ExpeditionPlus! South America: Patagonia Coast to Coast - Chile to Argentina

  • Itinerary Summary

    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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    1. Day 1: Meet in Puerto Varas and transfer Chiloé

      Highlights: Chiloe Island

      Our trip begins today with a shuttle to Ancud, Chiloé (about 90kms, 2 hours) where we fit bicycles and take a warm-up ride to get the travel kinks out of our legs. Founded in 1767, Ancud 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: L, D

    2. 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), about 500 meters along the beach.

      Meals: B, L

    3. 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). We'll have several short van shuttles today over gravel. One of 5 km to lunch, and then another 20 km after lunch to pavement where you'll bicycle another 15 km.

      Meals: B, L, D

    4. Day 4: Explore fishing community, bicycle to Castro

      Highlights: Market in Castro, wooden churches

      From Dalcahue we'll take the ferry to Quinchao Island. We'll bike to Curaco de Velez and after that to Achao to explore the oldest church (1793) in the archipelago which is a UNESCO site. We'll bicycle back to Castro in time for you to get lunch on your own and explore the market.

      Distance: 80 km. (48 miles).

      Meals: B

    5. Day 5: Castro to Chiloé 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, L, D

    6. 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, L, D

    7. 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). Van Shuttle over gravel 5 km to hotel.

      Meals: B, L

    8. 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: No Cycling. 2-hour van shuttle from Yelcho to Futaleufu.

      Meals: B, L

    9. Day 9: Futaleufu - 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

    10. Day 10: Esquel, 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: Cycling 78 km (48 miles). Van Shuttle over gravel: 35 km (22 miles).

      Meals: B

    11. 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

    12. Day 12: Tecka to Paso de los 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

    13. 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

    14. Day 14: Bicycle down Rio Chubut to Dique F. Ameguino

      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

    15. Day 15: Bicycle to Gaiman

      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

    16. 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

    17. 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!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Chiloé Island, The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Penguin Colony, Market in Castro, Old Patagonian Express, Gaiman, Rafting
    • Includes

      17 days, 16 nights accommodation, 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, most dinners, quality hybrid or road bicycle,
    • Countries

      Argentina, Chile
    • Begin/End

      Puerto Montt, Chile/Rawson, Argentina
    • Arrive/Depart

      Puerto Montt, Chile (via Santiago, Chile) /Trelew, Argentina, (via Buenos Aires, Argentina)
    • Total Distance

      1072 km (662 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average mileage per riding day 82 km (51 miles)
    • Rating

      501 Long days and varied terrain with some days including up to 4000+ feet of climbing.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • 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

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