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Patagonian Fjords, Forests and Glaciers

Duration

15 Days

Drive Grade

2

Drive / Rest day

13 / 2 

Sealed / Dirt

75% / 25%

Distance

2,800 km / 1,750 mi


Chile & Argentina: Discover a landscape of fjords, forests, glaciers and towering mountains as you drive through extraordinary Patagonia

Legendary untamed Patagonia, a wild and isolated landscape that is a playground for intrepid adventurers. Its wind-swept plains, glaciated mountain ranges, snow-capped peaks and turquoise lakes stretch for thousands of kilometres. Travel the mountainous fjord lands of the epic Carretera Austral, witness ice calving from still advancing glaciers, stay at authentic working estancias and revel in some of the finest scenery on earth. This is a 4WD trip that is overloaded with scenic superlatives.

Dates and Pricing

28th Dec 2024 to 12th Jan 2025
Tour code: PF/281224
from US$6,300.00
View prices
28th Dec 2025 to 12th Jan 2026
Tour code: PF/281225
from US$6,300.00
View prices

Tour Highlights


Itinerary


Day 1: Your Santiago airport transfer will take you directly to our joining hotel, ready for the early start tomorrow. Today you will meet your crew for your tour briefing and welcome dinner.
Day 2: We take a short, early morning, flight south to Puerto Montt, the gateway to Patagonia and the mighty Andes. We shall take possession of our vehicles and depart Puerto Montt it isn’t long before we are into the wilderness and catching our first ferry across the Relocncavi Estuary offering superb views of the wooded coastline of this beautiful fjord. Tonight, we stay in Hornopiren spectacularly located on the edge of the Hornopiren National Park.
Day 3: It’s a short drive today as we spend some time on ferries that form part of the Carretera Austral Road network, sailing between majestic fjords lined with forest. We exit the ferry at Caleta Gonzalo, beautifully located on the Reñihue fjord and the gateway to the Pumalín National Park, home to some of the most pristine wilderness areas left on earth, before arriving at Chaitén.
Day 4: Today's drive is yet more breathtaking than the last. We continue through Pumalín National Park, a landscape of lush forests, waterfalls, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and jaw dropping beauty. We eventually reach Futaleufú located on the shore of the turquoise waters of the Río Espolon.
Day 5: Today we continue south along the Carretera Austral through a landscape of endless forests and fjords. Tonight, will be spent at the wonderful Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa wonderfully located on an island in a fjord and can only be accessed by a boat, it’s a real wilderness treat far from any settlement.
Day 6: Leaving the lodge behind we enter the rainforests of the Queulat National Park before a 3-hour return trek in to see the amazing Ventisquero Hanging Glacier, a glacier that towers above a rocky cliff and calves into the valley below. We spend the night at Coyhaique located in the shadow of Cerro McKay.
Day 7: Continuing along the Carretera Austral on a mix of paved and dirt roads we eventually reach the beautiful village of Puerto Río Tranquillo beautifully located on the shores of the majestic Lago General Carrera, South Americas second largest lake. We spend the next two nights here allowing us to explore this breathtaking region.
Day 8: A day out of the vehicles we will take a journey out onto Lago General Carrera to visit the remarkable rock formations and caves known as Capillas de Mármol or Marble Chapels. We can also drive the incredibly scenic Camino Exploradores out the UNESCO listed San Rafael National Park or perhaps simply relax in the village for the day.
Day 9: Our first border crossing today as we cross the Andes into Argentina. The drive is yet another scenic overload that will see us endlessly stopping for photos and to take it all in. We are on the eastern, and much drier, side of the Andes now and hit the legendary Ruta 40 as we turn south before reaching the wonderful Telken Estancia, a still working sheep station in Argentinean Patagonia.
Day 10: The scenery now is utterly different from the “other” side of the Andes; we are now in a vast desertscape of yawning valleys dotted with remote estancias. It’s a big drive today as we travel due north through vast empty Patagonia along the renown Ruta 40 to Esquel a town made famous by Bruce Chatwins “in Patagonia” book.
Day 11: A stunning drive north today via the breathtaking Parque Nacional Los Alerces and skirting the shores of Lago Futalaufquen to Bariloche. Known as the Switzerland of Patagonia complete with its chocolate shops and St Bernard dogs in the main square Bariloche has a jaw dropping location surrounded by 1000-year-old forests, crystal clear lakes and the snowcapped Andes, it's quintessentially Patagonia.
Day 12: We spend a full day in Bariloche where we can explore this extraordinary area. We can drive the stunning Circuito Chico visiting the luxurious Llao Llao Resort for a snack or lunch. Perhaps take a chairlift up to Cerro Campanario for epic views of the lakes and mountains or explore the Swiss architecture, and chocolate shops, downtown.
Day 13: Today is another breathtaking day as we drive along the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi heading north. We then drive what is regarded as Argentina’s finest road trip Ruta de los Siete Lagos or 7 Lakes Drive. It’s a spectacular day of paved & dirt driving amongst the forests and lakes of the Argentinean Lakes District. We overnight at the wonderful village of San Martín de Los Andes on the shores of the blue waters of Lago Lácar.
Day 14: Returning south a little we cross back into Chile and enter a region of volcanos and lakes in what is known as the Chilean Lakes District before arriving back at Puerto Montt after being immersed in some of the most spectacular scenery and wonderful isolation on earth.
Day 15: Our final day will see us take the short flight back north to Santiago where will have our last group dinner together and where we can reminisce over the last two weeks.
Departure Day: Spend a couple more days in Santiago or depart to your next destination, the choice is yours.

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Included


  • Airport Transfers
  • Santiago–Puerto Montt & Puerto Montt–Santiago flights
  • Fuel & tolls
  • 14 nights’ accommodation in 3, 4 & 5 star hotels
  • 1 night accommodation in estancia stay
  • 15 breakfasts
  • 11 lunches
  • 11 Dinners
  • Services of Compass Expeditions leader and support staff
  • Access to Compass Expeditions App / Chock full of tour info, route maps & what to expect
  • Pre-departure material
  • Access to satellite phone, pay per minute
  • Compass Expeditions tour shirt
  • Entrances to all attractions & excursions mentioned in the itinerary

Not Included


  • International Flights
  • Visas (if required)
  • Personal Health/Travel Insurance
  • Tips and gratuities
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Upgrades


All accommodation is twin, double or family share, if you would like a single room there will be a single supplement:
US$ 2,025. Please note that you will be required to share bathrooms during your estancia stay.

Our 4x4s are insured and have a damage excess of US$ ???, you can reduce the excess by taking advantage of our Excess Reduction Policy: US$ 25 per day

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Drive Details


Drive Profile

75% of this tour is on sealed roads. Some sections of pavement will be rough, potholed, and narrow with tall & damaged shoulders. Pavement can end with no warning. While a lot of these roads are virtually empty some traffic must be expected around the larger towns we visit.

25% of this tour is on dirt roads. These dirt tracks range from rough wheel tracks through rainforests and across lofty mountain passes with loose surfaces with some corrugations. On the Carretera Austral we should expect some roadworks and these roadworks can be muddy if it’s been raining. As with all dirt tracks, conditions change and the above is a guide only.


Tour Start/End

Tour Start: Santiago, Chile
Tour End: Santiago, Chile


Climate

It is early summer in Patagonia, so we should expect some beautiful sunny days. Average daily temperatures at this time of year around Puerto Montt are between 2° & 20°C (45° & 67°F). As we travel south the temperatures may be slightly cooler and some rain could be expected in the rainforest regions of the Carretera Austral. Once we cross onto the Eastern side of the Andes onto Ruta 40 strong winds can be expected and the temperature should rise slightly.


Important Information

  • All drivers must have a valid driver’s license and at least two years driving experience.
  • It is a requirement that all travelers have appropriate insurance for this type of expedition.
 
 
Drive Grade
2
 

Drive Distance
2,800 km / 1,750 mi

 

Sealed / Dirt
75% / 25%

Accommodation


  • 15 nights of accommodation
  • Our accommodation ranges from small family run guest houses and estancias through to 4-star hotels.
  • A flexible attitude is needed as standards are not always what we are accustomed to.
  • All accommodation is on a twin, double or family share basis. If you are traveling alone we will pair you up with another solo traveler. However, if you prefer single accommodation a single supplement is available: US$ 2,025.00.
  • Your estancia stay will have shared bathroom facilities.
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Dining


  • On every day of the tour, we include breakfast: 15 Breakfasts
  • On mentioned drive days we provide a picnic lunch that we prepare ourselves from our mobile kitchen or from local restaurants: 11 Lunches
  • We include mentioned dinners in reliable restaurants and estancias we have used many times before: 11 Dinners
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4 Wheel Drives


 

Toyota Hilux

Seating Capacity on our tour: 4 (1 driver & 3 passengers)

The "unbreakable" Hilux is a legendary 4x4 dual cab, unmatched in its popularity around the world. This vehicle is ideally suited to Patagonia, with a little comfort thrown in. 

 

Ford Ranger

Seating Capacity on our tour: 4 (1 driver & 3 passengers)

Enjoy driving this luxurious 4WD through Patagonia. This is an ideal vehicle for the terrain experienced in Patagonia. 

 

Insurance


Accidents happen, luggage is lost and tour or flight cancellations can occur, so it is our policy that all participants of Compass Expeditions tours have an appropriate level of travel insurance to cover the unforeseen. This is not only compulsory when joining our tours, but it makes sense.

If choosing your own insurance – for motorcycle tours it is crucial the insurance policy you choose will offer a policy for riding a motorcycle OVER 250cc (including our bikes). This is a critical point to ensure when purchasing a policy.

Our experienced In-house travel team are happy to help with getting you the right insurance for your tour and for any other travel you might be doing before or after. Contact our in-house travel team.

So you’ve read all the info and think you’re ready?...