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Cycling Tours in Patagonia, Carretera Austral

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Program: Explore Wild Patagonia, Cycling down the Carretera Austral

  • Length: 23 days / 22 nights
  • Activity Level: Active

Highlights: Cerro Castillo National Reserve, Glacier San Valentin, Marble Chapels in General Carrera Lake, Rio Baker, Caleta Tortel, Lake O´Higgins, Lago del Desierto, Chalten, Calafate, and more….

  • Day 1: Arrive in Coihaique
  • Day 2: Preparation Day
  • Day 3: Coihaique - El Blanco
  • Day 4: El Blanco - Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Day 5: Rest Day
  • Day 6: Rest Day
  • Day 7: Villa Cerro Castillo - Puerto Murta
  • Day 8: Puerto Murta - Puerto Tranquilo
  • Day 9: Rest Day
  • Day 10: Rest Day
  • Day 11: Puerto Tranquilo – Puerto Bertrand
  • Day 12: Puerto Bertrand - Cochrane
  • Day 13: Cochrane - Camping Los Nadis
  • Day 14: Camping Los Nadis - Caleta Tortel
  • Day 15: Rest Day
  • Day 15: Caleta Tortel - Villa O'Higgins
  • Day 16: Villa O'Higgins - Candelario Mansilla
  • Day 17: Candelario Mansilla - Lago del Desierto
  • Day 18: Lago del Desierto - El Chalten
  • Day 19: Rest Day
  • Day 20: Rest Day
  • Day 21: El Chalten- El Calafate
  • Day 22: El Calafate
  • Day 23: El Calafate - USA

Explore Wild Patagonia, Cycling down the Carretera Austral

  • Length: 23 days / 22 nights
  • Activity Level: Active

Highlights: Cerro Castillo National Reserve, Glacier San Valentin, Marble Chapels in General Carrera Lake, Rio Baker, Caleta Tortel, Lake O´Higgins, Lago del Desierto, Chalten, Calafate, and more….

Day 1: Arrive in Coihaique
You will arrive in Coihaique and a transfer will be waiting for you with a sign ready to take you to your hostel. Coihaique is the biggest city in the region and the commercial center for this part of Patagonia.  We will spend the night in the town and you will have the opportunity to explore and enjoy “city” life for the last time in many days.

Day 2: Preparation Day
Today you will have time and assistance to look for any last minute gear or supplies.  Our team should have most everything ready, but today is a down day just in case someone forgot something.  You can also spend the day sightseeing in and around Coihaique; it is a beautiful tourist town. We will have a nice dinner and get a good night’s sleep before departing for the next day.

Day 3: Coihaique - El Blanco
You will be able to take it easy this morning. We will leave after lunch because the ride today is short and fairly easy, we will ride just 40 km on paved road to El Blanco. The town was a post for travelers and populated by farmers. There are just 500 people that live in the town today. In the evening you can take it easy and if is not windy you can cast a line into Elizalde River. We will sleep an old farm house that has recently been remodeled and experience the relaxed life of the locals.

Day 4: El Blanco - Villa Cerro Castillo
In the morning we will have a country style breakfast with lots of homemade bread and fresh jam. We will begin peddling shortly after breakfast and our ultimate destination today will be Villa Cerro Castillo.  It is approximately a 64 km ride on paved roads. This will leave you time to enjoy the beautiful route and the small populated areas along the way to the village. You will spend time in the evening deciding what you will do during the next two days where are allotted for rest time or for exploration in the Reserva Villa Cerro Castillo.

Day 5: Rest Day
Depending on the decisions from the previous day we can plan a short two day circuit hike in Reserva Villa Cerro Castillo and get a bit further into the wilderness or you can stay in the small town and relax. There are some ancient wall paintings that you might also be interested in visiting.

Day 6: Rest Day
The day is yours, so you will continue the activities that you decided on from the previous day.

Day 7: Villa Cerro Castillo - Puerto Murta
We will start out very early today, because we are going to have a big riding day. Breakfast will be at 7:30 and we will leave before 9:00, the first 50 km of the day will be ridden in a transfer. We will get out of the transfer and continue our way on our bikes. The ride is on gravel and we will continue peddling past beautiful lakes, rivers, and through valleys until we finally reach Puerto Murta. We will spend the night in the tiny town and rest after a long day.

Day 8: Puerto Murta - Puerto Tranquilo
To make up for yesterday, today will be extremely slow.  We will have a late departure and ride 23 km on gravel road to Puerto Tranquilo. This small port town is our next base to relax and enjoy Patagonia. Lake General Carrera is the largest lake in Chile and we will spend some time seeing it. You will also want to make time to see Exploradores Glacier and San Valentin Mount and ice field; both bodies of ice contribute to the northern ice field.

Day 9: Rest Day
We will take a trip out to Lake General Carrera National Reserve and kayak through amazing marble caverns. The views from inside and outside of these caverns is absolutely breathtaking.

Day 10: Rest Day
Today you will have the opportunity to see another spectacular place. In the morning we will depart towards the national reserve and this time we will hike towards Exploradores Glacier. We will reach a viewpoint and be able to enjoy the views of the northern ice field and also of San Valentin Mount. In the evening we will return back to Puerto Tranquilo to spend the night.

Day 11: Puerto Tranquilo – Puerto Bertrand
Today we will leave the peace of Puerto Tranquilo and head towards to Puerto Bertrand, a place where the famous and amazing Baker River starts.  Along the route we will pass three lakes, during the summer months the lakes will rise and flood a lot of the area´s farmlands. We will ride 78 km on gravel roads and cozy cabins will be awaiting us in the evening. The town is a great place for fly fishing and we may encounter serious fishermen in this town.

Day 12: Puerto Bertrand - Cochrane
After a nutritional breakfast we will begin cycling along Baker River. You will be able to relax and admire the impressive rapids along the way.  We will ride 62 km on gravel road, and cycle over a couple of demanding stretches as we head towards another bigger town. We will stay in a cozy hostel in Cochrane. This is the last town we will stop at with internet and telephone connection. After today we will be entering some of the most untouched places in Patagonia. Outside of Cochrane you can find San Lorenzo Mount, this is one of the highest peaks in the region (12,158 ft) and on a clear day you can see it in the distance. We will spend the night in Cochrane before delving further into Patagonia!

Day 13: Cochrane - Camping Los Nadis
We will be off into the wilderness!  Camping Los Nadis is a nice stop along the road, there aren’t many options for accommodations in the area, but this is a perfect spot to stop and enjoy a typical Patagonian barbeque.  You will enjoy beautiful views and a peaceful campsite after a 60km ride on gravel roads

Day 14: Camping Los Nadis - Caleta Tortel
Today we will leave the peaceful camp and get back on the road.  Our destination today is called Caleta Tortel; it is 97 km, along gravel roads, away from Camping Los Nadis.  It is an incredible town built on steep stone cliffs and until 2003 was only accessible by water. Today the town is connected via boardwalks and when you arrive you will have to get a boat-taxi or walk along the boardwalks for about 30 minutes until reaching our final destination in a cozy hostel.

Day 15: Rest Day
During our rest day we will have the opportunity to visit Jorge Montt Glacier. We will enjoy a day trip by boat to see the northern portion of the Southern Ice Fields, which is the third largest fresh water reserve in the world. In the evening we will return back to Caleta Tortel and have another good night´s rest.

Day 15: Caleta Tortel - Villa O'Higgins
We will need to start out early today because the journey today is 155 km on gravel roads and on water. We will begin the day by taking a transfer to Puerto Yungay where we will board a boat. This ferry will save us some distance peddling and also make the last leg of our adventure on the Carretera Austral more interesting! We will head towards Villa O’Higgins after the ferry crossing docks in Rio Bravo and have 92 km to go on gravel roads. Finally we will arrive in Villa O´Higgins and prepare for the crossing the following day.

Day 16: Villa O'Higgins - Candelario Mansilla
Today we will begin our voyage across Lake O’Higgins and Lake San Martin. First we will have breakfast and be prepared to cross the ferry. We will have to ride 15 minutes down a gravel road and then board a ferry that will take us two and a half hours across Lake O´Higgins to Candelario Mansilla, where we will stop and enjoy the life of this remote Estancia for the evening. We will eat dinner here and sleep under the stars in tents.

Day 17: Candelario Mansilla - Lago del Desierto
Today will be a bit longer than the day before.  We will begin the day hiking/cycling four to six hours on a trail that isn´t maintained very well; the distance is only 22 km. It will be difficult, but will add an aspect of true adventure and wilderness to your ride. Finally you will read Lago Del Desierto and be able to rest at camp. Tomorrow will be our last day cycling and you will have finished your journey peddling through Patagonia.

Day 18: Lago del Desierto - El Chalten
In the morning you will board another boat that will take you across Lago del Desierto to a road that leads to El Chalten. As you ride into town you will notice the amazing peaks that made this area famous. On a clear day you will see Fitz Roy towering above the town. It is a short 40 km ride to El Chalten and we will arrive in time for a shower and some time to explore the town before we settle in for dinner.

Day 19: Rest Day
Today you can spend the day for yourself.  You can take a short walk out of El Chalten or just relax in the quaint little town. We can also arrange for a guided tour this day if you wish.

Day 20: Rest Day
Today we will have time to take a hike through the mountains.  We can pick from various hikes depending on the weather and what the group wants to do. The most well-known hikes in this area include Lago de los Tres and Cerro Torre.

Day 21: El Chalten- El Calafate
Today we will have the chance to walk on Glacier Viedma. After seeing so many glaciers we will finally take a hike on one.  We will return to El Chalten in time to catch the bus to El Calafate and spend the night there.

 

Day 22: El Calafate
El Calafate is a nice town; it will be the biggest place you have been to since Coihaique.  You will have time to see the famed Perito Moreno Glacier today or tour around the city. There are some other interesting tours to indigenous wall paintings or four wheeler trips. We will have our celebratory dinner and say farewell to each other, before heading back to our hostels to pack and prepare for our journey´s home.

Day 23: El Calafate - USA
Depending on your flight from Buenos Aires is what time you will leave El Calafate, I suggest you leave earlier in the day so you will have plenty of time for your connection in Buenos Aires.  You will have breakfast in El Calafate and then be taken in a transfer to the airport.

Below is a suggested packing list:

  • Upper body:
  • Jersey
  • Shirts/Jacket
  • Wind proof and water proof jacket, such as Gore Tex or similar
  • Fleece or pile coat
  • Quick dry long sleeve t-shirt
  • Quick dry or cotton short sleeve t-shirt
  • Winter hat
  • Light gloves
  • Lower body:
  • Quick dry hiking socks
  • Quick dry, light weight long underwear bottoms
  • Quick dry and breathable windproof pants
  • Shorts
  • Light trekking boots and/or gym shoes
  • Other necessary items:
  • Pajamas
  • Sleeping bag (-5°C for Nov. – Mar. trips, -15°C for April – Oct. trips)
  • Toiletries
  • Water bottle (1.000cc)
  • Sun glasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chap Stick with sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Backpack (big enough for all your personal things)
  • Shower Shoes
  • Earplugs
  • Head lamp and/or flashlight
  • Camera

Dittmar Adventures gear:

  • Bikes
  • Giant, terrago team model
  • Four Season Tents
  • MSR Asgard, 3-man tent
  • MSR Fury, 2-man tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Thermarest Prolite 4
  • Thermarest Prolite plus
  • Base Camp Tents
  • Mountain Hardwear Space Station
  • MSR Board Room
  • Cooking gear
  • MSR Whisperlite international
  • MSR Base pot set
  • GSI Tableware

How far ahead should I book my trip?
Due to the popularity of Patagonia, we recommend booking your trip 4 months in advance during the peak travel months (Dec-Feb). If you want to travel in November or March we recommend booking travel 2 months in advance.

Upon arrival to Patagonia
Your guide will meet you at the airport upon arrival. Typically he/she will take you to Puerto Natales, which is about a 3-hour drive from Punta Arenas. Depending on what time your plane arrives, you will have the entire day or just a few hours to explore or rest-up in the small town of Puerto Natales. Your guide will leave you at your hotel and meet you shortly after dinner to discuss trip details, answer questions, and make sure that you have all the appropriate gear for the next few days (the hotel will allow you to leave any unnecessary luggage with them).

Patagonian weather
Most of the time, there is no way to know what to expect. What you need to know is that it is fast changing and one can witness the wind, sun, rain and snow all in a matter of hours while in Patagonian wilderness. However, in the cities it is slightly more predictable, normally www.accuweather.com and www.undergroundweather.com are correct.

What to pack
During the trek you need to have a backpack (renting a backpack is possible) with just enough room to carry your clothes, toiletries, and sleeping bag (during W trips, renting a sleeping bag is also possible). Shared equipment like tents, stoves, pots, and food will be brought and transferred by our staff.

Personal equipment and clothing should be chosen to allow comfort while hiking. Select clothes to keep you dry in the rain, protected from the wind, and cool enough for warmer moments. It is essential that you are prepared to experience all four seasons in one day.

Tour insurance
It is very important that every visitor has international insurance against accidents. Make sure you have arranged for this insurance before paying for the trip. It is worth considering that some aspects of nature are unpredictable and that we must be prepared for any inconvenient circumstances.

Tour meals
Three meals a day during your program are included. We do not include drinks while in cities or snacks during the day. When staying in cities we will eat in restaurants, however during the days we are in the wilderness your guide will prepare your food. Food is purchased at local stores and we choose your meals according to the preference sheet you fill out. Food can include, but is not limited to, assorted vegetables, beef, chicken and fish. We will also provide energy rich carbohydrates like pasta, rice, or potatoes. To top things off and excite your taste buds we also bring some of the following: wine, beer, cookies, cheese, crackers, and fruits.  Your meals are carried and, most of the time, prepared by your guide.

Changes in itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule agreed upon, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.

Canceling your adventure
At the time we receive written notice that you must cancel your trip, the following fees will apply to your deposit (all dates are from departure date):

Regular Departures
From time of reservation until 90 days prior to departure -$100 USD
89 to 60 days prior to departure - $200 USD
59 to 30 days prior to departure - 50% of deposit USD
29 days or less prior to departure - 100% of deposit USD
Private Adventures, Custom Adventures & Special Departures
From time of reservation until 90 days prior to departure -15% of deposit
89 to 60 days prior to departure -50% of deposit USD
59 days or less prior to departure -100% of deposit USD

Please Note: No partial refunds will be given for unused hotel rooms, meals, sightseeing trips, or trek arrangements for any reason whatsoever. Program Costs are quoted as a package and refunds are not given for services not used. (Note—Extra hotel nights cancelled within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% of the hotel cost or $35, whichever is greater.)


  • How to reserve an adventure
  • 1st - Fill out the client information form and read the terms and conditions on the booking form
  • 2nd - Make the deposit payment (40% of total trip cost)
  • 3rd - Upon arrival pay the balance (60%)

Trip request

Please contact us to receive information about the trip of your choice.
You can call us at US 1 - 281 - 213 - 0115



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