1. The majority of the Southern Carretera Austral Sur is a serpentine gravel road that can be very narrow in certain sections. An experienced driver is highly recommended.
2. Fill up the gas tank whenever possible, as stations are only available in Balmaceda, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Cochrane and Villa O’Higgins.
3. A slow-paced itinerary is suggested in order to have time to sightsee the many available highlights including vast rivers and lakes of changing colors, distinct ecosystems and several national parks each completely spectacular.
4. Wild animals roam freely along the road, including the endangered Huemul, please respect the speed limits and don't speed.
5. Internet reception is only available in the larger towns and at some hotels.
6. Debit / credit cards are widely accepted, however Chilean cash is still recommended as a backup and for small businesses.
7. A great alternative to staying in Puerto Rio Tranquilo are hotels located about an hour away such as Mallín Colorado and Mirador de Guadal. Logistically speaking, they are at times, an even better alternative depending on the following day’s activities.
8. The Laguna San Rafael Excursion (which departs from Puerto Rio Tranquilo and through the Exploradores Valley) is a once in a lifetime tour that will take you navigating to the Northern Patagonian Ice Fields in between serine beauty and majestic glaciers. To get to the boat be prepared for a two-hour car ride each way over a bumpy road.
9. For active adventures, the trek over Exploradores Glacier is suggested. This tour is ideal for people with strong ankles and knees and whom want to experience hiking over a millennial glacier.
10. To explore the Marble Caves it is highly recommended to do so from Bahía Mansa as the calmer waters and closeness to this natural monument are a huge benefit.
11. Public restrooms are not really available, make sure to plan accordingly.
12. In Cochrane, if you are looking for a place for lunch try Hostal Esmeralda located on the main avenue. It offers simple yet great food.
13. The entrance to see the Neff and Baker River confluence can easily be missed as the sign has faded in color over the years. Make sure to keep an eye out for this stop, as it is truly amazing.
14. The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco is necessary stay for animal and nature lovers. Located inside the Patagonia Park its story and conservation efforts are inspiring.
15. Make sure you visit the end of the Carretera Austral when in Villa O’Higgins, it is where the route officially ends and land meets with the sea.
***Please note in the recent days there has been a large landslide on the route, which connects Puerto Rio Tranquilo with the Exploradores Valley where the ice trekking and navigation excursions take place. They are working on repairing the route; however, this may take some time. As an alternative, we suggest the following NEW excursion below.***
Leones Glacier & Lake
This full day excursion starts at the shores of the General Carrera Lake where you will embark on your first boat ride of the day. You will navigate across these turquoise colored waters and then follow a river upstream to a nearby valley. There, in the midst of remote wilderness you will continue by foot for about thirty minutes until you arrive to the majestic Leones Lake. This body of water is fed by three different glaciers and surrounded by pristine nature. There, you will embark on your second navigation touring this lake and getting an up close and personal look at the imposing Leones Glacier. After having taken in the sights and sounds of this little corner of heaven on earth you will return back. (Snack) (group)