Chile: Patagonia – MTB highlights at the most beautiful

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Adventure, loneliness, endless space and unlimited freedom

Patagonia is synonymous with adventure, solitude, endless space and unlimited freedom. Hardly any traveler can escape the fascination of the deserted landscapes and the endless expanse in Chile and Argentina. The region at the southern tip of South America, at the end of the world, is an adventurer’s dream, a paradise for nature lovers and one of the largest amusement parks for mountain bikers. Our bike tour gives a comprehensive impression of the diversity of this region: extensive lake and river landscapes with impenetrable primeval forests and snow-capped volcanic giants; grandiose, untouched mountain landscapes of the Andes, fjords and millennia-old glaciers and as a contrast to this the wide, barren steppe landscape on the Argentine side.

Highlights

  • Bike trails in Chile and Argentina
  • Carretera Austral: Fjords and Glaciers
  • Lakes, jungles and volcanoes
  • Fascinating Andes Crossing
  • Rafting and outdoor hotspot Futaleufú

Travel Program

A night flight brings us to Puerto Montt via Santiago de Chile. The accompanying bus takes us to our accommodation in Puerto Octay. There we spend the first night in the accommodation of a Swiss emigrant. We learn a lot about Chile and what life is like here from Armin and his Chilean wife Nadia – their food tastes fantastic!

Transfer: 1.5 h
Overnight stay: family pension, Puerto Octay

The stage around the sublime Osorno volcano offers a worthy start to our bike tour through Patagonia. In the morning we cycle through lush green pastures along the second largest lake in Patagonia, Lago Llanquihue (69 m). In the afternoon the picture changes. The road has less and less space, the jungle is getting more and more lush and the view over the lake and the volcano is getting bigger and bigger. A long climb brings us to the outlet of Todos los Santos Lake, where the Río Petrohué has its source.

PLUS: From Lago Llanquihue we bike through lush jungle and the barren volcanic landscape halfway up the 2652 m high Osorno volcano. The view up here is fantastic, as is the downhill. On a technically demanding, very sandy single trail we literally surf over the volcanic flanks down to the picturesque lake Todos los Santos – only flying is nicer! After the recent volcanic eruptions, there is a lot of ash and sand on the slope, so this stage is only recommended for technically ambitious bikers who are willing to carry and push longer sections.

As a final bouquet, if the schedule allows, both bike groups will visit the impressive waterfalls of the Río Petrohué. In the evening we let Nadia and Armin spoil us again with culinary delights.

Bike route: 40/60 km, 700/1350 m
ascent. Overnight stay: family pension, Puerto Octay

A very steep slope leads through the Villarrica National Park to the top of the pass, between the two mighty volcanoes Villarrica and Quetrupillan. The lonely, mystical araucaria forests are a relic of times long past when dinosaurs roamed the forests.

PLUS: A technically demanding, but mostly mobile hiking trail leads up above the tree line, where a fantastic panoramic view opens up for us. After an extensive photo stop, we bike back down into the bizarre araucaria forests on the same fun trail. This trail can also be walked on foot.

We briefly interrupt the adventurous descent over narrow dirt roads to visit the roaring waterfalls, embedded in wonderfully green vegetation. Then it’s on to the Mapuche village of Curarrehue.

Bike route: 35/60 km, 700/950 m
elevation gain Overnight stay: cozy hotel, Curarrehue

In the morning we follow a small side road through the rural area towards Tromen Pass.

PLUS: If you want, you can tackle the long and tough ascent to the Tromen Pass. The now paved road rises steadily and sweaty, up to the Chilean border post. 900 additional vertical meters can be credited.

A transfer takes us up the Tromen Pass to a lagoon just before the Chilean border post. From here we bike together again through the Andean mountains and above all enjoy the view of the nearby Lanin, one of the most impressive volcanoes in the world. After crossing the border, we let ourselves be blown out into the Argentine steppe with a tailwind. Gradually the last araucaria are lost in the Patagonian expanse. On this side of the Andes, the drought and the constant westerly wind hardly allow any more tree growth. With the escort vehicle we reach the picturesque town of San Martín de los Andes, where we spend the next two nights. In the evening there is enough time to indulge in Argentinian steaks and fine wine.

Bike route: 60/100 km, 400/1300 m
ascent. Overnight stay: good hotel in the center, San Martin de los Andes

A few years ago, a bike park was set up in the Cerro Chapelco ski area high above San Martín de los Andes. We can easily reach the trailheads by shuttle and gondola. At the top, single trails of varying difficulty await us with imaginative names such as: Senda del Puma, Carpintero, La Cornisa, Los Mallines and the technically demanding K11. The trails are all not only extremely flowy, but also beautifully embedded in the beautiful forest and mountain landscape. An Eldorado not only for mountain bikers, but also for nature lovers. After extensive downhill fun with a high potential for addiction, we head back down to the town of San Martin, where further culinary challenges await us in the form of veritable pieces of meat – viva Argentina!

Important note: Since the bike park is not open throughout the summer season, alternative routes are used, such as the Tucumana Trail (20 km, 550 m ascent).

Bike route: 30/50 km, 200/1000 m
ascent. Overnight stay: good hotel in the center, San Martin de los Andes

PLUS: Hard-nosed bikers can expect a tough ascent from San Martín.

Everyone else only saddles up the bikes after a short transfer up to a plateau. The route is flanked by impenetrable southern beech forests. Soon we reach a lonely lake. After that, the vegetation becomes more and more sparse and the topography more and more demanding. The last hairpin bends on the lonely Cordóba Pass are tough and steep, but at the top we are compensated by a fantastic view of the wild mountains of the Andes. The rugged Patagonian landscape offers a wonderful ambience. Bizarre rock needles accompany our slope and after strenuous kilometers we reach Confluencia, a settlement consisting of a gas station and a simple hotel. The first pleases our thirsty escort vehicle, the second our tired and probably also thirsty bikers. A transfer takes us to Nahuel Huapi Lake in one hour.

Bike route: 80/100 km, 1050/1600 m
ascent. Accommodation: hotel or cabañas, Dina Huapi

PLUS: We bike along the Limay River on a wild gaucho trail and marvel at the contrast of the green river landscape in the middle of the barren Patagonian steppe. An extremely steep and challenging ascent awaits us. On the lonely track we will at most meet gauchos on horseback, but condors are probably more numerous. We drive around an imposing mountain massif, only to meet the river valley again. A short transfer brings the tired bikers to nearby Bariloche, the center of the Argentinian lake landscape.

Bike route: 50/70 km, 750/1450 m
ascent Overnight stay: bike-friendly hotel, Bariloche

We spend today’s rest day in busy Bariloche, the tourist and economic center of this region. Individually we visit the hustle and bustle on the central main square, enjoy the chocolate that is offered for sale everywhere or let our tired legs dangle.

PLUS:
We offer an optional bike tour on the Cerro Otto, Bariloche’s most popular vantage point. Ambitious bikers start from the hotel, others shuttle to the summit. If you want, you can ride the steep and demanding downhill with us – the ultimate trail fun.

Bike route: 25 km, 800 m
ascent Overnight stay: bike-friendly hotel, Bariloche

On the Ruta 40 we bridge a section with the vehicle to the idyllic Lago Guillermo.

PLUS:
We bike along the lake on an old gravel road to the south. A racy descent takes us on the Ruta 40 into the Rio Manso valley to the trailhead.

We bike along the river towards the Chilean border on an adventurous and flowing single trail. Lonely river landscapes and mystical primeval forests accompany us in this unique valley with its fairytale atmosphere. In between, you have to climb over giant trees and cross wild mountain streams. Dry feet cannot be guaranteed! A bike treat and pure bike adventure in Patagonia! After refreshment in a remote tented camp, the support vehicle takes you back to the civilization of El Bolson.

Transfer: approx. 3 hours
Bike route: 45/65 km, 250/500 m
ascent Overnight stay: country hotel, El Bolson or the surrounding area

PLUS: If you want to do something sporty today, you can get on your bike early and cycle a few additional kilometers to the village of Cholila and Lago Rivadavia.

Alternatively, a transfer takes us to Cholila or to Lago Rivadavia, where we definitely prefer mountain bikes. We bike to the entrance of Los Alerces National Park. From there there is pure trail fun for the freaks with constant up’n’down. (The trails can be closed to bikers by the administration of the national park, especially in the high season, but also at other times). The leisurely bikers ride on a route worth seeing to the small Laguna Verde. A vantage point on the way gives us a great panoramic view of the magnificent landscape.

Bike route: 42/76 km, 600/950 m
ascent Overnight stay: comfortable cabañas or tent camp, Los Alerces National Park

What many do not know – the crook trio Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and his girlfriend Etta Place fled from American justice in 1901 to the godforsaken provincial town of Cholila. Here they lived peacefully as farmers on a small ranch. Once Etta returned to the States, Butch and Sundance resumed their criminal activities and acquired a legendary reputation similar to that of the years before, and soon had to leave the place. It is rumored that the two were shot by Bolivian soldiers in 1908.

Los Alerces National Park takes its name from some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. The Alerce, known to us as Patagonian cypress, can be over 2500 years old and up to 50 m high. On a beautiful hiking trail we reach the ship landing stage on foot. We do an optional boat trip on the glacial lake Lago Menéndez (subject to a fee). Unique views of the surrounding mountains and untouched nature delight our eyes. At the end of the lagoon, a walk to the giant trees awaits us. If you want, you can just let your soul dangle in our natural resort.

Hike: 2-3 h
Boat tour: approx. 5 h
Accommodation: comfortable cabañas or tented camp, Los Alerces National Park

Directly from our accommodation we ride the bikes in constant ups and downs along the Lago Futalaufque. Impressive views of the lake and the mountains compensate for our efforts. The bike tour takes us to Trevelin, a nice little town that was founded by Welsh emigrants. The architecture of the houses here differs from the traditional construction of the Patagonian wooden houses. We take the bus to the border – Bienvenidos a Chile, we’re back!

Bike route: 45/60 km, 550/700 m
ascent. Overnight stay: typical local cabañas or hotel, Futaleufu

According to insiders, the border town of Futaleufu in the middle of the southern Andes Cordillera is one of three river rafting hotspots worldwide. Of course, while we’re here, we won’t miss it. The river adventure by boat on the Río Futaleufu (meaning Big River in the Mapuche language) gets our adrenaline levels soaring. (Rafting is optional and subject to a charge).

Everyone rides their bikes down a gravel track through the idyllic green valley. Of course, in Patagonia, the ascents must not be ignored. The rafting group makes part of the route on the river by boat. Those who don’t do the rafting can sleep in and start biking later. The meeting point for the two groups is a picnic by the river at the end of the rafting.

All together we then make our way to Lago Yelcho. Depending on your mood, you can continue biking over a pass to Santa Lucia!

Bike route: 67/80 km, 800/1100 m
ascent Overnight stay: beautiful lodge, Lago Yelcho

The Chaitén volcano was thought to be dormant for a long time until it suddenly revived in 2008. Because of the volcanic eruption, several thousand inhabitants of the village of Chaitén and the surrounding area had to be evacuated. The eruption has been considered over since 2013 and we do not miss climbing the crater on a trek. The unique landscape and vegetation compensates for our efforts.

Our mountain bikes are already waiting impatiently for the next bike adventure on the Carretera Austral. This is the continuation of the famous Panamericana trunk road and leads from Puerto Montt through the whole of Patagonia down to Tierra del Fuego. The complex construction project was started under the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The dense forest, fijords and glaciers posed great challenges for the construction crews. Although a large part of the Carretera Austral is (unfortunately) paved today, we still experience the original feeling of the route on the route between the Chaitén volcano and the village of Caleta Gonzalo, with the huge rhubarb plants and the magical landscape around the Chaitén volcano. At Caleta Gonzalo the stage is forced to end, from here it is only possible to continue by water.

Trekking: 3 h / 2.5 km / 630 m
ascent Bike route: 24/57 km, 450/950 m
ascent Overnight stay: cozy cabañas, Caleta Gonzalo

Depending on the ferry departure time, we will go on a hike through the Valdivian rainforest to a waterfall in the morning. We can’t help but be amazed, tree-high ferns, moss-covered trees – pure nature. A very special adventure is today’s ferry ride through the fjord landscape in the Pumalin National Park. The mighty mountain massif of the Andes fascinates us.

Hike: 3 h (approx. 5.2 km)
Ferry: approx. 5 h
Overnight stay: family accommodation, Hornopirén

The bike stage takes us further north on an attractive coastal road. We pass small fishing villages with their typical wooden churches, which are usually found on the island of Chiloé. The many fishing boats lying on dry land show us the big difference in water level between low and high tide. In Contao we end our adventurous tour in Patagonia. A transfer takes us to Puerto Varas. At our final dinner we will relive the unforgettable impressions of our mountain bike trip through Patagonia. “It’s nothing for miles, but it’s well ventilated,” Bruce Chatwin’s words come to mind as we look back on our wild bike ride through the “most beautiful end of the world.”

Transfer: 2 hours
Bike route: 55 km, 250 vertical meters
Overnight stay: good hotel, Puerto Varas

Depending on the flight schedule, we still have some time to explore the little town of Puerto Varas. Then the return flight from Puerto Montt to Europe.

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • Flight taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Support vehicle and transfers
  • 17 nights in a double room in a hotel/cabaña, some simple accommodation or shared rooms possible
  • Breakfast
  • 16 lunch meals
  • 10 dinners
  • Entrance fees and visits according to the programme
  • Local English-speaking tour guide
  • Bike Adventure Tours guide

Not included:

  • Meals and beverages not listed
  • Tips for local team
  • Transport your own bike
  • Optional excursions (Termas Geométricas approx. USD 40.00, boat trip Los Alerces NP approx. USD 60.00, river rafting approx. USD 110.00)
  • Cancellation cost and assistance insurance
  • Possibly small group surcharge
  • possibly ½ single room surcharge
  • Flight Zurich – San Jose – Zurich

Requirements and bike routes

Route profile
Depending on the variant, approx. 700 to 1000 kilometers with 8000 to 15,000 meters in altitude in 13-15 bike stages, 70% of which are on gravel roads, partly on trails and 30% on asphalt side roads. On average, about 46 kilometers and 650 meters in altitude are covered per bike day. Four days of riding mostly on single trails: Cerro Chapelco in San Martín, Cerro Otto in Bariloche and in the Río Manso valley. At the Osorno volcano there is an optional technically difficult descent. Because of the unpredictable weather conditions in Patagonia with wind and rain showers, the values ​​given should not be underestimated.

Patagonia PLUS
We would like to offer sporty bikers the opportunity to bike longer distances, also on single trails, depending on their mood and their condition on the day. The condition level is then 3-4. Certain routes are technically demanding, partly on hiking trails and single trails with challenges such as steep uphills and downhills, natural obstacles such as tree trunks and streams, sandy and blocked passages, etc. Pushing and carrying passages are possible. This corresponds to riding technique level 3. On certain sections, the group is divided into regular bikers and PLUS bikers.

Depending on the size of the group, one or two escort vehicles are available.

Bikes

Own bike
Well-maintained mountain bike, preferably a full-suspension bike (Fully).

Rental bike
Full-suspension rental bikes from Cannondale and Kona, among others, on early request.

Number of participants and registration deadline

Group tour
10 to 13 people

Registration deadline
8 weeks before departure

Accommodations

Accommodation is in local hotels, hostels, lodges and cabañas. In the cabañas (typical Patagonian holiday huts), 2 (exceptionally possibly 3) rooms each share a bathroom, but a living room offers additional space. Single rooms are only available in about half of the accommodations on this trip. The room or cabaña often has to be shared with same-sex travelers. We try to find a roommate for single travelers.

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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

Prices (per person):

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Deposit for reservations: * — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!
Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►PE-404
Duration: 18 days
Participants: Minimal: 2 Maximal: 15
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Chile
Mountain Guide: Eric Raul Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
EZZ Single room supplement
🟢 On this trip, places are still available.
🟡 On this trip, only a few places left.
🔴 This trip is sold out / closed.

eric

Eric Raul Albino Lliuya

Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions

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