SELF DRIVE PROGRAM AUSTRAL ROAD IN AYSEN – CHELENKO TOUR (8D-7N)

Aysen Region

September to May (8 days and 7 nights)

The Carretera Austral (Austral Road) is a scenic route in Patagonia and is quite unique in the world. More than 1.000 kilometres of natural beauty in the south of the planet. With its great diversity of landscapes, is perfect for adventure activities such as hiking, fishing at Baker River, mountain biking, kayaking and rafting in rivers like Futaleufú. In this self-drive program of 7 nights, you will be able to discover the most beautiful zones of the Carretera Austral together with spectacular activities.

Day 1 – Balmaceda Airport- Cerro Castillo National Reserve

Arrive at Balmaceda Airport with a welcome kit with local goods and amenities, we will set you up with your rented car and you will be ready to head south to the town of Villa Cerro Castillo. As you head on the Carretera Austral the first interesting spot that will strike your eye is going to be the Cerro Castillo National Park, its native forest and Portezuelo Canyon will amaze you. Also on this road, you will have the chance of spotting our native dear called the Huemul. As you continue the road, to your right the majestic Cerro Castillo will be your beautiful partner, then when you arrive in the town of Villa Cerro Castillo we recommend trying their local beer called Caiquen. Approximately 12 kilometres south of the town you have to turn to your left on Las Ardillas to head for another 12 kilometres until you reach Lake Tamango Cabins or similars, the place with the best view of Castillo Hill. Rest here and be prepared for the next day.

Notes: optional activities like Mountainbike and Horseriding are available at extra cost.

Included:  car rental, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 2 – Cerro Castillo National Reserve – Puerto Rio Tranquilo

08:00. Early breakfast in Lake Tamango so that you can have energy for a mid to high-intensity trek to Cerro Castillo. You have to head back to the town of Villa Cerro Castillo so that you enter the Cerro Castillo National Park. This incredible hike on its way will let you have an amazing panoramic view of all of the Rio Ibañez Valley and your first encounter with Chile’s biggest lake, General Carrera. As you reach the middle of this 5 – 6 hour trek (both ways), you will be closer to the objective of the Castle. When you reach the top of this lovely trek the clear blue colour of the Castillo Lagoon and its glacier will leave you speechless. Rest for 40 minutes to 1 hour, hydrate, and then head back to the town.

Now you have to go back to your car and drive to the town of Puerto Río Tranquilo. On the way you will have the chance to see a real cemetery of native forests that were initiated because of the eruption of the Hudson Volcano some years ago, you will pass through the Portezuelo Cofre and a jungle-like native forest as well as the town of Bahia Murta, after a 4 – 5 hours drive you will reach the town of Puerto Río Tranquilo and rest in Rinconada Cabins (Cabañas La Rinconada) or similar.

Note: entrance fee Cerro Castillo National Park not included (CLP 18.000 / USD 25 approx). Once in Puerto Río Tranquilo please go to Turismo Valle Leones in order to check in for the Kayak Excursion the next day.

Included:  car rental, self-guided activity, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 3 – Puerto Rio Tranquilo – Kayak in Marmol Cathedral

7:00. Very early breakfast in Puerto Rio Tranquilo to start a day full of activities. You head to a special place called Bahia Mansa to star kayaking to the Marble Caves in the General Carrera Lake. Turquoise water contrasted by a rainbow of colours that have been produced due to erosion through thousands of years will leave you breathless. When you finish this incredible activity, you head back to the town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo for a quick lunch (not included) and a brief of the local guide that will join you for the afternoon activity, Cumbre de Cipreses Hike. On this 4 hour trek, you will be immersed in an evergreen native forest full of vegetation, liken, moss and humidity. Your guide will make sure that you can interpret each and every element. As you head back to the town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo make sure that you try the local beer as well as the local restaurants. Rest in Rinconada Cabins or similar.

Included:  car rental, excursion, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 4 – Puerto Rio Tranquilo – San Rafael Glacier Excursion

06:45. Pick up at the cabins for a special full-day activity to the San Rafael Glacier. First a 2-hour drive along the road to Bahia Exploradores, some people consider this road to be one of the most iconic roads in the world and a real “summary of the whole Carretera Austral”. As you reach Bahia Exploradores you will start a fast boat ride on the Exploradores River, local guides will give you a nice breakfast and head to the Tempanos Lagoon, a place where you get out of the boat to hear some of the San Rafael Park’s histories. As you go back to the boat, the crew will offer you lunch that is made by local cooks, then when you finish this great meal, the main attraction is the San Rafael Glacier. More than 80 meters of ice will amaze you and will make you remember how small we are in the world. As you head back to Bahia Exploradores you will have a chance to take a quick nap before the 2-hour drive to Puerto Rio Tranquilo. Rest on Rinconada Cabins or similar.

Note: this day you won’t use the vehicle as the tour includes transportation. Breakfast is included during the tour.

Included:  Breakfast on tour, car rental, excursion, lunch, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 5 – Puerto Rio Tranquilo – Puerto Guadal & Rivers Confluence

09:00. Breakfast in Puerto Rio Tranquilo and then take your vehicle and head south to La Confluencia. This is an incredible confluence of the biggest rivers of Chile, the Baker River and the Neff River, another chance of remembering how nature is much more powerful and bigger than us.

After visiting the confluence, head back north for approximately 20 kilometres to Puerto Guadal and do a hike on the Fossils of Guadal (entrance fee included). Here you will have a chance to learn more about the history of the General Carrera Lake through the interpretation of fossils. As you finish, head to the town and rest in Mirador de Guadal or similar.

Included:  car rental, self guided activity, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 6 – Puerto Guadal- Chile Chico & Jeinimeni Reserve

08:00. Breakfast in Mirador de Guadal and head to the town of Chile Chico (2 hours approx) through the iconic Pass of the Keys, a well-known passage by the locals that was very dangerous and beautiful at the same time. As you arrive in the town of Chile Chico, you have to head to the Jeinimeni National Reserve (1:30 hours approx), here you will hike on the Valle Lunar trek, where you will be accompanied by a whole different landscape, Patagonian pampa (a type of dessert) and lots of flora and fauna from this area. As you finish (3:30 hours approx) this amazing trek you head back to the town of Chile Chico to rest in Hosteria de la Patagonia or similar.

Note: Entrance fee to Jeinimeni Reserva is not included (CLP 5.000 / USD 8 approx).

Included:  car rental, self-guided activity, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 7 – Chile Chico- Coyhaique

07:00. Breakfast. Head to the pier for the ferry at 8:00 through General Carrera Lake and after 2 hours arrive in the town of Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez. Here you will head to a scenic internal road to see the Salto Ibañez, a very big waterfall where you can realize the amount of water that this incredible river has. From this point you will head to Tamango Lake where you will encounter a new viewpoint of the Cerro Castillo, then you will head back to Coyhaique and rest in Raices Hotel or similar.

Included:  car rental, self-guided activity, navigation, bedroom and breakfast.

 

Day 8 – Coyhaique- Balmaceda Airport

Breakfast. Head south to Balmaceda Airport (45 min to 1 hour from Coyhaique) to drop off the vehicle and take your flight back. We recommend leaving Coyhaique 3 hours before your flight time.

Note: Optional self-guided excursions in Coyhaique in case you have time. Rio Simpson National Reserve, Coyhaique National Reserve and extra cost rafting at Simpson River.

Included:  car rental

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