Great Patagonia Self Drive

Spend three weeks on the road driving almost 1800 miles on this epic exploration of Patagonia covering both Chile and Argentina. Visit all the highlights as well as some of the roads less travelled on a journey you will never forget!

Places you visit:  Santiago – Puerto Varas – Petrohue – Hornopiren – Caleta Gonzalo – Queulat National Park – Coyhaique – Lake General Carrera – Lake Posadas – El Chalten – El Calafate – Torres del Paine – Punta Arenas – Casablanca Valley

Tour Itinerary

View a day by day summary below or

Day 1: Start in Santiago

plaza de armas santiago chile at sunset

On arrival to Santiago you are met at the airport by your guide who will welcome you to Chile and take you by private transfer straight to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Meals Included: None today

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Ladera

Day 2: Private Tour of Santiago

cable car on san cristobal hill santiago chile

Today enjoy a private tour of the city accompanied by one of our expert local guides. You will see all the main landmarks including Santa Lucia Hill, the Plaza de Armas, Bellavista and the San Cristobal Hill for beautiful views of the city.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Ladera

Day 3: Fly to Puerto Montt

Llanquihue lake and osorno volcano puerto varas chile

Take a short flight to Puerto Montt then transfer to the picturesque lakeside town of Puerto Varas. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure exploring the town.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Mero Gaucho

Day 4: Frutillar Bike and Beer!

frutillar pier lake district chile

A private tour of the pretty nearby towns of Frutillar and Llanquihue by bike combined with a visit to a local artisan micro brewery for beer tasting!

Meals Included: Breakfast & Snack

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Mero Gaucho

Day 5: Start the road trip and drive to Petrohue

petrohue lodge on todos los santos lake

Your 4X4 rental car will be delivered to your hotel in Puerto Varas. From here drive 56 miles around the lake to your lodge in Vicente Perez Rosales national park on the edge of the emerald green Todos Los Santos lake.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Petrohue Lodge

Day 6: Exploring the National Park

view of osorno volcano on catamaran tour chile

Today you could explore the many attractive hiking trails or go rafting or canoeing. A popular day trip is to take a catamaran from just outside your lodge across Todos Los Santos Lake to Peulla with stunning views of snow capped volcanoes and waterfalls.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Petrohue Lodge

Day 7: Petrohue to Hornopiren

carretera austral chile self drive

Drive south on the Austral Highway along the Reloncaví Fjord, passing the beautiful rivers of Petrohué, Cochamó and Puelo. The total driving distance today is about 124 miles before reaching your next hotel in the town of Hornopiren.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hosteria Catalina

Day 8: Scenic Ferry Trip to Caleta Gonzalo

hornopiren to caleta gonzalo ferry crossing in chile

Take your car onto the ferry heading further south. This boat journey takes about 3 – 4 hours and along the way you can enjoy the impressive views of the Andes mountains and Patagonian Fjords. Disembark at a beautiful bay and take a short drive to Caleta Gonzalo.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Cabañas Caleta Gonzalo

Day 9: Exploring Pumalin National Park

hiking in pumalin national park chile

Pumalín national park was created in 1992 by legendary conservationists Douglas and Kristine Tompkins. The park is 994,000 acres which makes it larger than Yosemite. Within the park you can find the endangered Alerce trees, which are some of the oldest living trees on the planet.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Cabañas Caleta Gonzalo

Day 10: Caleta Gonzalo to Puyuhuapi

puyuhuapi lodge chile

Today’s drive will be about 152 miles in total, taking you further into the humid evergreen forests of Northern Patagonia. This is a stunning drive filled with impressive views of rivers, lakes, glaciers and mountains. Spend the night at a unique lodge perched on the shores of a fjord and reached only by boat!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Puyuhuapi Lodge

Day 11: Queulat National Park

hanging glacier in queulat national park

Today we highly recommend a visit to the Queulat national park where you can see the famous Ventisquero hanging glacier and spectacular natural scenery. The quaint and picturesque village of Puyuhuapi is also well worth a visit too.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Puyuhuapi Lodge

Day 12: Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique

valleys of coyhaique region chile

Leave Puyuhuapi behind driving through some of the most spectacular valleys of the region. You’ll also pass through the Simpson National Reserve. The landscapes are ever changing as you approach Coyhaique, a small city and the capital of the Aysen region.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Belisario Jara

Day 13: Lake General Carrera & Marble Caves

marble caves boat tour chile

Leave early this morning for a fairly long but beautiful and spectacular drive to the shores of the immense Lake General Carrera. This afternoon you will visit the extraordinary marble caves by boat. The different colours are mesmerising and it’s a great place for photos.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Mallin Colorado Eco Lodge

Day 14: Day at Leisure

ice caves tour at exploradores glacier chile

Today is at leisure to explore this wonderful area of impressive scenery. We highly recommend a day trip to the Exploradores Glacier where you can hike through the ice caves. You could also visit the confluence of the Baker and Nef rivers, go rafting, trekking, horse riding or kayaking.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Mallin Colorado Eco Lodge

Day 15: A Winding Road To Argentina

self drive on the carretera austral dirt road in chile

Your drive today is a total of 132 miles on a winding road through the Chacabuco valley, a relatively unknown region with a fantastic diversity of landscapes. Be sure to stop off at Parque Patagonia, a new national park created by Doug and Kristine Tompkins where you can see flamingos, guanacos, condors, and other wildlife.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: La Posada del Posadas

Day 16: Drive on the iconic Route 40 to El Chalten

driving towards el chalten argentina

Set out for a long but rewarding drive along the classic Route 40, famously referred to as the “Patagonian Highway”, to El Chalten, a little village at the foot of the imposing Fitz Roy mountain.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hosteria Senderos

Day 17: Trekking to Laguna Torre

hiking to cerro torre with a view of mount fitz roy

Experience one of the most beautiful guided hikes in Patagonia in a small group. Trek up to Cerro Torre where you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the Egger, Standhard and Bifida peaks, as well as the Adelas cord with its stunning glaciers spilling into the lagoon.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hosteria Senderos

Day 18: El Chalten to El Calafate

self drive to el chalten argentina

Leave El Chalten behind this morning, driving around Viedma Lake and further south towards the small town of El Calafate located on the edge of Lake Argentino. The driving distance today is 132 miles and there are some places you may wish to stop en-route.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Kosten Aike

Day 19: Perito Moreno Ice Trekking

hiking tour on perito moreno glacier argentina patagonia

This is one of the best ways to experience Perito Moreno glacier – up close and personal! You will have a boat trip to the glacier wall, then get the opportunity to hike on the glacier itself, ending the tour at a viewpoint with wonderful views.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Kosten Aike

Day 20: El Calafate to Torres del Paine

guanacos in torres del paine patagonia

Today you drive back across the border to Chile covering 217 miles before arriving to your lodge just outside the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park. Along the way you can admire the wide open spaces and vast Patagonian steppe, dotted with the odd guanaco!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Pampa Lodge

Day 21: Torres del Paine National Park

pehoe lake torres del paine chile

This one of the most remarkable national parks in the world. There are lakes, glaciers, dramatic landscapes, mountains and rivers. There are many different hikes available for all abilities. Some of the most popular include the French Valley and Base of the Towers. You could also take a boat trip to visit glacier grey.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Pampa Lodge

Day 22: Final Leg to Punta Arenas

view of magellan strait punta arenas chile

Embark on your final leg of your epic road trip through Patagonia to Punta Arenas. It is a 4 – 6 hour drive allowing for time to stop off at the Milodon Cave where scientists discovered the remains of a gigantic sloth. We also recommend having a look around Punta Arenas, a frontier city on the shores of the Magellan Strait.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel La Yegua Loca

Day 23: Punta Arenas to the Wine Valley

pool at casablanca wine hotel chile

Drop your car off at Punta Arenas airport for your flight back to Santiago. On arrival you will be met and taken to your hotel in the Casablanca Valley. This afternoon you can relax, take a dip in the pool or hot tub, enjoy a lovely meal and reflect on your epic journey over the last three weeks!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Boutique Casablanca

Day 24: Departure or stay a little longer!

grapes on a vineyard tour chile

End your trip here with a transfer to the airport for departure, or why not add on a few nights of relaxation and luxury at a vineyard? Speak to one of our experts who have been to Chile to start tailoring your very own trip.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Our Suggested Accommodation

We have recommended a selection of mid range and first class hotels for this itinerary. In some more remote areas the accommodation available is more basic. However, it is possible in many areas to upgrade the hotels to more luxurious options, if you wish.

We’ve personally visited hundreds of hotels across Chile, so just ask us for our specialist advice!

Tour Inclusions

  • All accommodation
  • All internal flights
  • Car hire with unlimited milage, maps and guides
  • All tours as specified in the itinerary
  • All private transfers
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees
  • 24 hour emergency assistance
  • 100% financial protection with our ATOL license & ABTA membership
  • Our exclusive 100+ page trip guidebook, personalised to your trip
  • Full support from your dedicated specialist
  • International flights
  • Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides
  • Travel insurance

Book this tour

Start planning your trip by calling us on 0208 191 7772 or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you within one working day.

All trips are operated by HeadsEast Ltd, UK Company registration number 6717612
© Copyright 2008-19 HeadsEast Ltd

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