Your day-by-day itinerary
Pt. Varas – Bariloche (6hrs with breaks & border crossing)
Your adventurous trip along the Andes starts right after picking up your rental car. The first drive is the longest but also the easiest ride on your journey. Today you travel to Bariloche, which is renowned for its beautiful lakeside setting and traveller-friendly atmosphere. Once you’ve checked into your accommodation, you can then spend the rest of the day exploring the many sights.
Along Ruta 40: Bariloche - Esquel (4hrs with breaks)
Your day starts with a relaxing breakfast whilst enjoying the wonderful view on Lago Nahuel Huapi. You can set off on your next drive to Esquel whenever you’re ready, but it’s best to drive in the daylight – not least so you can take in the incredible views along the way. Esquel is an unfussy working town with a genuine feel to it, and also a hub for various hiking and adventure activities.
From Argentina to Chile: Esquel – Futaleufú (3hrs with border crossing)
There’s not far to go today, but we’d recommend early start as you travel back to Chile. You’ll pass through the town of Trevelin, where you can do a short side trip to the National Park Los Alerces and see the impressive conifers that reach dead straight for the sky, and are capable of becoming several thousand years old. Afterwards you’ll head to the mountain village Futaleufú in Chile, and if you get there early enough (and you feel brave enough) then there are lots of rafting and jet-boat excursions on offer to fill your afternoon.
Along the Lake: Futaleufú – Lago Yelcho (3.5hrs with breaks)
You’ll need to drive a little slower today, since the roads get a little bumpy as you make your way to Lago Yelcho – your hideaway for the next 2 nights. It’s a beautiful drive along the lakeside, and your hotel is situated right on the shore, surrounded by nature. There are plenty of hikes and other activities you can arrange locally, or you can just sit and stare at that view…
Ferry Crossing: Lago Yelcho – Hornopirén (7.5hrs with ferry ride & breaks)
Sadly it’s time for you to say goodbye to the beautiful Lago Yelcho, as today you’ll cross hilly and narrow streets on your way through Chaitén and the Pulmanin Park on your way to the ferry-port at Leptepú. It’s a relaxing crossing taking around 45 minutes, and after the ferry has arrived you’ll drive to your cosy Hostería in Hornopirén where you stay the night.
Hornopirén – Puerto Varas (2-5hrs, depending on your route)
Early in the morning you bid farewell to your host, start the engine and set off for your last destination. You can either choose the fast way to Puerto Varas, which includes another ferry crossing, and enjoy your last day in the unhurried town, or drive the longer distance where narrow gravel roads will lead you along still lakes to Ensenada, and eventually to Puerto Varas.
Your Patagonian road-trip ends in Puerto Varas. We recommend staying one night longer in Puerto Varas to explore the beauty of this city. Let your adventure end with a glass of Chilean wine, while enjoying the wonderful view on the Osorno volcano.
Combine this trip with...
Where to next? This trip goes together perfectly with these: