Carretera Austral / Chile January 2017

The Carretera Austral (the Southern Road) is a 1,240 kilometres long road (Ruta 7) in Chile from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins. Built between 1976 and 1996 it leads through a savage and largely inaccessible landscape but politically is of strategic importance. In contrast to its length it provides road connection for (only) 100.000 people. In mid-January, Franz and I drove some 700 km of the southern section from Villa Santa Lucia to Porto Yungay.

Coming from Bariloche we entered Chile via the Paso Futalefu. The Rio Futalefu is a world-renown outdoor sport location which offers top white-water kayaking, rafting, canyoning, and mountaineering. We then moved along the Carretera Austral to Puerto Puyuhuapi, a port with some 800 inhabitants which has been founded by German settlers in the mid-1930s. Close by is the Parque Nacional Queulat with an impressive hanging glacier. While the landscape becomes more and more scenic we continued to Coyhaique and Cochrane where we were lucky to attend a local Rodeo festival. After reaching Porto Yangun from where you would need to cross a fjord by ferry for the last 100 km to O`Higgins we turned back and went east to enter Argentina via the Paso Roballo.

The pictures below show

  1. Images of the southern part of the Carretera Austral
  2. Notwithstanding the road conditions the Carretera Austal is popular among travellers using any kind of transport.
  3. One of the pictures shows a big yellow Overloander truck/bus transporting tourists across South-America. The amzing story is that I had met the bus driver (Mick) standing next to me in April 2015 in Jinja / Uganda.  There we talked about my plans to travel around the world. By pure cooincidence we meet again at a road construction site on the Carretera Austral. Seems in life one always meets twice.
  4. Rafting the Rio Futalefu. Canyoning near the town of Futalefu
  5. Port Puyuhuapi still carries many German street names.
  6. Parque Nacional Queulat: After a 90 min steep hike through Valdivian rainforest you reach the viewpoint for the hanging glacier
  7. Spaghetti are the traditional campers’ food
  8. The road from Coyhaique to Lago General Carrera, Puerto Rio Tranquillo, and the Valley Exploradores. Pictures show a glacier which is part of the northern ice shield.
  9. Rodeo in Chochrane: Unlike in Spain no animal is killed in the event. The Rodeo is a competition where pairs of gauchos prove their skills in directing young bulls to run a certain path. The task: to lead the bull two loops in the small area and two loops in the big circuit. The aim is to force it to turn exactly at a certain point (where the cushions are). The competition lasts for three days and each pair collects points depending on the number of successful runs. At work the technique is used to gather cattle in the pasture for branding.
  10. The stretch of the Carretera Austral from Cochran to Porto Yungay.
  11. The road from Cochran to the Paso Roballo which connects to Argentina.

If you want to see a picture in full-screen size then double-cliick on it.