Offbeat Andes – Carretera Austral & Ruta 40

Prices from £845 pp

red plane icon All prices exclude international flights at the start/end of your trip. Let us book flights for you. 

View day-by-day

Duration7 days / 6 nights (flexible)

LocationPuerto Varas - Bariloche - Esquel - Futaleufú - Chaitén & Lago Yelcho - Hornopirén - Puerto Varas

Call us 01273 322398


Experience a unique road-trip which combines the breath-taking nature of Patagonia with a bucket-load of adventure, as you cross narrow and bumpy roads on your journey through the south of the continent. Far off the beaten track, the Carretera Austral and Ruta 40 wind their way alongside the Andes, crossing through both Argentina and Chile. Over the next few days, you’ll discover tiny rural towns, stunning mountain landscapes, wide plains, snow-capped volcanos, and very few tourists.

What's included

  • Accommodation with breakfast – price based on 2 people sharing
  • 4×4 Car hire, with insurance and border fees
  • Route map

Create your own holiday itinerary 1. Add at least 3 chosen trips to your travel plan 2. Send it our way 3. Our travel specialists will get planning and send you a quote

Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Pt. Varas – Bariloche (7.5hrs 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.

road along the Andes in Chile

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.

Ruta 40 Esquel Bariloche Chile

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.

From Argentina to Chile: Esquel – Futaleufú (3hrs with border crossing)

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…

travelling girl staring at landscape Lago Yelcho

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 Caleta Gonzalo. 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.

bridge street Carretera Austral Chile

Hornopirén – Puerto Varas (between 2 and 6hrs, 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 – the views along the way make it well worth a detour, if you have time.

church snow-capped volcano Osorno

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.

street along the Andes road trip Chile
Travel specialist Ceri standing in vineyards

Speak to our Chile specialist, Ceri

Contact our travel specialist, Ceri, to help plan your Chile holiday.

Combine this trip with

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