the carretera austral

villa o'higgins to futaleufu

26th february

villa santa lucia to futaleufu

There are some cabanas about 10km after Villa Santa Lucia when travelling towards Futa - an extra option to stop if you dont like Santa Lucia or the weather is bad. We wish that we'd known about the small village at the cross roads (where the road folks for either Futaleufu or Palena).  There are shops, hospedajes and cabanas here - but it is small and basic.  The road to futaleufu continues uphill from here.  There are more campsites the closer you get to Futa - they start from about 30km out of town.  The road is bad in places but the views are spectacular. 

Now we plan a 2 week holiday!  A week of rafting/kayaking and a little trip (by bus) to see old friends in Pumalin Park and Chaiten.  We leave our bikes here and will be back in 2 weeks to re-start our journey towards Argentina and the famous Ruta 40. 

25th february

villa vanguardia to villa santa lucia

Heavy rain all day made us stop early... not much between these villages and with the clouds covering the mountains, there was not much of a view either.  Shops, cabanas and hospedajes in Villa Santa Lucia.

24th february

la junta to villa vanguardia

A 18km ripio then 20km tarmac stretch of road.  We asked to camp on a farmers land who then invited us in for coffee and then wine.  Camped by the river close to his house. No shops in this village.

22nd february

wild camp to la junta

Good road contiues but gets a little worse as you close in on La Junta. After a cold and wet 24 hours, we stopped at a nice, natural hot spring -El Sauce (which has camping facilities). 3km off main road - no food or drinks to buy.  Continued to La Junta for a good meal.  

21st february

puerto raul marin balmaceda to wild camp

After a long (about 24hours) boat journey (no dolphins or whales) with rough waters, arrived late at Puerto Raul Marin.  Stayed in a small cabana - no running water due to the storm.  Beautiful little village with sandy roads. Headed out late but very good ripio. Thunder storm for 24 hours!! Camped at roadwork shelter.

19th february

campsite to puerto cisnes

Followed the tarmac road all the way to the coast.  Beautiful tall valley, mostly downhill to take the ferry - hoping to see dolphins and whales.  Lots of shops, restaurants and hostels here.  

18th february

campsite to campsite

A short and beautiful day.  Decided to stop early at another campsite - more basic than the last night.  Camped with motorcycle tourers. Many cyclists here. Free camping as owners away.

17th february

wild camp (Ruta7) to campsite

Clocked our 2000km early on today.  Rejoined the tarmac just before Villa Maniguales which has small shops, restuarants, campsites and hostels.  Headed out of here about 8pm but difficult to find a wild spot.  First field had a dead cow and many dead birds so we didnt stay.  Cycled on knowing there was a campsite about 15km away.  Ended up cycling into the night before reaching a nice (small) campsite.

16th february

Heading north from coyhaique

A long and steep climb out of Coyhaique.  After 10km, the Ruta 7 turns to the right which continues as ripio (rough road) toward Villa Ortega (it does have a small shop)... the tarmac road continue straight ahead towards Puerto Aysen.  We decided to take the quieter ripio - there were many trucks going too/from Coyhaique to Aysen.  The ripio road is about 51km and is very beautiful with lots of wild camping opportunities. 

11th february

Arrival to coyhaique

Short day of cycling with lots of downhill - people going the other way had to climb but they had the wind.  Cycling into large towns is never very nice - lots of traffic, lots of trucks but a nice beer at the end.

10th february

villa cerro castillo to wild camp

A long and steep climb out of town, about 9km uphill and then 6km of steep switchbacks uphill - a 750m altitude gain until the top.  A less steep and longer downhill on the other side was great. The road follows lots of rivers so fresh water everywhere. 

9th february

villa cerro castillo

A tough climb to finally reach Villa Cerro Castillo and the start of the tarmac/asphalt road.  A nice converted bus made great burgers on the main road and the small supermarket had lots of fresh fruit.  

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8th february

wild camping

The road 30km before Villa Cerro Castillo is being developed s there are road closures from 2pm to 6pm... We decided to camp just before the road works so that we could get through all the barriers in one single push.  There is a big waterfall here and camping was nice.  An upturned car reminded us of the dangerous and sometimes recklessness of some Chilean drivers!  Luckily no one was hurt.

7th february

wild camping

Another short yet beautiful day.  Amazing wild camping by the river... could have stayed here all week!

6th february

puerto tranquilo to wild camp

After a day of kayaking to the marble caves, a short cycle to camp by a river.

4th february

puerto bertrand to puerto tranquilo

A hilly start and finish which made it a tough cycling day.  There is a section of about 30km of great smooth road which was a nice surprise. more beautiful views when approaching Puerto Tranquilo.

3rd february

cochrane to puerto bertrand

Sections of good and bad road but pretty hilly.  The last 10km was the roughest section of road.  Puerto Bertrand is small and beside an amazing turquoise lake.  Kayaking and rafting trips here daily. We stayed in the campsite opposite the only shop (which has basic items). 

31st january

wild camp to cochrane

A tough day!  We set off from our camp and continued on a worsening road - more washboard.  After 28km, there was a big climb. We have taken little water on the bikes so far as there are some many rivers and streams but after this climb, there was very little water on top.  We found one small stream with clean water but this was after 1-2 hours of no drinking water in 30 degree heat!  We were soooo thirsty and really lucky to find the stream.  The top of the mountain is really bad road and hilly too.  The last 10km, when we were really tired, the washboard road became very sandy and soft - we pushed our bikes on some sections.  Average speed was about 8km/hour - so after 70km, we were beat.  Had a cold beer on our arrival to Cochrane and stayed a nice campsite on Doctor Stefan (road) - apple and cherry tree in the garden too.

30th january

rio bravo to wild camp

From Rio Bravo north, the road is really good for about 20km.  There is a 10km climb followed by a 10km downhill - all on good road.  But then the road condition worsens and worsens with terrible washboard sections all the way to Cochrane.  At 45km, there is a basic campsite (which you have to pay at) but 5km later - there is another which is not in use.  No running water but a small muddy river (we used our water filter for the first time here).  Nice place to stay.

29th january

wild camp  to rio bravo

The road is fairly good to Rio Bravo. We made the 7pm ferry across the lake and camped on the north side.  There is a small shop there (cold drinks, pastries and cakes as well as homemade jam!) which was a nice surprise.  We camped on the beach which was really beautiful.  We made a fire and listened to a friend play his guitar... pretty awesome night.   

28th january

villa o'higgins to wild camp 1

Left from Villa O'higgins late (2pm) and cycled about 50km.  Passed the first refugio at 30km but didnt fine the second at 50km so camped by a river.  Pretty flat road with ok ripio.