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Patagonia - Carretera Austral

Guided Bike Tour




15 days

Prices from

$5,775 P.P.
A journey perfect for those seeking a real wilderness adventure!! Join us in the wild, rugged, and remote Chilean Patagonia as we enjoy the very best of the Carretera Austral. Our journey will see us cycling around 70 kms per day on a mix of dirt roads and tarmac as we weave our way southwards on what is one of the world’s most scenic roads. This is a landscape of lush forests, mountain passes, glaciers, icy rivers, crashing waterfalls, turquoise lakes and fjords, where each and every day is packed with scenic highlights.
Following our arrival in Puerto Varas, "La Ciudad de las Rosas," we begin our journey southwards, with the initial two days spent criss-crossing the estuaries and fjords of Los Lagos as we make our way towards the coastal town of Chaitén. Situated across from Chiloé Island, Chaitén boasts spectacular views of both the Chaitén and Corcovado volcanoes. 
Heading away from the coast, we soon find ourselves winding our way through an area of lush vegetation and crystal clear streams and rivers as we skirt Parque Pumalin to reach Puerto Cardenas situated at the northern shore of stunning Lago Yelcho. A challenging climb up and over Cuesta Moraga drops us into the Aysen region, where the Rosselot Lake National Reserve and the impressive Ventisquero Colgante (Hanging Glacier) await after a short hike. The Puyuhuapi Eco-Lodge in the sleepy fishing village of Puyuhuapi is one of the accommodation highlights of the trip, with its thermal waters to soothe tired muscles after many miles on the bike.
The largest ascent of the Carretera (the Queulat Pass) and its 21 hairpin bends brings us to the regional capital, Coyhaique. Here we take a day off to rest our legs and explore the town’s unique boutiques and bustling craft beer and food scene. Back on the bikes, we make our way to Puerto Rio Tranquilo on the western shores of Lago General Carrera. The deep turquoise, silt-heavy waters of this glacial-fed lake hide one of Chile’s most spectacular natural wonders—the so-called ‘marble cathedral’ caves which we explore by boat.
Possibly the most scenic day of the trip follows as we take on the roller-coaster ride along the Las Llaves Pass to Chile Chico, with the vivid colors of the Lago General Carrera as our constant companion. Following a crossing of Lago General Carrera, our final day is spent cycling through the beautiful Valle Simpson - a fitting end to this incredible journey along Chile’s Southern Highway.
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  • Riding one of the world’s classic cycling routes
  • Enjoying a rest day in Coyhaique
  • Lake Carrera’s spectacular ‘marble cathedral’
  • True wilderness biking
  • Relaxing in the thermal waters of Puyuhuapi Eco-Lodge

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We really loved our holiday of a lifetime in Chile!

Andrew and Fiona, UK


Day 1

Today you start your journey, boarding your flight to Chile and Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport Santiago (SCL), arriving the following day.

Day 2
Arrival Chile - Puerto Montt - Puerto Varas

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 will be met by your Saddle Skedaddle guides.

Following arrival, we transfer you to your hotel in Puerto Varas (transfer time 30 mins approx.). Situated around 20 Kms 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.

Day 3
Puerto Varas to Hornopirén
34 Miles / 54 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 250 Metres Approx.

Following breakfast we load up our bikes and leave Puerto Varas in our support vehicle. This initial section takes us via Puerto Montt at which point we hit the Carretera Austral and begin our way southwards.

On reaching the northern edge of the Reloncavi Estuary and the small town of Caleta La Arena, we board the ferry for the scenic 45-minute crossing to Calete Puelche where we disembark.

It’s here that we unload the bikes and commence our cycling journey. Today’s ride is around 54kms (37kms unsurfaced and 17 surfaced) and sees us taking an unsurfaced coastal road via the small town of Contao to Hornopirén, the North Gate of the Austral Highway, which serves as a great introduction to this amazing area.

Hornopirén is both the name of the town and nearby 1572-metre volcano. The name is derived from horno, the Spanish word for oven, and pirén, the native Mapudungun word for snow, loosely translating to snow-oven. Our accommodation tonight is on the outskirts of town at a family run guesthouse. (We’ll transfer the last 15 mins or so to Hornopirén to avoid a busy section of road.)

Day 4
Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo
Non Cycling Day
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

After an early breakfast we start our journey to Caleta Gonzalo via ferry, where we navigate through the Comau Fjord between Hornopirén and Leptepu. This stunning fjord is flanked by high mountains and steep banks and runs from Caleta Pichanco in the north to Caleta Leptepu in the south.

Upon disembarking in Leptepu, we hop aboard our support vehicle for the 10 km overland trip to Caleta Fiordo Largo. It’s from here that our next ferry departs for Caleta Gonzalo. This is a much shorter journey than this morning, (approx. 45 minutes) that sees us crossing the Reñihue Fjord.

Our accommodation tonight is at well-appointed Cabañas on the edge of Pumalin National Park. The Cabañas are situated on the rocky shore of the Reñihue Fjord and boast unparalleled vistas. Aesthetically pleasing, they were designed by The North Face founder, Doug Tompkins, and are the perfect place to stay the night. Doug (who died suddenly in 2018) along with wife Kris have been instrumental in the conservation of this and many other wilderness areas in Chile, especially along the Carretera.

Day 5
Caleta Gonzalo to Chaitén
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 810 Metres Approx.

Back on the bikes once again today we’ll be heading to Chaitén, which is around 54kms away and is reached on a combination of tarmac (24 miles) and dirt roads (30 miles). During the ride we’ll pass by Lago Rio Negro and then smaller Lago Blanco before reaching the coastline that leads us pretty much all the way to Chaitén.

Situated across the Golfo de Corovado from the Chiloé Island, it boasts spectacular views of the Chaitén and Corcovado Volcanoes, with much of the surrounding territory protected due to its National Park status.

Our accommodation tonight is at a small hotel close to Rio Chaitén. For those looking to stretch their legs a little, the walk to the mirador makes a nice post meal stroll and offers great views of the city and across to Chiloé.

Day 6
Chaitén to Puerto Cardenas
33 Miles / 53 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 320 Metres Approx.

Another great day on the bike as we head to Lago Yelcho. The terrain remains very similar to yesterday with the road well surfaced throughout. Heading away from Chaitén and the coast we soon find our ourselves winding our way through an area of lush vegetation, criss-crossing streams and rivers as we skirt Parque Pumalin. Today’s ride ends at the caserio (hamlet) of Puerto Cárdenas situated at the northern shore of Lago Yelcho. Nestled between the mouths of the Malito and Futaleufú Rivers it is a lovely spot. Our accommodation tonight is a superb lodge/chalet style hotel at the edge of the lake and where we take our evening meal. With the area famous for fly-fishing they’ll be no doubt plenty of pescado on the menu. It’s a great place to stay after today’s ride with its cosy bar, perfect for catching up and chatting about the last few days with your fellow riders and guides.

Day 7
Puerto Cardenas to La Junta
57 Miles / 92 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 710 Metres Approx.

A long day on the bike today, though well-surfaced for most of the way to help you eat up the miles. Today is not however without its challenges, with the most notable Cuesta Moraga hill that we’ll encounter before we arrive at the small town of Villa Santa Lucia. The climb tops out at around 650m and although steep in places the views from its lofty vantage point are superb and well worth the effort. Safely down we reach Villa Santa Lucia, a small outpost situated close to the volcano of Chaitén – a great spot to take a well-deserved break!

From here you are able to head eastwards towards Argentina via Palena or Futalefu. But for us, we’ll be continuing our southwards direction to La Junta with the section after the climb a great downhill into the valley below. The dominant mountain now will be Peak Macizo Nevado (1951 metres) to our left and to our right the lush vegetation of Parque National Corcovada.

It’s a truly stunning area and a delight to cycle through! For the majority of our trip so far we’ll have been cycling in the Los Lagos region, but today we’ll enter a new region – Aysen, and end our ride with a mostly flat section that takes us to the town of La Junta. Set in lush grounds at the edge of Rosselot Lake National Reserve, our lodge/hotel is the perfect place to finish the day.

Day 8
La Junta to Puyuhuapi
39 Miles / 62 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 675 Metres Approx.

A nice undulating route today that ends with a real mid-trip treat. This much shorter day of cycling (all on tarmac) sees us cycling through a landscape of huge cliffs, towering waterfalls, and dense verdant vegetation. Continuing this paved portion of the route, we weave our way through Rosselot via the waterfalls of Alcantarilla and the idyllic fly-fishing waters of Rio Risopatron. As we reach Lago Risopatron,the surface deteriorates somewhat before we speed our way down to the Pacific Ocean and the sleepy fishing village of Puyuhuapi.

Our accommodation tonight is a superb eco-lodge on the shores of a fjord that carefully balances sophistication and simplicity. To reach here, we’ll hop aboard a small boat in order to cross a tranquil bay (20 minutes) to reach the lodge which is not only famous for its enviable position but also for its thermal waters, open-air hot springs, and Spa facilities. Enjoy!

Day 9
Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique
45 Miles / 72 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 840 Metres Approx.

Suitably refreshed, we’ve a cracker of a day ahead for you! Fantastic fjords, fairytale forests, and the Quelat Pass too.

From Puyuhuapi we initially transfer with our journey following the eastern shore of the Puyuhuapi Fjord (a great place to spot dolphins, seals, numerous seabirds) and skirt Parque Nacional Queulat – a superb start to the day.

We then follow the Río Queulat before heading up the largest ascent of the Carretera: the Queulat Pass. The pass involves 21 switchbacks for an ascent of 500 metres in under 10 kms!

Just after the top of the pass, there is a speedy descent that passes Bosque Encantando (the Enchanted Forest) of around 20kms on the way down to the X25 Junction. From here it’s mostly flat for the rest of the day for another 50kms until arriving close to Villa Amengual from where we transfer by vehicle (1hr) to Coyhaique.

Coyhaique is the regional hub of Aysén and whilst certainly more developed than the small towns we’ve travelled though over the last few days, it still retains its charm. Wonderfully positioned in the middle of an impressive mountain range of snowy peaks, it’s a place that never fails to impress.

Our small boutique hotel (where we’ll stay for two nights) is located on the banks of the Coyhaique River. With great mountain and forest views yet only a short stroll from the city centre, it’s a great place to base ourselves.

*Please note that the Quelat Pass is currently undergoing major construction and there may be alterations as to where we commence our cycling today!

Day 10
Non Cycling Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

There is lots to do in and around Coyhaique with a range of outdoor activities on offer so with this in mind we’ve scheduled in a day off the bike to enjoy the area.

For those looking to chill-out completely, you’ll find a nice selection of cafes and small restaurants around the Plaza De Armas where the arts and crafts fair is also located. Here you’ll find great quality handmade products using native wood, leather, stone and wool, and is the perfect place to pick up a few souvenirs.

Our evening meal will be taken at one of the fine restaurants in the centre where over una copa de vino, you’ll be able to chat about how much or how little you’ve done today.

Day 11
Coyhaique to Puerto Rio Tranquilo
45 Miles / 72 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,210 Metres Approx.

A big day ahead that starts with an early wake-up and transfer of 30 minutes to avoid some potentially sections on busy roads. Ahead of us is another wonderful day’s riding with the vast majority taking place on well surfaced roads (65kms tarmac and 5kms unsurfaced) as we make our way to Puerto Rio Tranquillo, a village of shingled houses on the western shores of Lago General Carrera. Today it is possible to spot the amazing Cerro Castillo, one of the most iconic mountains for this area and it will stay with us for the next 3 days, as well as being able to see and admire some of the North Icefields glaciers.

It’s a challenging day with 3 big climbs but the scenery along the way is superb and will keep you enthused and excited as you cycle alongside Río Ibáñez and through the lush Valle Murta, where the glacial waters of the Río Murta flow into one of Patagonia’s jewels: Lago General Carrera. Our accommodation for tonight is a well-located B&B, just in front of the lake, and will be reached after an end of the day transfer (2 hours).

Day 12
Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Puerto Guadal
30 Miles / 48 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 740 Metres Approx.

The morning starts in style by taking a small boat to check-out the amazing Marble Cathedral caves of Lago Carrera – a special highlight on this part of the journey!!

Today’s route is unsurfaced for the entire day and whilst not involving any steep climbs is a real roller-coaster of ups and downs.

In order to head along the lakes southern shoreline we leave our faithful friend the Carretera Austral in order to take the small lakeside road towards Chile Chico and end our ride just before the small hamlet of Puerto Guadal.

Day 13
Puerto Guadal to Chile Chico
45 Miles / 72 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,460 Metres Approx.

Today we embark on another stunning ride with the route unsurfaced as per the previous day.

Another day that that will live long in your memory as we take on the Las Llaves Pass, with our companion for the day the vivid clear waters and turquoise colours of Lago General Carrera that contrast spectacularly with the dry pampas and moonscape valleys, especially as we near Chile Chico. It’s also a great area to spot Andean Condors so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for these amazing birds today.

We’ll transfer the last section (approx. 1 hour) to Chile Chico. Positioned on the southern shore of Lago General Carrera and only a few kms from the Jeinimeni border crossing with Argentina, it tends to be a sunny little place due to its geographical position and is nicknamed the “Sun of Patagonia”. Our cosy accommodation, as you would expect, is close to the lake and a welcome site after this amazing day on the bike.

Day 14
Chile Chico - P. Ibañez - Coyhaique
18 Miles / 29 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 680 Metres Approx.

Following an early breakfast, we board the ferry (approx. 2-3 hrs) that will take us across Lago General Carrera (the largest lake in Chile and second largest in South America) to Puerto Ibañez.

From here, we’ll start our ride, with the first 15 Kms taking us up a twisty, windy road. It’s a much shorter day today of around 30 kms (all on tarmac), but one that is nevertheless as spectacular as they always seem to be in this part of the world for your final day fix of towering mountains, dense forests, rivers and streams

After lunch we’ll transfer to our lovely lodge close to Coyhaique (transfer approx 1 hour) – offering us great views of the Divisadero mountain range and the peak of Cerro McKay (816 metres).

Our final evening meal will be taken at the accommodation with celebratory drinks and delicious food rounding off another great day on the bike and our classic cycling journey through this incredible part of the world!

Day 15
  • Meals: Breakfast

Having rested at our lodgings and after a final glimpse of the mountains, we make our way (approx. 50 kms/45 mins) to Coyhaique’s Aeropuerto Balmaceda (BBA) for onward travel to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez Airport (SCL) and international connections.

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The Cycling


During our journey along the Carretera Austral we’ll be passing fjords, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain ranges and of course lakes.

The route is approx 50% on sealed roads and 50% on compacted wide gravel tracks, with light traffic on most days. There are however occasional sections where we encounter ferry traffic as we get closer to Coyhaique.

Along the way are some challenging climbs both on paved and gravel terrain followed by fast descents. These include Cuesta Moraga hill and the Queulat Pass.

A real adventure!

This holiday has been designed specifically for those adventurers who‘re really looking to get away from it all and experience some true Chilean wilderness. Things on the ground can change with little notice, but our local team will be there to react quickly and make a new plan should things not quite go as expected. With this in mind, the above outlines the general itinerary, however we would ask for a little flexibility as various aspects may change on the ground. We will however always ensure you have an incredible experience and you’ll be well looked after.


Cycling Adventures Grade

Grade 4 : Active

Distances between 30 to 50 miles per day / 48 to 80 kms per day

For those who cycle frequently

Will include some long and / or steep climbs

Often over varying terrain (some sections may see you cycling over uneven, unpaved or loose ground)

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?

You ride quite frequently at home and perhaps enjoy cycling as one of your forms of exercise. Weekends will occasionally see you spending the day in the saddle exploring routes which take in some steep climbs. These tours may also see you riding over varying terrain and so it’s preferable if you have some experience of riding on uneven / unpaved ground. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 4 holiday to be fit and healthy, and ready to take on an achievable challenge.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a $375 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
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15 days
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15 days
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15 days
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Whats Included Tick

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 National Reserves

F) Entrance into the Marble Caves

G) All ferry / boat travel during the trip

H) Airport collections – Puerto Montt Airport (PMC) – Day 2

I) Airport drop-off Balmaceda Airport (BBA) – Day 15

J) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

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 non-scheduled arrival / departure days

J) Optional activities in Coyhaique (non-biking day)

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Private Departures

Private Departures

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.

The Essentials

Travel Options

We ask that you fly into Puerto Montt (PMC) and back from Balmaceda (BBA). There are no direct flights to Puerto Montt from North America, so you will need to fly into Santiago (SCL) then catch a connecting flight. You will also need to fly via Santiago from Balmaceda for your return.

From the USA there are direct flight connections to Santiago (SCL) with LATAM and United Airlines. Copa also offers a wide range of non-direct options via Panama City.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to make sure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.


Accommodation is a combination of hotels, lodges and guesthouses chosen for their location and hospitality. As you would expect when travelling through this remote area accommodation options can be limited with a balance struck between limiting lengthy transfers (that affect the flow of the trip) and available accommodation.

However the overall standard of accommodation remains to a high standard with hidden gems along the way. Eg Puyuhuapi: puyuhuapilodge.com, Chelenko Lodge : www.chelenko.com & Nomades Hotel www.hotelnomades.com in Coihayque.

Please note Limited single rooms may be available however, it’s important to note we cannot guarantee their availability in all locations. Please chat to our team if you‘re interested in this option.

On day 4, some twin/double rooms will not be en-suite.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have mountain bikes available to rent for this trip. Rental bikes will typically be Marin Bobcat Trail 5’s. An aluminium, front suspension mountain bike with Shimano Deore gearing and hydraulic disc brakes. All bikes come with bottle cages.

We also have a limited amount of e-mountain bikes for this trip which will generally be either a Giant Tempt E+, Giant Reign E or Specialized Turbo Levo. These bikes all come with hydraulic disc brakes and a bottle cage. Please contact us for any additional specifications for these and to check availability.

If you do decide to rent we can include a helmet (though always nicer to bring your own along!) and all necessary spares that are required.

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News, Reviews & Stories

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Meet our Chilean head honcho, who ensures you all enjoy the best possible cycling across the pond.



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