The Carretera Austral

The Carretera is rapidly gaining recognition for being up there with the finest road trips in the Americas, if not worldwide.

Hugh Sinclair, author of Chile: Carretera Austral

The ‘best road trip in the world’ is an oft-heard claim, but in the case of the Carretera Austral it is well and truly justified. From the subtropical jungles south of Puerto Montt to glaciers of dimensions that defy belief, a new vista emerges with almost every bend along the road.

Wild rivers connect the Andes with the Pacific Ocean, carving through the narrow strip of land that forms Chile, pausing only to fill lakes with every shade of blue imaginable. Alerce trees have stood guard over the region for thousands of years, towering high above the Carretera Austral. Wild guanacos serve as traffic lights, pumas are considered a pest, Andean condors glide majestically through the valleys in search of carcasses, and beyond the confines of the road itself evidence of humankind’s impact is the exception rather than the rule.

And yet within this wilderness it is possible to find excellent accommodation, eat fine food, and interrupt the driving with an ever-expanding range of activities. The Carretera is rapidly gaining recognition for being up there with the finest road trips in the Americas, if not worldwide.

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