael Glacier, so that we can contemplate its imposing fall, the beautiful landscape that surrounds it and the endless blue icebergs. And if we are lucky, we will meet some bass that live in the area, and usually sleep on the ice, we will enjoy a lunch served in the place in front of the glacier wall and as a drink we will taste a whiskey or an artisanal liqueur with ice cream from the “Glacier”. San Rafael”, good coffee and chocolate to withstand the cold. Afterwards we will begin our return to Bahia Explorers. Arrival around 16:30 at the pier and then approx. 2 hrs drive to continue admiring this beautiful landscape, around 6:30/7:00 pm arrival to Puerto Tranquilo, pick up your rental car and return to your lodging.

Overnight at the same hotel.

Day 11. Marmor Caves / Puerto Guadal

Marble Caves in Chile

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

In supplement suggested visit:

Marble Chapels and its caves in supplement + US$ 45 per person

The marble chapels are located on the crystalline shores of Lake General Carrera and are one of the most beautiful postcards of the country. This makes it one of the most important tourist attractions in Patagonia.

The Marble Cathedral (located next to the Marble Chapel) is a calcium carbonate mineral formation on the shores of Lake General Carrera, which in 1994 was named a national monument. Over the years, the waters of the lake have eroded the shoreline escarpments, creating these formations that, when the lake has little water, can be crossed using small boats.

They consist of islets located a few meters from the shore of the lake, where the Marble Cathedral, the Marble Chapel and the Marble Grotto are located.

These formations are accessible from the town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo.

After this visit you will continue on your way to Puerto Guadal.

Lodging at Terra Luna Patagonia Lodge room in main apartment

Quiet Port 🡪 Terra Luna lodge 61 km approx 1H30min (direct route without tourist stops).

Night in Puerto Guadal.

Day 12. Puerto Guadal

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Suggested visit : The Confluence of Baker River and Neff River (see picture)

Known as the “Confluence of the Baker and the Neff”, 57 kilometers south of Puerto Guadal is this essential part of the Southern Route.

In this sector the Baker River produces a waterfall, a very beautiful spectacle to appreciate up close. On the trail there is a sign indicating the beginning of the trail, you can leave the vehicle and walk to the river. This is a trail of very low difficulty. A trail of approximately 800 m with a small slope that takes you along the river. It is a short trail, which can be covered in a total of one hour.

Return to Puerto Guadal. Free feeding . Night in the same place.

Day 13: Puerto Guadal – Balmaceda – Punta Arenas

Breakfast at the hotel. Day in a rental car.

Early departure From Puerto Guadal to Balmaceda airport 4 h 18 min (250.1 km) on Carr. Austral/Route 7

Return of the rental car at Balmaceda airport.

Presentation at the airport for check-in at 1:30 p.m. and flight to Punta Arenas.

*** Flight Balmaceda – Punta Arenas, is not included ***.

Services included in the price.

Round trip price per person U$D 2,593

  • 12 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast (breakfast is not available if you check out before 07:00)
  • Pick up at Puerto Montt airport and return of rental car F3 Model Jetour GLS BN 4×2 AT or similar at Balmaceda airport for 4 days (Max 96 hrs).
  • Drop off Puerto Montt / Balmaceda
  • Cargo airport
  • Insurance only with CDW coverage for the rental car
  • Assistance in English or Spanish from our offices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Services not included

This program does not include:

  • Flights and taxes
  • Tips for guides and drivers.
  • Various extras
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals not indicated
  • Tips for porters
  • Entrance fees to national parks, sites and museums during car rental days.
  • Fuel, parking, tolls, ferries and everything including car rental costs.

Route map