Spend 11 exhilarating days cycling the northern part of the iconic Carretera Austral on a locally-led guided tour.
Few regions in the world quite stir the intrepid explorer’s mind like that of Patagonia. Straddling both Chile and Argentina, this wild southern frontier of South America boasts jagged Andean peaks, dazzling glacial lakes, ice fields, crystal clear rivers and temperate forest. To put it lightly, this is the kind of scenery that will forever remain etched in your mind and better yet it is perfect for cycling. So what are you waiting for?
Well, the first thing to figure out is where to point your tires. And that is no easy choice. Should you be setting off from Chile, then there is really no better place to begin than the epic Carretera Austral. Standing at a whopping 1000km (622 mi), this insanely beautiful route is currently 60% gravel making it a gnarly and eventful ride.
On this gorgeous trail, you will feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude at witnessing such a delightful range of scenery. Starting off in the port city of Puerto Montt, you can top up on some wonderful seafood, before embarking on the ride of your life. This iconic cycling route brings you lakes, volcanoes, fjords, glaciers, mountains and forests.
The most iconic spot where the nature practically overflows is the gorgeous Torres del Paine National Park. Bask in the soaring mountains, bedazzling blue icebergs and stop to admire the rare wildlife such as llama-like guacanos.
Obviously, a ride deep into Patagonia would be nothing without experiencing the Argentine side of things. The infamous Ruta Nacional 40 highway is a must-ride for those wanting a true Patagonian experience. The spectacular alpine town of San Carlos de Bariloche is a great starting point and offers excellent scenery and hiking to keep you entertained before setting off onto the lonely highway and into the headwinds that connect ancient forests with oil boomtowns and curious Welsh settlements.
One major highlight of Ruta 40 is the impressive Cave of Hands, where archaeologists discovered 9,000-year-old stencilled handprints and galloping guanacos painted by indigenous ancient peoples.
Eventually, the plains that are punctuated by sheep and guanacos gives way to spectacular views of the mountains of Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, plus the magnificent Glaciar Viedma that make up parts of the wonderful Los Glaciares National Park. Within the national park, the curious village of El Chaltén is where you can top up on life’s luxuries while marvelling at the supernatural scenery that envelops you.
These are just a few of the many highlights that await a cycling adventure in Patagonia. But ultimately, the main pulls of this beautiful region are the breathtaking scenery, the solitude and the pure adrenaline rush you get from tackling this epic route on two wheels. What is better than that?