- Majestic Volcan Osorno and its snow-capped peak
- Tasting the chocolates of Bariloche
- Biking the Seven Lakes Route to San Martin de los Andes
- The monkey-puzzle tree forests of Conguillio
- Sampling a tasty Malbec or Carmanere after a day’s biking
- Hiking the lofty heights of Volcan Villarica
Our tour leader was an excellent guide. In about 30 years of doing this type of tour, he was one of the best guides we have ever had. His knowledge about the area is amazing and he was always smiling.
Today you start your journey, boarding your flight to Chile and Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport Santiago (SCL), arriving the following day.
After your arrival in Santiago, Chile, you will need to clear customs and immigration before heading to the domestic terminal (just upstairs) in order to catch your internal Chilean flight to the capital of the Chilean Lake District, Puerto Montt (PMC), where you are met by your Saddle Skedaddle guides.
Following arrival, we transfer you to your hotel in Puerto Varas. Situated around 20kms from Puerto Montt it occupies a lovely position on the shores of one of the largest natural lakes in South America Lake Llanquihue. From here the perfect cone of Osorno Volcano and the snowcapped peaks of Calbuco volcano and Mt. Tronador are clearly visible from the lakefront.
It’s a great place to take things easy after a long flight(s) and with this in mind, the day is spent resting-up from your travels and preparing the bikes for the journey ahead.
Our evening meal is taken in one of the great restaurants that exist in Puerto Varas. With the area renowned for seafood, we’ll make sure this is an option. At a convenient point during the meal we’ll discuss the programme for the tour in a little more detail and be happy to answer any questions you may have.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 700 Metres Approx.
Following breakfast we load up our bikes and leave Puerto Varas by our support vehicle. This initial section takes us southwards firstly through the small settlement of Chamiza and then shortly after passing through Lenca, we skirt the dramatic Alcere Andino National Park for the final few kilometres to Caleta La Arena.
Here we board the small local ferry for the 40 minute crossing of the narrow Estuario de Reloncavi to Caleta Puelche. It’s here that we unload our bikes for the undulating unsurfaced track/road alongside Estuario de Reloncavi to Puelo. This is a truly stunning section and is a wonderful introduction to our trip and a fabulous way to begin our biking journey.
Tonight we stay in the beautifully Patagonia Puelo Lodge.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 930 Metres Approx.
Leaving our cosy lodgings by bike and following a brief crossing of one of the arms of the Estuario de Reloncavi we continue our progress northwards towards Río Puelo and to Cochamó situated at the far tip of the Estuario de Reloncavi.
We reach Cochamó after 32kms/20miles and then continue alongside the fjord for the last 14kms/9 miles, on an unsurfaced yet well packed section. For the remaining 36kms/22 miles, we’ll be cycling on a superb smooth tarmac section and finish our cycling in Ensenada.
During this last section of cycling you’ll be able to see the incredible Volcan Osorno that now dominates the skyline, with your roadside accompaniment the bright yellow shrubs of this region.
Once the bikes have been loaded up, we visit the ever impressive Saltos de Petrohué – a series of rapids and waterfalls passing over an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic rock. We’ll be now in the centre of Chile’s first National Park – Parque National Vincente Pérez Rosales (established in 1926). Accommodation tonight is in the relaxed surroundings of Las Cascadas, which is reached after a short transfer, by our support vehicle from Saltos de Petrohué.
Please Note – Although the cycling distance today is longer than other days, today’s riding will adhere itself to this longer distance. As always, the support vehicle is at hand for those wishing to do a little less time in the saddle.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 310 Metres Approx.
Dominating the skyline now is the impressive Volcan Osorno (2,660m) which we pass-by on our morning transfer from Cascadas to Salto del Indio. As we reach the edge of Parque National Puyehue it’s time to leave Chile at Paso Cardenal Samore and cross over by bike into Argentina.
With our passports stamped we take a superb well surfaced and pre-dominantly downhill route to Villa La Angostura. Situated on the edge of Lago Nahuel Huapi with its Alpine style architecture set against a backdrop of snow capped peaks and the crystal clear waters.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 640 Metres Approx.
From Lake Nahuel Haupi we follow a largely flat route along the lakeshore. As we pedal make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Nahuelito, Argentina’s answer to the Loch Ness monster!
Today’s ride really sums up what cycling in the Lake District is all about with views of snow dusted peaks to the left and to your right serene brightly coloured waters. The ride will be around 59 Kms in total with most of the cycling done before lunch, which is taken at Mirador de Bariloche. This is a great place to take a rest after the morning’s exertions with its stunning views over the Andes and lago Nahuel Huapi, the perfect accompaniment.
We end our cycling day in style with a fast 11 kms downhill on asphalt to the junction of Ruta 40 where today’s ride ends. From here we hop aboard our support vehicle for the 20-30 minute transfer to Bariloche. With its Swiss style architecture and chocolates, it is known as the St. Moritz of South America and we have set aside the rest of the afternoon to explore this lovely place.
There is perhaps only one way to end the day such a day – a juicy Argentinean steak and majestic Malbec, followed by some tasty chocolate treats.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 510 Metres Approx.
Having enjoyed the streets of chocolate shops, bars, and the numerous restaurants offering Swiss fondue and huge steaks, we bid farewell to this little part of Switzerland. Initially travelling by support vehicle we soon start our cycling on the road towards Confluencia.
En route there are wonderful rock formations high above us with equally wonderful names, – Tren Expresso, Centilla and Dedo de Dios. We are now in the Valle Encantado, and it certainly feels like it; the views are superb.
From here we follow a gravel and earth track into another very pretty valley with more rock formations and the backdrop of snow capped mountains- this is great cycling. Just before the cycling ends for the day, we spend a little time at Mirador de Lago, which offers not only spectacular views of Lago Traful, but also of the route which you have cycled today.
Pictures taken and superlatives exhausted, we cycle a series of enchanting dips, twists and turns along a wooded track that skirts Lago Tráful, for the final few kms to reach our stop for the night, Villa Tráful. These cabanas will serve as our lodgings for the night, with dinner taken in the lovely surroundings of this small town.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 970 Metres Approx.
We start our journey cycling directly from Villa Tráful along the beautiful and spectacular Ruta de Siete Lagos (the Seven Lakes Route).
The cycling route today is a real treat as we head towards the town of San Martin de los Andes. Again following a good earth road we roll and wind through woods, past beautiful lakes with snow dusted mountains in the distance.
Shortly before lunch we hop in the support vehicle for a 30 minute transfer to a great picnic spot with beautiful views to help you digest another tasty lunch. This is a very tranquil and special area as we enjoy lunch amongst our surroundings and continue past the lakes.
Back on the bikes the views again are spectacular as we ‘scoot’ along the smooth road towards San Martin de los Andes. Before reaching it we pause to take in the fantastic views and then set off on a ‘grin inducing’ descent to San Martin along kilometers of winding road. Nestled by Lago Lacar and surrounded by mountains San Martin is a real treat.
As we pull into San Martin we are further enthralled by its prettiness. We take our lodgings at a nice hotel in town and suitably refreshed set off to explore the streets.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 450 Metres Approx.
Today we are re-entering Chile! By vehicle we pass through Junin de los Andes and head for the border at Paso Tromen, unloading our bikes at Mamuil Malal. En route we get our first views of the stunning Volcan Lanin, with its almost perfect snow covered cone.
After the border crossing we are soon in Parque Villarica where the ‘monkey puzzle’ tree forests abound. Today, as with all days, there is the option to cycle as much or as little as you wish, with some people opting to cycle all the way from the pass to El Turbio. It’s here that we re-board the support vehicle for the short drive to Pucón and our lodgings.
- Meals: Breakfast
Pucón is a pleasant town with a good climate which stands on the shores of the beautiful Lago Villarica. We spend the day here exploring the surrounding countryside by bike. Popular routes include rides to one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the area.
For those looking for more adventure there is always a spot of white water rafting or the option to climb Volcan Villarica, a fantastic guided climb up its snowcapped slopes. Please note there is an additional cost of 100,000 Chilean Pesos to cover the guide and equipment rental.
This is a truly memorable experience as you mount the top and stare into its molten centre. Literally staring into the centre of the earth is a very special feeling. The sulphur fumes are not so special but the ‘surprise’ descent is simply the icing on the cake – certainly a must do! Overnight in Pucón.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 595 Metres Approx.
Breakfast finished we jump into the support vehicle for the transfer to the start of today’s ride. Today’s riding is mostly on smooth tarmac and largely flat with a gravel climb towards the end of the day, taking us in to the beautiful Parque Conguillio national park. Today’s ride follows the bottom of a valley devoted to agriculture and makes for a gentler day on the bike.
Our lodgings are in a beautiful wooden lodge in the heart of the park, where we are sure to receive a warm welcome, set in a very private and tranquil setting.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 700 Metres Approx.
So if you thought you had seen it all, think again! Parque Conguillio is an absolute gem, as within it stands Volcan Llaima, one of the most active volcanoes in South America!
Initially the riding is through woodland and then suddenly, as if the trees had been blown away, you are confronted with a barren, rocky and ash landscape, the contrast is incredible.
This is the solidified lava flow from previous eruptions and the track of the solidified ‘rivers’ of lava have spread out like fingers over the landscape destroying all in its path. Soon the route re-enters the untouched forests of beech and araucaria where the sun is obliterated by their denseness.
Also passed are the wonderful and tranquil spots of Lago Verde and Lago Conguillio, that serve as a truly fitting end to our cycling as we reach the town of Curacutin. Once here we can change from our cycling clothes and after a celebratory beer or hot drink, make a transfer to our lodgings in or near to Temuco.
Our last night is spent reminiscing about our cycling adventure, with perhaps another glass or ‘two‘ of lovely Chilean or Argentinean vino which you’ve been no doubt enjoying during your trip.
- Meals: Breakfast
Having rested at our lodgings and had a final glimpse of the mountains and volcanoes we make our way to Temuco Airport (ZCO) to catch a flight to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, from where we catch our international flights home, arriving the following day.
We will be cycling on both side of the Andes mountain range, passing fjords, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain ranges and of course lakes. That means constant highlights!
The route is approx. 70% on sealed roads and 30% on compacted wide gravel tracks, with light traffic on most days.
We‘re going to face some steep but short climbs, with fast descents, both on paved and gravel terrain. Great cycling with amazing scenery every day.
Cycling Adventures Grade
Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day
For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness
May include some steeper, cheeky climbs
Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.
This holiday had everything. It was my first visit to South America and I loved every moment. The organisation of the trip was excellent, making it easy to relax and enjoy throughout.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin rooms)
B) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service including guides, back up vehicles, etc
D) At least one tour leader qualified in First Aid procedures
E) Entrance fees to National Parks or sites which are an integral part of the itinerary
F) Airport collections from Puerto Montt airport and drops offs at Temuco airport on scheduled departure and arrival dates.
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and associated charges for travelling with a bike
C) Cost of visas (if necessary)
D) Medical check ups and inoculations
E) Tips for guides, etc
F) Travel insurance
G) Bar bills, hotel refreshments, laundry, souvenirs, etc
H) Personal clothing and equipment
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure dates
Carretera Austral & Lake District
Read on to find out more about our new trip as well as our true classic through Chile and Argentina...
The Story Behind: Chile
Find out everything about how Saddle Skedaddle was born from our founders!
Meet the guides: Ernesto, Chile
Meet our Chilean head honcho, who ensures you all enjoy the best possible cycling across the pond.
Ronen, IsraelTime of our lives!...
Skedaddle did an amazing job in planning and executing this trip, by selecting a team of professionals in Chile who carefully selected the best routes for cycling with different topography, varied landscapes views and minimum traffic. The logistics were flawless with minimum bureaucracy when crossing the border controls. We enjoyed good and well maintained rental mountain bikes, best hotels in each location which were thoughtfully selected along the route usually at the best vantage points which only locals would know about. The guides took us to excellent local restaurants and gave us recommendations for best local dishes of fish/meat and we had the chance to enjoy the best rustic and local cuisines. The only problem is that time flies too fast when you are having the time of your life! We highly recommend this trip, escorted by a great team, with beautiful landscapes, delicious food and lovely people.
Veronica, CheshireI have never experienced anything like this before!
This holiday had everything. It was my first visit to South America and I loved every moment. The organisation of the trip was excellent, making it easy to relax and enjoy throughout. The guides were simply wonderful, highly professional, engaged well with the group, fun, and extremely knowledgeable about the area. The cycling was superb and the briefings prepared us well for each days cycling (what we would see, and experience , and with very good emphasis on safety advice) The non-cycling day had plenty of options to choose from – I chose the volcano climb which was quite an experience. This is one of the very best Skedaddle holidays I have experienced.
The route selected for this holiday was really interesting, varied – Chile and Argentina – quite different. So well chosen. The accommodation provided also must be classed as excellent.
Lunches – all prepared by the guides – were simply superb. Lots of variety, all very fresh, and good, nutritious food – absolutely brilliant. We chose to eat dinners with the guides and the rest of the group for all our evening meals. The restaurants chosen by the guides were excellent and gave a good taste of local cuisine, with plenty of variety. On route refreshments were readily available – plenty of fresh water and energy providing foods.
Our tour leaders along with the two support guides made an excellent team. They made sure everything ran smoothly and were highly professional, confident and knowledgeable about the area and culture. They were very friendly and made the holiday fun and exciting. They were well organised, and paced the cycling well for the mixed group. These leaders were amongst the best we have experienced with Skedaddle holidays. The support vehicle was new, smart, well maintained and very comfortable. Plenty of room, comfortable seats and good air conditioning.
Hire bikes were superb for the terrain we were to ride on. Also very well maintained throughout the trip.
As for the cycling, I loved all of the days. The gravel trails were challenging at times with the loose surface – but I enjoyed the challenge. Tarmac roads were a good smooth surface. The scenery never failed to amaze me with such beauty and vibrant colours – just stunning. Then there were the snow capped volcanoes, clear blue waters of the lakes, the bright blue skies, monkey puzzle forests and of course the single track. Utterly amazing was the Valley of the Monuments – I have never experienced anything like this before!
Deana, USAOne of the best guides we have ever had.
Chile and Argentina Lake District is an amazing, although somewhat challenging, ride. The scenery is stunning, and the food is amazing. I had no desire to visit these two countries, really don’t know why, but my husband has always wanted to so I gave in. I am glad I did – just to be surrounded by all the volcanoes and lakes while riding is stunning. The scenery was wonderful every day with all these lakes and volcanoes, and changing plant/tree species – really there are no words for this!
Skedaddle was very responsive to all the questions we had and provided quick answers. One of the best meals for dinner was when the guides made us a BBQ dinner on New Years Eve – the food was great. The guide team made excellent, wonderful lunches every day. The snacks, mostly chocolate, on the bus were well received by one and all.
Our tour leader was an excellent guide. Very accommodating to desires and wishes of riders, very encouraging, very personable, very knowledgeable. In about 30 years of doing this type of tour, he was one of the best guides we have ever had. His knowledge about the area is amazing and his English is great. He really knew how to “lead” a tour and was always smiling. Our other guide was also excellent. His smiling personality and ability to make any situation funny/fun is amazing. He went out of his way to be helpful to everyone. He and Vicente make a truly great team and really made the ride the fun tough as it was. The driver they had for this ride, was beyond excellent. His driving was amazing, he always kept the bus clean, although his English was minimal we could always make ourselves understood and he always had a smile on his face and kind words for everyone. I think the whole group felt that he was “one of the guides” that is how involved his was with everyone’s comfort.
Dorothy, New ZealandThe best group trip I've EVER had!!
Hard to pick a favourite day – all were different and fantastic scenery. Think the day going through the “Wild West ” was my favourite. Such great variety of scenery each day – such a well thought-out itinerary. Good van support and transfers. Really lovely accommodation – real variety but superb.
Both Ernesto and Vicentes were great. They enjoyed each other’s company so much their heart-warming laughs were infectious. Great instructions without going overboard on details, but always willing to give answers about geography etc… when asked. Very helpful to me about extra bookings for ongoing travel – just wonderful guys! The training Skedaddle gives them really pays off plus their own fun personalities. Compared with any guides I’ve been with since, they are right at the very top.
Gerald, USAFantastic leadership skills from guides!
I truly appreciated Ernesto’s (tour leader) leadership skills. He has a sense of humour that you can’t help but appreciate. He was intelligent, patient and talented in multiple aspects.
Joanne, CanadaExcellent service provided every single day!
Our local guide, Ismael, and local driver/cook, Rodrigo, were excellent. They provided us with excellent service every single day and made sure our needs were met. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated their service. Rodrigo, provided us with excellent, healthy lunches every single day which we thoroughly enjoyed. He also provided healthy snacks whenever we wanted them.
Hubert, CanadaLogistics management, briefings and overall support was exemplary!
Every day was great and the briefings were excellent. Some of the gravel roads were an adjustment for this road rider. I was impressed with the quality of the paved rides. I had just previously completed a ride through Umbria and La Marche in Italy and commented on the poor quality of the roads in many areas. This was far superior.
Jason and his team were outstanding. Their logistics management, briefings and overall support was exemplary. Jason’s knowledge and briefings about the natural and historical highlights of the region greatly enhanced the overall experience. Most importantly they were a delight to be with and because of their hard work the group dynamic was a joyful experience.
Ismael, Alvaro and Victor are true pros and a great asset to your tour package. They not only provided all the support required but did so with a friendly zeal that really enhanced the overall experience. As a frequent traveller and tourism industry executive (retired) I have always emphasised that beyond the destination itself, the most important ingredient of a successful group tour is the quality of the guides. These guys are winners. And they didn’t even buy me a beer for these accolades.
Colleen, Oakville, CanadaPerfect team!
We loved all the guides – Ernesto and his team were perfect. The driving was fantastic and they were always there to answer any questions we had with a smile. They worked together so well and did everything they could to make us have the best time possible. It was great to see them having fun amongst themselves yet never neglecting their job. It was clear that they loved what they do. The holiday was excellent and it’s difficult to pick a favourite day.
Carolyn, AustraliaCould not have planned it better if it was Hollywood!
Pleasantly surprised at the wonderful lunches. Our guide excelled not just with the quality of produce but his attention to detail with presentation…5 stars! Hard to choose a favourite day, but probably day 8 – Villa Traful to San Martin. The fantastic scenery, variety of cycling…an 18km decent!! Highlight of the trip was our lunch stop just before the Argentinian border where a group of Gauchos on horseback were herding cattle, the backdrop was a Volcano – could not have planned it better if it was Hollywood! All 4 of our guides were sensational. Nothing was too much trouble….they had just the right combination of organisational skills, technical support, communication and above all a genuine sense of fun…they were a great team and it was obvious they worked well together. We were in good hands.
Olwyn, New ZealandBest organised trip I’ve ever done overseas!
Guides were just amazing – best in all the various tours I did whilst in South America. Can’t sing their praises enough! The training they get from Saddle Skedaddle really pays off.
Seriously great hotels, brilliant restaurants we were taken to, really fabulous lunches, stunning scenery, superb itinerary with heaps of variety, lovely fun group Best organised trip I’ve ever done overseas. They were great fun but very organised and professional when the van broke down, and more than helpful when I requested help re obtaining a bus ticket not even part of their tour. Simply WONDERFUL!!