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Thursday, February 21, 2013


I've been thinking about a tour of Patagonia for some years now, but planning a time and a route that fits in with work and family commitments has seemed problematic. But I have finally come up with a route which is slightly less ambitious than originally conceived, and I think this one just might be workable. And possibly I could temp my wife to meet me there with the prospect of trekking the Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks. The Patagonian touring and trekking season is quite short. The time frame will be February - March to avoid the busy Xmas holiday period and to be finished before the colder autumn weather sets in.

So here's the plan:

Fly in to Santiago and on to Puerto Montt, then take the ferry to Chaiten (A).

 The route is broken in several places by ferry crossings, so Google is unable to map the entire route in a single map.

The first road section travels the Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) from Chaiten south to Caleta Yungay. From here it's a short ferry trip to Rio Bravo.

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From Rio Bravo a short section of Ruta 7 continues to Villa O'Higgins.

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At Villa O'Higgins the fun begins, with a ferry ride to the Chilean border post, then a short but difficult  overland section on a rough hiking track to the Argentinian border post. Yet another ferry ride across Lago del Desierto reaches the road to El Chalten. Then Ruta 23 and Ruta 40 continues to Puerto Natales (where my journey will end) and beyond, eventually reaching the Fin del Mundo. The total distance will be around 1500 kilometres, much of it on the unsealed roads known as ripio in South America.

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Hopefully there will be time for me to visit some of the fabulous attractions along the way, such as the Perito Moreno glacier, Monte Fitzroy, and the Torres del Paine. If my wife chooses to trek in the region, I'll plan to meet her somewhere, perhaps in Puerto Natales for the trip home. A Navimag cruise up the coast back to Puerto Montt would be a pleasant way to end the trip.


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