ExpeditionPlus! South America: Patagonia Coast to Coast - Chile to Argentina
Are you ready to pedal Coast to Coast across South America? Join us on this expedition from Chiloé, Chile on the Pacific Coast, over the Andes, down the Chubut River valley through Playa Union, Argentina, to the Atlantic Coast. There are plenty of surprises along the way: starting with the unique culture of the Chilote people who are of Spanish and indigenous Mapuche descent; the Welsh settlement and tea houses at Gaiman; and Ruta 40, the main road of Argentine Patagonia but one of the least traveled roads in the country. We'll enjoy oceans, rain forest, mountains, deserts, river valleys and just about every other type of terrain you can imagine on this 700+ mile, 17-day expedition.
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Day 1: Meet in Puerto Varas and transfer Chiloé
Highlights: Chiloe Island
Our trip begins today with a shuttle to Ancud, Chiloé where we fit bicycles and take a warm-up ride to get the travel kinks out of our legs. Founded in 1767, Ancund was a fortified city, a base for seafarers coming north around Cape Horn, and the last Spanish stronghold in Chile. Chiloé is a fascinating island with one of the largest indigenous populations of any place in Chile.
Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D
Day 2: Dip your toe in the Pacific Ocean
Highlights: Magellan and Humboldt penguins colony, walk on beach
We’re in Ancud again tonight but we'll take an excursion today to be sure our bikes are properly fitted and to walk on the beach at Puñihuil, the only place in Chile where both the Magellan and Humboldt penguins breed. We have a dual purpose with today’s ride: one is to visit the penguin colony and the other is to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean on this spectacularly remote beach. Tomorrow we'll begin our two-plus week journey east for our dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Our ride from Ancud is 30 km. one- way. We'll take spend some time visitng the Penguins, have lunch and then pedal back.
Distance: 60 km. (37 miles). Meals: B, L
Day 3: East Coast of Chiloé Island
Highlights: Fishing port, East coast of Chiloé Island
Our route today takes us on the Panamerican Highway for a stretch, then off to the east coast of Chiloé Island. We’ll end our day in Dalcahue, a fishing port north and east of Castro, the capital of the island.
Distance: 90 km (56 miles). Meals: B
Day 4: Explore fishing community, bicycle to Castro
Highlights: Market in Castro, wooden churches
We'll hop back on the Panamericana and bicycle to Castro. You'll want to take time to explore the market some time today.
Distance: 80 km. (48 miles). Meals: B
Day 5: Castro to Chiloe National Park
Highlights: Visit the market morning in Castro, ride to Pacific
We pedal from Castro to Chiloé National Park on the Pacific Coast today to explore its ancient forests and learn about its history. This region was described by Charles Darwin on his famous voyage as rich in its diversity of temperate-zone forest plants. The park was created by the indigenous communities of Chiloé who have fought to protect the environment threatened by intensive deforestation. The national park is also home to rare species of animals endemic to Chile, such as picaflores (hummingbirds), kingfishers, huillines (sea otters), and pudúes (the smallest deer in the world). Tonight we overnight in a unique stilt hotel in the small town of Cucao.
Distance: 55 km (34 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Palafito Cucao
Day 6: Pedal to Castro and Ferry
Highlights: Ferry to Chaiten
Our ferry leaves mid-day today so we'll take a quick morning ride from the ocean back to Castro. We arrive in Chaiten later this evening where we spend the night and explore this town as it is being rebuilt. Chaiten was partially destroyed during a Volcanic Eruption.
Distance: 50 km (31 miles) or a rest day if you prefer. Meals: B
Day 7: Cycle to Yelcho in Patagonia
Highlights: Bicycle Chaiten - Yelcho en Patagonia
We have a shorter day today as we pedal into the Andes. Our destination is the the lake town of Yelcho en la Patagonia. We will stay on the shores of this beautiful lake tonight.
Distance: 50 km. (31 miles). Meals: B
Day 8: Boat Crossing - Lago Yelcho
Highlights: Rest Day, enjoy the Andes!
We jump on a boat across the lake today to experience the views of the mountains from a different point of view. We'll have a picnic en route and then spend some time enjoying the little community of Futaleufu. Mostly known for its world class rafting and fly fishing. No riding today, just some time on the lake and exploring town.
Distance: Rest Day. Meals: B, L
Day 9: Rest day in the Mountains
Highlights: Scenic Rivers, rafting and hiking;
You have the option of a half day of rafting or spending your day simply enjoying your beautiful surroundings. If you are a fly fisher we can help find you fly fishing options for the day, or maybe simply a nice walk in the hills appeals! Tonight we'll have dinner together and celebrate our last night in Chile before we cross the border tomorrow.
Distance: Rest Day. Meals: B, D
Day 10: Argentina and into the Foothills of the Andes!
Highlights: River views, views of Patagonia Express narrow gauge steam train
We head up the river this morning and climb about 2,000 feet by the time we arrive in Esquel, a small ski resort in the foothills of the Argentine Andes. Esquel is famous as the terminus of the Old Patagonian Express, one of the oldest continuously operating steam railways in the world. The train now operates primarily as a tourist attraction. We should be able to get some good photographs.
Distance: 78 km (48 miles). Meals: B
Day 11: Climb to Tecka
Highlights: Bicycle Ruta 40, the Andes
You'll continue to climb on today's ride as you leave Esquel for Tecka. After about 10 km. you intersect the famous "Ruta 40" which we’ll follow to Tecka where we spend the night. Continue south on the Ruta 40 and you’ll go to southern Patagonia (after about 4 weeks on your bike!). Tonight you'll stay in a school dorm or perhaps a hostel so be prepared for the possibility of a dorm style bathroom, and a mattress on the floor.
Distance: 93 km (58 miles). Meals: B
Day 12: Tecka to Paso de Indios
Highlights: Tea and barbecue, Argentinean steppe
Today is your first opportunity to ride a century, from Tecka to Paso de Indios on Ruta 25 rather than Ruta 40. We'll go over our last mountain range and head down to the beginning of the Chubut River Valley. Again the choices for accommodations are very limited in this remote area so we'll stay in a school dorm or perhaps a hostel so be prepared for the possibility of a dorm style bathroom, and mattresses on the floor. Dinner tonight will be at the Mapuche cultural center.
Distance: 165 kms (102 miles). Meals: B, D
Day 13: Down into the Valle de Los Altares
Highlights: Bicycle the Rio Chubut
Continuing east from Paso de Indios we encounter the Rio Chubut and the landscape changes dramatically as we enter the Valle de Los Altares. This green river valley contrasts starkly with the eroded sedimentary cliffs on either side. Our destination tonight is a small hotel in the village of Los Altares.
Distance: 56 km (35 miles). Meals: B
Day 14: Bicycle down Rio Chubut
Highlights: Cycling the plains - longest day of cycling!
Our route continues down the Rio Chubut today following the river to Las Plumas. We then continue on to where the Rio Chubut was dammed in 1963 to provide irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control for communities down the river. You will have the winds at your back (hopefully!) as you ride down the valley. The village that grew up around the dam construction has remained.
Distance: 186 km (116 miles). Meals: B
Day 15: Bicycle to Gaiman and find the Welsh
Highlights: Welsh tea house
As we follow the Rio Chubut further eastward, the last thing you might expect to find is a Welsh tea house and a city of 6,000 people speaking both Spanish and Welsh, but that is precisely what Gaiman has to offer. Settled by Welsh immigrants in the 1860s and 70s, the entire region is a miniature Welsh enclave.
Distance: 109 km (68 miles). Meals: B
Day 16: Bicycle to Trelew and Playa Union
Highlights: Playa Union and the Atlantic Ocean
We continue pedaling through this unlikely Welsh culture region, through Trelew, and Rawson, capital of the Chubut region. We then head on to Puerto Playa Union on the Atlantic coast to end this expedition.
Distance: 45 km (29 miles). Meals: B
Day 17: Farewell and enjoy Argentina or Patagonia
Highlights: Fly out to Buenos Aires or down to Tierra del Fuego
Our tour ends this morning on the Atlantic Beach. You understand Patagonia and the Pampas a little better now. Keep pedaling, if you wish. Buenos Aires is only 1500 km to the north. But if you are staying on, buen viaje!
HighlightsChiloé Island, The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Penguin Colony, Market in Castro, Old Patagonian Express, Gaiman, RaftingKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes17 days, 16 nights accommodation, 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, most dinners, quality hybrid or road bicycle,
Begin/EndPuerto Montt, Chile/Rawson, Argentina
Arrive/DepartPuerto Montt, Chile (via Santiago, Chile) /Trelew, Argentina, (via Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Total Distance1072 km (662 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage mileage per riding day 82 km (51 miles)
Rating501 Long days and varied terrain with some days including up to 4000+ feet of climbing.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Jan 11-27, 2016 $6750 $925 Book by August 1st and Save $200 per person. Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
A Taste of Patagonia by Linda Hayek
Linda completed the 2009 ExpeditionPlus! bicycle trip across Chile and Argentina
Routes on the Open Road
Our South American trips through Chile and Argentina offer a generous helping of stories and memories, even by transcontinental standards.
NPR story Myth and Magic Infuse Chilean Island
A 2008 story from National Public Radio about the unique culture found on Chiloé Island
Welsh Patagonia: M&S cherries and red dragons
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first Welsh immigrants arrival in Patagonia. Read more about what brought them there and how they've created communities.
- A Taste of Patagonia by Linda Hayek
The trip expanded my world!Gary M., Denver, CO
Great trip and great guides as usual!Sybil P., Boulder, CO
Tops on my list is the accomplishment of completing the trip, riding coast to coast, crossing the Andes and biking two century days. I really think the whole of the trip is much more than the sum of its parts. I booked this trip to mark the milestone of my 40th birthday, and it exceeded my every expectation. I not only challenged myself physically, I also experienced and learned about two amazing countries while getting to know an amazing group of fellow travelers. What better gift could I ask for?Roger P. Sacramento, CA
I recently returned from the Coast to Coast South America expedition in Patagonia, and it was a wonderful, unforgettable adventure. I would have repeated it immediately ... without hesitation ... because I enjoyed it so much!Linda H. Plattsmouth, NE
"I felt very comfortable with the family business because they all made me feel like 'one of the family!'"Mary G. Sarasota, FL
"All in all this was a very nice trip, well organized, nice people, interesting location, excellent staff, a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and exercise,(that's a good thing)good equipment."John D. Madison, CT