Guided tour

Cycling the Lake District of Chile & Argentina

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Key Features

Argentina

Country

Andes Mountains

Region

Guided

Trip Type

Easy

Difficulty

Road Cycling

Adventure type

3*

Accommodation

13

Nights

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Overview


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Discover a beautiful and fertile land at the northern gateway to Patagonia - a magical landscape filled with active volcanoes, turquoise rivers, gigantic lakes and ancient native forests. See Andean condors swooping down from the foothills of the cordillera as we cycle on some of the most scenic paved routes that South America has to offer. We'll gain a cultural insight into both Chile and Argentina, including the European influences and indigenous customs that have shaped the region. Cross the Andes twice in spectacular fashion on two wheels as part of an incredible 'once in a lifetime' journey!

What's the plan

Itinerary

Day 1

Travellers on our group flights will arrive to Puerto Montt airport today after connecting in Santiago de Chile. There will be a group transfer from the airport to our start hotel in the nearby town of Puerto Varas. For those people who have booked Land Only and made their own travel arrangements, you are welcome to meet the group transfer should you wish (and have informed us in advance) otherwise the meeting point is at the start hotel in Puerto Varas anytime in the afternoon/evening.

Day 2

Our Lake District cycling adventure starts off today in scenic fashion as we navigate clockwise around the shore of Lago Llanquihue (the third biggest lake in South America) and stretch our legs for the more challenging days ahead. From the lakeside road we will enjoy spectacular views of the volcanoes and the Andean mountain range that lie just to the east. Volcanoes Osorno (2652m), Puntiagudo (2190m), Tronador (3451m), Puyehue (2240m) and Calbuco (2015m) are all visible on a clear day. Well cycle to the picturesque lakeside village of Frutillar, a German influenced settlement which is home to the modern 'Teatro del Lago' theatre. The ride ends here and after lunch well transfer back to Puerto Varas./Today's ride will be mostly paved. (30 km paved and 4 km unpaved)/

Day 3

We follow the shoreline of Lago Llanquihue once more today but in an easterly direction past Puerto Chico and Ensenada, straight towards the imposing Calbuco and Osorno volcanoes. Gateway to the Andean Lakes, our journey from here across the mountain range takes us in to more remote and spectacular environments.We cycle onwards, following the banks of the emerald coloured Rio Petrohue towards the 'Saltos de Petrohue' waterfalls. Upon reaching 'Lago Todos los Santos' we are greeted by a beautiful setting and we'll swap our mode of transport in order to board an exclusive private catamaran ferry. Cruising across the lake is a wonderful and peaceful experience as we keep our eyes peeled for Andean condors flying overhead (journey time approx. 1.5/2 hours)./Todays ride will all be paved. It will consist of approx. 45 km on flat terrain and a climb for the last 15 km./

Day 4

After breakfast we start cycling towards the Argentinian border which involves riding 20km with a steady incline before taking on a challenging climb (approx. 700m over 7.5km) to reach the frontier. There is then a short descent into Puerto Frias. Depending on how the weather has been in the proceeding days, the unpaved mountain roads can either be well compacted or sometimes loose and dusty. The final leg of todays iconic journey across the Andes is a short ferry crossing on Lago Frias followed by a 3km ride to your hotel in Puerto Blest./Today is the most challenging day. 31 km unpaved. The border crossing involves a long steep climb on gravel followed by a fast downhill section./

Day 5

Puerto Blest is situated on the westernmost point of Lago Nahuel Huapi and from here we board a catamaran to take us to Puerto Pauelo. Instead of cycling directly towards Bariloche, we will take a scenic route on a paved road that loops around via Punto Panoramico to enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the Argentinian Lake District. As we approach Bariloche we will board the bus for a short transfer (approx. 20 minutes), linking up with the lakeside main road./Todays ride will be 15 km paved and 9 km unpaved./

Day 6

After several days of travelling, today is a free day allowing a well-earned chance to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District. You may wish to take a look around the centre of Bariloche, a ski and adventure sports hub with numerous chocolate shops. There are plenty of adventurous activities available should you wish to indulge, such as guided stand up rafting on Rio Limay, or the opportunity to independently trek up Mount Campanario to enjoy beautiful views from the summit.

Day 7

After breakfast well transfer for approx. 1.5 hours around the northern edge of Lago Nahuel Huapi to bypass the busy Bariloche traffic and reach the starting point for another spectacular cycling route. The 'Camino de los Siete Lagos' (Seven Lakes Road) is an incredibly scenic route that winds its way northwards past lakes and forests connecting the alpine towns of San Carlos de Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes. Depending upon the exact start point, today involves us riding a total distance of around 52km through spectacular and rewarding landscapes. We will break the ride up with a lunchtime picnic stop and should therefore arrive in San Martin de los Andes in the afternoon. Entering the picturesque small town of San Martin involves a wonderful approach along the shore of Lago Lacar./Today will be all paved. The last 17 km is a fast downhill section./

Day 8

After breakfast we will say goodbye to Argentina and cross back into Chile via the Huahum Pass. We will have a short transfer to the border before we start cycling up to Pirihueico Port, crossing the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. We will make a stop for coffee and lunch at the port. From here we will take a barge (boat) that will sail us to Port Fuy, (approx 1.5hours). From here we will cycle to the village of Choshuenco./Todays ride will be 21 km paved and 13 km unpaved gravel. It will mostly be downhill./

Day 9

Today we start the day by cycling to Panguipulli Village. Here we will have lunch before a transfer Pucn Town (approx. 1 hour). We will stay in a dowtown hotel, located by the feet of Villarrica Volcano (2840 m)./Today will all be paved. During high season there may be more traffic than usual in this area./

Day 10

Today is at leisure for you to choose from doing organised activities or having some time out. There are numerous nearby hot springs (termas) and spas in this part of Chile meaning Pucon is the perfect place to soothe away any bike-induced aches and pains! Your tour leader will be able to advise which local agencies to use depending upon what you would like to do. There is also a nice beach in Pucon just a short walk from the hotel, and there are lots of restaurants and bars to choose from.Should the local conditions permit then today is the perfect opportunity to climb to the crater of a live volcano! Villarrica Volcano (2840m) is situated just outside of the town and most recently erupted in March 2015. Obviously, this activity comes with its risks and so the local tour company will only take groups if the conditions are totally safe. All equipment can be rented, meaning that you only need to bring your own waterproof walking trousers. The early morning ascent takes around 4 hours and involves wearing crampons to cross a glacier before a memorable and unique descent after reaching the crater (this isnt for the faint hearted!). Depending upon the amount of snow at the summit, the normal way of getting down the volcano is to sledge down a specially crafted series of compacted snow and ice channels. This is a special experience from start to finish but should only be undertaken if aware of the challenges.If you wish to cycle today then you can take your bike out and the tour leader will recommend some routes.

Day 11

Departing Pucon, we transfer northwards after breakfast to the town of Cunco. From here the cycling starts with a 33km stretch of paved road towards Conguillio National Park, stopping for lunch in Melipeuco. Shortly afterwards is the turn off to enter the national park where the road eventually becomes unpaved and dusty in places. From the entrance we will take a short walk to the Truful Truful waterfall. Afterwards we will carry on cycling for 7km until we reach our accommodation for the night.The scenes that we encounter today are vastly different from the rest of the tour. Clouds rise up from surrounding valleys and quickly change form whilst passing over the volcanic lava. Llaima Volcano (3125m) dominates the skyline and we spend the night in a remote and charming eco-lodge. The property restricts energy use as part of its self-sufficiency, meaning that electricity and hot water are not available during the night./Todays ride will be 45km paved and 6 km unpaved gravel./

Day 12

It is our last day of cycling today as we continue riding further within Conguillio N.P. and see several beautiful lagoons (Laguna Arco Iris, Laguna Verde) and Conguillo Lake. We will also visit the parks interpretation centre in order to find out about how the park was formed. (Please note that this may not be possible as sometimes the centre is closed during our visit). We will then walk for an hour through the native forest to see ancient monkey-puzzle trees. Tonight will be the last evening all together with group and staff, so it is the perfect opportunity for a last meal and drinks to look back on what will have surely been a fantastic journey./Today will be a loop ride which will all be unpaved gravel. The way out will be mostly going uphill and the return will be mostly downhill./

Day 13

Our adventure ends this monring after breakfast. In the afternoon those on the group flight will be transferred to Temuco airport for their evening flight. Land only bookings can join this transfer if flight timings are similar to the group flight timings (please see the Transfer Details section below). Please note that the accommodation inside Conguillo National Park is in a very remote location and not close to the city of Temuco.

Other key

Highlights

  • Two South American countries
  • Cycle across the Andes
  • Iconic Andean Lakes
  • See Monkey Puzzle Forests
  • Ride the 'Seven Lakes Road'
  • Cycle alongside Lago Llanquihue
  • Active volcanoes & lush forests
  • Free time to visit Bariloche & Pucon
  • Ride in Conguillio National Park

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