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Refugio Cerro Castillo
This country-style accommodation features relaxing rooms, a cozy lounge and a delicious breakfast.
Explore the stunning Aysen Region and Lago General Carrera on the Aysen Patagonia self-drive tour
The Aysen Patagonia Tour is a unique self-drive adventure in Chile that whisks you away into the Chilean Andes to journey along Chile’s largest lake, Lago General Carrera. The stunning coastline that paves the way for the Carretera Austral (Route 7) will be your playground on this wondrous Chilean self-guided tour.
Over 8 adventure-filled days on this spectacular Aysen tour, you’ll explore the unique natural wonders of Chile’s Aysén region including highlights like Lago General Carrera’s impressive marble caves and the mighty Baker River. Enjoy incredible hiking in the Cerro Castillo and Patagonia National Parks where you’ll stand in awe of imposing glaciers, azure lagoons and snow-capped peaks. Experience lively cities like Coyhaique and get off the beaten path as you visit and stay in the small villages of Puerto Guadal and Chile Chico.
Enjoy the ease of this Aysen Patagonia self-drive tour that includes car rental and a GPS app with trek coordinates. Discover the beauty and excitement of southern Chile for yourself on this unique self-drive adventure!
Jointly shared by both Argentina and Chile, Lago General Carrera (also referred to as Lake Buenos Aires in Argentina) is a glacial lake set within the rugged landscape of the Andes mountain range. Featuring a surface of 1,850 km², the lake is the fourth largest in Argentina and the largest in Chile.
Due to its breathtaking surroundings and a small number of settlements along the shore, Lago General Carrera is a popular destination for tourists, particularly those traveling through the province of Aysén, Chile. If you are hoping to take in the natural beauty of Chilean or Argentinean Patagonia, then a stop to visit Lago General Carrera is a must!
The journey begins at Balmaceda Airport in Southern Chile’s Aysén province. After picking up your rental car, travel south on the Carretera Austral that traverses Chile’s remote south. It doesn’t take long before you get to enjoy spectacular views of the Cerro Castillo mountain range on the right-hand side. Tonight you’ll spend the night at a comfortable hotel in Villa Cerro Castillo.
On the second day of this Aysen Patagonia Tour, you will visit Cerro Castillo National Park, which has become a new attractive hiking destination over the past few years and is beloved by both locals and visitors. There are various options to explore the landscape today!
You can ascend to the “Laguna” of the Cerro Castillo Mountain massif on a well-marked trail where you’ll enjoy views of the wide valley, mountains, and the village below. On this 3-4 hour hike that leads past imposing glaciers, you’ll reach the lagoon with the majestic peaks of the Cerro Castillo in the background. Take your time to enjoy the incredible surroundings, before descending the same way.
Today on your Chilean self-drive tour, your trip continues south on the Carretera Austral. Follow the course of the Murta River until it finally flows into Chile’s largest lake, Lago General Carrera, whose blue-green glacier water is visible from far away. Near Puerto Rio Tranquilo, stop to visit the Marble Caves, a unique geological formation made mostly of marble on the pristine shores of the lake. The rock formation “Capilla de Mármol” (Marble Chapel) is one of its highlights. Afterwards, the journey continues along the shore until you reach lively Puerto Guadal, a small town found on the south-west edge of Lage General Carrera.
Before departing Puerto Guadal this morning, check out the “Fossil Mountain” and the impressive waterfall Los Maquis, both well worth a visit.
Later on, continue your Aysen travelling experience along the southern shore of Lago General Carrera to the small village of Chile Chico, located near the Argentine border. Its mild microclimate allows for the cultivation of cherries and other fruits, which is why it is also called the Chilean “sun city”!
Discover Patagonia’s breathtaking landscape on a unique hike in the recently opened Patagonia National Park (formerly Reserva Jeinimeni). The 7.4km (4.6 mi) long circular trail of medium difficulty starts about one hour from Chile Chico and takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete.
Marvel at the 40m (130ft) high freestanding rock ‘Piedra Clavada’ in the middle of the pampa and discover the cave ‘Cueva de las Manos’ with countless old wall paintings, dating to several thousand years ago and one of the most important cultural legacies of this region. The colorful rock formations of Valle Lunar will remind you of a lunar landscape. On the way, you are likely to encounter wild guanacos and condors, and if you’re lucky, even pumas!
Drive back along the southern shore of the lake to the village of Puerto Bertrand, where you stay amid beautiful scenery near the eponymous lake. It is the source of the Baker, one of Chile’s mightiest rivers, which flows together with the Neff about 20km (12 mi) further south. This spectacular confluence is definitely worth a detour!
Today´s journey on the Carretera Austral leads back north to Coyhaique, the largest city in the region. Back in “civilization”, there are superb options for restaurants, cultural sightseeing, and shopping!
Drop off your rental car at Balmaceda Airport. From here you can continue your trip to another region of Chile or fly back home via Santiago.
This self-drive tour in Aysen is always run as a private tour for your group only and the price per person depends on the types of the rooms that your group chooses.
The prices below are per person:
This tour is based in midrange hotels that offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant.
In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.
Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Standard rooms are of double occupancy and those willing to have single rooms will need to pay a supplement (on request).
This country-style accommodation features relaxing rooms, a cozy lounge and a delicious breakfast.
Guests will enjoy lake views and a welcoming atmosphere at this waterfront lodge in Puerto Guadal.
This home-away-from home provides everything you need for a delightful cabana stay including a kitchen, cozy sitting area and decks.
This lodge stay in Puerto Bertrand invites guests to enjoy an in-house restaurant as well as several room amenities such as a kitchenette, fridge and full bathroom. Soak up the beauty of Patagonia at this charming lodge stay.
Overlooking the Patagonian Andes, this cozy hotel features only 8 rooms, making for a small and laid-back environment in a beautiful setting.
7 breakfasts are included.
Accommodations for 7 nights are included.
This is a self-drive tour where you’ll be driving a rental car throughout the tour duration. It starts with picking your vehicle in Balmaceda and dropping it off in the same location on the last day of the tour.
How hard is the Aysen Self-drive Tour?
We rate this tour as a 2 / 5. Although most of the hikes on this tour can be swapped for easier alternatives, being reasonably fit will help you to get the most out of this tour.
Do I need a visa to travel to Chile?
Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.
Are meals included on the Aysen Self-drive Tour?
7 breakfasts are included.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, it is mandatory to have health and medical insurance to join this trip, and your insurance should cover hiking. Get your Travel Insurance.
Is the vehicle insurance included?
Yes, vehicle rental includes Collision Damage Waiver, however, there is a 240 USD deductible, and some exceptions apply. Please enquire for more info.
How do I get to Balmaceda to start this tour?
Fly into Balmaceda Airport in Puerto Montt which can be reached from several cities in Southern America.
Is the Aysen Self-drive Tour in English?
This tour is self-guided, therefore guide services are not included. However, you will be provided with GPS-app with trek coordinates in English.
Where does the Aysen Self-drive Tour end?
The tour ends where it starts, in Balmaceda with your rental vehicle rental drop off.
Do I need special vaccines to travel to Chile?
Check with your family doctor.
Are there any travel restrictions for Chile?
Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.
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We rate the Aysen Patagonia Self-Drive Tour as a 2 / 5. Although most of the hikes on this tour can be swapped for easier alternatives, being reasonably fit will help you to get the most out of this tour.
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Three words: Hiking Across Andes. Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true? This 5-day Hiking in the Andes Mountains guided tour can turn that dream into a reality. Spend your days exploring the high-altitude trails among this astonishing mountain range, then rest amid nature in a tent each night.
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