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Great Road Trips: Patagonia's Carretera Austral

From rainforests to the icefields, this is Patagonia is at its untamed best. Enjoy cosy lodges, stellar walks and exclusive experiences along a road less travelled.

If you appreciate going to a place where most people don’t speak English, where wi-fi works only sometimes, where roads are unpaved, where you might be delayed by guanacos in the road, then you should love travelling on Chile's Southern Highway as much as we do.

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Itinerary

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Day 1 - Explore Santiago with a helping hand

Your trip begins in Chile's thriving capital, where a friendly face will introduce you to their home city. You'll have no trouble finding somewhere good for dinner tonight in this foodie hotspot.
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Day 2 - Travel into Patagonia's Aysén region

From Chile's biggest metropolis, you now fly to a region with half the population density of Mongolia. Many of them live in its biggest town Coyhaique, where you settle in for two nights.
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Day 3 - Walk with your guide in the national reserve

Today is all about getting to know Aysén, as your guide showcases its geography and geology, flora and fauna. It's a good stretch of your legs, and a first hint at the enorminty of its landscapes.
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Day 4 - Drive north to the Queulat National Park

Your first real drive leads north into the temperate rainforests, one of the world's rarest habitats. On a walk with your host Pato, you'll see waterfalls, glaciers and some very, very old trees.
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Day 5 - Explore your fjord by kayak or boat

Wonderful views open up all around as you paddle, or sail, through the quiet fjord which your cabin overlooks. Linger over lunch on an island and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins as you go.
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Day 6 - Hike to views of a hanging glacier

For today, we recommend a self-guided 7km trail through the rainforest to eye level views of one of Patagonia's greatest, but seldom seen, natural wonders - Queulat's emblematic hanging glacier.
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Day 7 - Cross land and lake to reach Chile Chico

One special thing about Aysén is the sheer variety of ecosystems packed into a small area. You'll experience this today as you leave forests to cross Patagonian steppe and Chile's biggest lake.

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