Best time to visit Patagonia

Carretera Austral in Patagonia

A splendid route in Patagonia is second to none

Best time: November–April

Carretera Austral
Carretera Austral
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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.

Practical info

What type of activities are available on the Carretera Austral?

The Carretera Austral is a haven for adventure enthusiasts. It offers tourists several activities like white-water rafting on the world-famous Futaleufú River and trekking. The Marble Caves on the glacial-blue Lago General Carrera are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. Visitors can also experience the breathtaking nature of Patagonia through cycling and driving, with the incredible natural scenery that is unique to this location. Show more

What is the present condition of the highway?

Currently, the Carretera Austral is still a work in progress, and large portions of the road are unpaved. The low population density in the area makes road maintenance challenging, resulting in unpredictable road conditions. Those traveling on the highway should be prepared to drive slowly and over unpaved stretches of the road. The road can also be narrow and winding, so extra caution is necessary when driving on this scenic but challenging highway. Show more

What is the best season to explore the Carretera Austral?

The ideal time to explore the Carretera Austral is between November and April. During these months, the weather is generally warm and dry. This weather makes all the attractions and activities available to visitors. It is important to note that traveling during other seasons can be less convenient, as the unpredictable weather may interfere with exploring the region. Show more

How do the weather conditions in Patagonia affect traveling along the highway?

Patagonia is known for having highly unpredictable weather, and the forecast can be inaccurate. Visitors should be prepared for alternating periods of sunshine and rain, as well as cooler temperatures at night. This weather can make traveling along the Carretera Austral road more challenging. The unpaved stretches of the highway can become even riskier during wet and windy weather conditions, making traveling more challenging and more perilous. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva