Carretera Austral, Aysen

An exclusive proposal of Walk Patagonia to travel the Carretera Austral, famous for its surreal landscapes, its picturesque localities, and its pristine nature.

Day 1
Puerto Tranquilo

Arrival in Puerto Tranquilo, from Balmaceda Airport (Chile) or from Los Antiguos, crossing via Chile Chico (border with Argentina).

Overnight: Hostal El Puesto, or similar.

Day 2
Excursión a las Capillas de Mármol

We can visit these interesting geological formations by boat or kayak. The kayak option, which takes half a day, can be done in the morning or afternoon, based on the weather forecast.

The rest of the day is free to rest or take a stroll along the seafront.

– Overnight: Hostal El Puesto, or similar.

Day 3
Guided trekking in Valle Exploradores

After breakfast, we depart with our guide towards Valle Exploradores, where we venture into the forest up a steep hill until reaching a lookout point offering marvellous views of the Glacier and Monte San Valentín, the highest peak in Chilean Patagonia. Continuing a little further, we’ll enter a valley flanked by narrow, vertical walls, and get closer to the Glaciers jutting from the Northern Ice Field.

We’ll choose a spot with a fine view for lunch, before retracing our steps back to our vehicle and return to our hostel for a well-earned rest.

– Overnight: Hostal El Puesto, or similar

Day 4
Caleta Tortel

Today, we travel down another section of the Carretera Austral to the picturesque town of Caleta Tortel, nestled in a zone of archipelagos with endless islands, channels and estuaries, and rugged mountain ranges crowned by glaciers.

In the afternoon, we visit Isla de los Muertos (the Island of the Dead), which can also be visited by boat or kayak.

– Overnight: Hostería Baker, or similar.

Day 5
Trip to Villa O’Higgins

We have a free morning, with an optional short walk in the surrounding area and a small ascent (rewarding us with nice views).

Our journey continues to Villa O’Higgins, where the Carretera Austral comes to an end.

– Overnight: Hostal El Mosco, or similar.

Day 6
Guided trekking in the area surrounding Villa O’Higgins

Our guide will come to meet us in the Hostel to chat about the different hiking options in the area.

There are several routes available, all with stunning views and very rugged paths.

Full-day trekking excursions:

– Cerro Submarino

– Río Mosco Refuge

– Tigre Glacier Lookout

– Overnight: Hostal El Mosco, or similar.

Day 7
Crossing to Candelario Mansilla

Today, we embark on the lake transfer that connects the different towns of the southern region of Aysén and arrive in the beautiful spot of Candelario Mansilla.

If time allows, we can go on a small walk in the area surrounding the farm, to marvel at the views or even visit a border marker.

Candelario Mansilla is still today an operating farm, inhabited and run by the direct descendants of the founder.

– Overnight: Candelario Mansilla Farm, basic facilities (private room with shared bathroom)

Day 8
Crossing to Argentina

After breakfast, and completing the border formalities at the Carabineros detachment, we set out on a 24-km hike from Candelario Mansilla to Gendarmería Argentina (Argentinian border police), in Punta Norte, Lago del Desierto (Del Desierto Lake).

Upon arrival, we’ll register our entry into Argentina and then take a boat across the lake. In Punta Sur, a driver will be waiting to take us to El Chaltén through a picturesque, scenic route along a gravel road.

– Overnight: Patagonia Hostel, or similar.

Day 9
Free trekking in Los Glaciares National Park

El Chaltén is the National Trekking Capital of Argentina. There are several trails for hiking inside and outside the park. Some examples:

Full-day trails:

Laguna de los Tres

Laguna Torre

Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

– Overnight: Patagonia Hostel, or similar

Day 10
Self-guided trekking and subsequent travel to El Calafate

Today, we have the chance to enjoy another day of trekking in El Chaltén and then travel to El Calafate or depart for El Calafate in the morning and have a free afternoon there.

The transport is by public bus and takes around 3 hours.

– Overnight: Hostal Cauquenes de Nimez, or similar.

Day 11
Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier

There are several options for visiting this crown jewel of southern Patagonia: by boat, walking along the walkways, and trekking with crampons on the glacier. Based on your choice, we’ll arrange your preferred excursion.

– Overnight: Hostal Cauquenes de Nimez, or similar.

Day 12
Airport Transfer

One of our company’s drivers will take you from your hotel in El Calafate to the local airport. End of services.

Notes:

  • This trip can be done in a hire car or through a combination of private transfers. Please ask.
  • For the crossing between Candelario Mansilla and Gendarmería Argentina, horses can be hired to transport luggage. The horses must be booked in advance.
  • If you have any extra days spare, we recommend planning a longer stay in Villa O’Higgins or El Chaltén, where you’ll have the chance to do numerous trekking circuits and mountain activities.
  • This circuit can be combined with a later journey to or stay in Torres del Paine National Park. Please ask.
  • This journey can also be done in reverse. Please ask.

We do not recommend booking a flight with less than 5 days’ difference between Day 7 and the day of the flight (i.e. the flight would be day 12 or later), given that the boat crossing from Candelario Mansilla to Gendarmería Argentina is heavily dependent on the weather, and is often cancelled due to strong winds.

This includes:

Accommodation:

  • 3 nights of accommodation in Hostal El Puesto, or similar, in Puerto Tranquilo.
  • 1 night of accommodation in Hostería Baker, or similar, in Caleta Tortel.
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Hostal El Mosco, or similar, in Villa O’Higgins.
  • 1 night of accommodation in Candelario Mansilla, with basic facilities
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Patagonia Hostel, or similar, in El Chaltén
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Hostal Cauquenes de Nimez, or similar, in El Calafate

Meals:

  • Breakfasts: Days 2 to 12
  • Box lunches: Days: 3, 6, 7 and 8.
  • Dinners: Day 7.
  • Transfers:
  • This programme can be done in hire car (which would be collected in Balmaceda Airport, and returned in the town of Villa O’Higgins), or through a combination of private transfers. In either case, the transfers included from day 7 onwards are detailed below:
  • Lake transfer from Villa O’Higgins to Candelario Mansilla
  • Lake transfer from Punta Norte to Punta Sur (Del Desierto Lake)
  • Land transfer from Punta Sur, Del Desierto Lake to El Chaltén.
  • Public transport from El Chaltén to the airport or city of El Calafate.

Excursions:

  • Excursion to the Capillas de Mármol (Marble Caves).
  • Guided trekking in Valle Exploradores.
  • Excursion to the Isla de los Muertos (Island of the Dead).
  • Guided trekking in the area surrounding Villa O’Higgins.
  • Optional extra: guided trekking can be added in the Los Glaciares National Park (El Chaltén)
  • Others:
  • Tour/Mountain Guide (Days: 2, 3, 4 and 6).
  • Optional extra: the services of a guide can be requested for days 7 and 8 (the guide will meet you in Candelario Mansilla)
  • Permanent support during the tour (Argentina and Chile).

This doesn’t include:

  • Internal transfers (e.g.: to a restaurant)
  • Meals not mentioned.
  • Personal equipment (look at the recommended kit list).
  • Travel insurance.
  • Anything not specified in the programme.

 

Recommended personal kit list:

  • Backpack (60 litres).
  • Warm hat.
  • Cap/sun hat.
  • Buff/scarf (to keep your neck warm).
  • Short and long-sleeved t-shirts (synthetic).
  • Waterproof jacket with hood (like Gore-Tex).
  • Trekking trousers.
  • Waterproof trousers.
  • Warm gloves.
  • Light waterproof trekking boots.
  • Trekking poles (telescopic).
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Sun block (SPF 40) and lip balm.
  • Nalgene-style 1-litre water bottle.
  • Tape/Compeed for blisters.
  • Personal hygiene kit.
  • Large plastic bag.
  • iPod, small book, camera, etc.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 12 days and 11 nights (with the possibility of extending the schedule)
  • 5 Moderate | Requires experience in trekking
  • October to March
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