The road begins at puerto montt and journeys south into patagonia, ending at villa o’higgins.
The 1,600-kilometre route weaves through stunning landscapes of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and much more besides.
Carretera austral history
Having a road became extremely important as back in the eighties some parts of chile had been still accessible only by boat or plane, but given the harsh winter weather conditions, it very often happened that people remained without the possibility to move around or without food supply for days.
Of course, this can happen even nowadays, but thanks to the road the risk is lower.
Also before 1976 when traveling by land, a big part of chile had been accessible only via crossing borders to argentina and back which became a problem when those two countries had territorial disputes (which almost led to war), and chile needed to strengthen the presence in those remote areas.
Carretera austral road conditions
To illustrate the current state of the carretera austral, ill give you a few examples.
As of 2019, the first fourteen kilometers from villa cerro castillo to puerto rio tranquilo (visit the impressive marble caves) has been under construction, the rest of it, which is about 100 kilometers is an unsealed road.
The next part to cochrane, which stretches around beautiful lake carrera general, where you can visit fascinating marble caves, is completely unpaved and the unpaved road generally continues to the end of carretera austral and the last village on the road, villa ohiggins.
Where to stay on carretera austral
Camping is a great way how to save some money (although it is not free), and there are lots of campgrounds along the way.
You can find a camping spot in every village (or in between), and it is unlikely to find a campground without spot available even in the high season, which makes this option even more attractive.
Make sure you have a waterproof tent and warm sleeping bag as it rains a lot, nights are cold and the a once in a lifetime adventure can easily turn into uncomfortable and wet experience.
Which way to travel carretera austral
The road ends after 1240 kilometers in the small village called after chilean liberator bernardo ohiggins, villa ohiggins or simply villa.
Are there any border crossings to argentinacarretera austral is a one-way road in chile, and there are no borders crossings directly along the way.