Chile

Carretera Austral: Off the beaten track roadtrip

After a week of chilling on a beach in Pucon, it was time to hit the road again. With a good tan, we hopped into Walter for the Carretera Austral in Chile. We had to say goodbye to our Israeli wolfpack and found ourselves another Israeli crew to tag along. Old habits die hard they say. I got the feeling the Carretera Austral (Route 7) is only well known among hitchhiking Israeli’s, which made it one of those things away from the crowds.

rainbow mountain view roadtrip carretera austral

The Carretera Austral Top 5

Driving from North to South is definitely the way to do it, getting overwhelmed by the amazingness nature has to offer every single day again. Every day was better than the previous day. And let’s put this straight; we’re talking on a scale of amazingness here. I figured the only way of not bothering you with endless stories (some of you might be up to date of my incapability of ”keeping it short”) about every single beautiful and exciting thing we came across, it’s time for a Top 5. So here we go!

1. Futaleufu

Starting our Carretera trip in Futaleufu we immediately hit the jackpot. Home to the bright and crystal-clear Futaleufu river this is the place to go white water rafting. Apparently the second-best place in the world. If you hit the jackpot yourself or simply aren’t on a backpacker’s budget check out Earthriver in Futaleufu. Seven days of rafting and definitely the best place in town to stay. Little wooden cabins are hidden on the cliffs, no windows whatsoever, and only the best views to wake up to (or watch the sunset out of the hot tub). Unfortunately no honeymoon suite for us, but pitching the tent there got pretty close.

Hot tub futaleufu river view
kayaking hanging glacier puyuhuapi

2. Puyuhuapi

Puyuhuapi, and especially the Hanging Glacier, definitely deserve a spot in the Top 5. The town itself is already absolutely gorgeous, but get your ass to this glacier thing. A massive monster with waterfalls ending up in a bright mint green lake. And they have kayaks! I think our tour was supposed to last for about 1,5 hours, but traveling with a bunch of lovely retards doubles this quite easily. Definitely one of those over-the-moon-so-happy moments!

3. Marble Caves at Rio Marbal

Seeing this amazing picture on Instagram a year ago, I had one mission while in Chile; the Marble caves. As this isn’t really a well-known thing we had to talk to a lot of locals to find the exact spot of this little wonder of nature, but we did! As we got the hang of kayaking, the Aussie, the newest addition to the Walter crew, the Swede, and I decided we had to go kayaking to the marble caves. It was freezing cold with a wind blowing our heads off, but we got treated to some pretty sweet views. A picture says more than a thousand words they say. So let them do the talking.

marble caves clear water chile
Enchanted forest at Parque Nacional Queulat in Chile

4. Enchanted Forest

This is this thing other backpackers whisper about. Having no idea what people meant with the Enchanted Forest, made it even more enchanted. The trail is located in the Queulat National Park and is about a 2-hour hike. Driving on the Carretera Austral you’ll get glimpses of how beautiful the hike must be. From the moment you leave the Hanging Glacier behind and drive your way up to Cohaique, you’re in for quite a treat. To make it even more mysterious, this Enchanted Forest thing is also quite easy to miss (as we speak from experience). But once you found it; you’ll feel like being in Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. Go check it out!

5. Carretera Austral Route

Even if you don’t have the time to stop anywhere along the Carretera Austral, it’s worth the drive. Therefore, A Top 5 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the road itself. Although a 4×4 is highly recommendable, Walter absolutely crushed it on the dirt roads that let us from one amazing place to another. From the moment we entered the Carretera Austral, we got blown away by mountains, sheep crossing the road whenever they liked, lakes, fjords, Lago Carrera, endless valleys, and many many rainbows.

Roadtrip in Patagonia South America during sunset

Patagonia is on fire

The more we dive into Patagonia, the more I start to love it. This place just amazes me and it only seems to get better and better. Not only do we get to see so many things, but the weather is treating us more than nicely during those after summer days. We love a fair share of Argentinian and Chilean foods (serious Alfajores testing among the Walter crew; Milka Oreo is the absolute number one so far. Suggestions are always welcome!). And Ushuaia is starting to call our names. Only 950 km to go till the end of the world. We’re coming for ya baby!

Marthe

Rainbow view kayaking marble caves

Photos by: M. Barends, F. Mosesson ©