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Carretera Austral

A splendid route in Patagonia is second to none


Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin
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The Carretera Austral, known as Route 7 (“Ruta 7”) or the Southern Route (“Ruta Austral”), is an unbelievably scenic highway with a length of around 770 mi (1240 km). This roadway passes through breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of Chilean Patagonia and runs from its northernmost point of Puerto Montt to its southernmost spot in Villa O’Higgins.

The Carretera Austral is home to a wide range of virgin landscapes and freshest air in the world. This attracts thousands of fearless cyclists and drivers to breathe in and experience the nature of Patagonia. On your way along the route, you have a chance to go white-water rafting down the Futaleufú, one of the world’s most famous rivers for rafting. This magical region also has many excellent trekking itineraries to surprise you with. One of the major highlights of the route is the glacial-blue Lago General Carrera with its incredible Marble Caves.

The area where the Southern Route runs is relatively inhabitant with fewer than one person per square kilometer living here. As you might have guessed, these statistics are well-reflected on the state of the highway. The Carretera Austral is still under construction, with large areas of the road still unpaved.

The fact you need to deal with is that the weather in Patagonia is more than unpredictable, and the forecast is not going to help you as it can be inaccurate. Generally, the best time to travel along the Carretera Austral is between November and April. This period is more likely to bring the warmest and driest weather, and most attractions should be open and accessible.

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