‘The best road-trip in the world’ is an oft-heard phrase claimed by many. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Carretera Austral is slowly gaining fame for being up there with the finest road trips in the Americas, if not worldwide.

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Stretching from the Chilean Lake District to southern Patagonia, the Carretera Austral offers South America’s greatest road trip. It runs through Chile’s wildest region, where towering forests sit alongside monumental glaciers and Andean condors soar above aquamarine lakes. Bordered by craggy cliffs and mountains, the 1,270km road snakes past secluded settlements, exclusive lodges, vivid marble caves and mist-shrouded hot springs – not to mention countless snow-tipped volcanoes and national parks. Although challenging, it is undoubtedly worth the effort. 

Hugh Sinclair and Warren Houlbrooke

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