This is the final sector for the drive starting at Coyhaique and heading north to Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas. This stage is broken into 3 sectors, and the final sector has two route options.

It goes without saying that here at ExperienceChile.Org we will arrange the rent a car you will need to drive through the Patagonian forest and Andean valleys, as well as your accommodation.

First Leg:

Caleta Gonzalo to Hornopiren 2 Ferries plus 10km

Total: 10km

Caleta Gonzalo Fiordo Lago Leptepu Hornopiren

Route Description

The first part of this route is on the ferry from Caleta Gonzalo to Fiordo Largo, which will take around 45min. You will need to drive down a steep ramp over the beach to board the ferry.

Caleta Gonzalo Departure times are: 13:00hrs

The next part is a short drive, through the forest, from Fiordo Largo to Leptepu, a distance of around 10km, on an unpaved road. At Leptepu you take another ferry to Hornopiren, which will take around 4hrs through the narrow channel and past small inlets and creeks.

Leptepu Departures are at: 14:30hrs

Note: Please check ferry departure times because they are subject to change without notice.


Upon arrival to Hornopiren you may wish to relax for a night or two and enjoy the local Hornopiren National Park, or just continue on towards Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt, via Caleta Puelche.

Second Leg:

Hornopiren to Puelche

Total: 55km

Hornopiren Puelche

Route Description

The road distance between Hornopiren to Caleta Puelche is 55km and will take about 1hr or so. From Puelche you will be on the home stretch, however, there are two alternative routes and two alternative final destinations. One option is shorter than the other, but less picturesque.

Third Leg:

Puelche to Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas

Regarding the 3rd leg, there are 2 route options to get from Puelche to Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas. One is shorter than the other, and one is more interesting and “pretty”. Further below we explain the two route options.

Route Option 1

Puelche to Puerto Montt 30min Ferry plus 45km

Total: 45km

Puelche La Arena Puerto Montt

Take the ferry from Puelche to La Arena, which is about a 30min ferry ride, and then drive on a paved road to Puerto Montt. This route is less picturesque than route option 2, but much quicker to get to your final destination.

If you are ending at Puerto Montt then you have made it. Alternatively you can go to Puerto Varas, which is only 22km north of Puerto Montt, or even continue the adventure, and hop over to the island of Chiloe.

Route Option 2

Puelche to Puerto Varas via Cochomo

Total: 221km

Hornopiren Puelche Puelo Cochomo Ralun Ensenada Puerto Varas

This route involves taking the road from Puelche so that the fiord, and therefore the water, is on your left. After 36km of unpaved road, you will arrive at the very small village of Puelo. The road will continue on towards Cochamo, which is a further 32km on an unpaved road. Cochamo is a very small settlement. This drive is challenging on the road, but scenery-wise it is very pretty.

Continuing on the same road the next place is Ralun, a 15km drive, and here the road will start to be paved. This is now the end of the fiord that you will have been driving beside since leaving Puelche. The total distance from Puelche to the end of the fiord, by road, is 116km, on mostly unpaved road, so this will take time, likely 1.5hrs or so.

From Ralun the road will be a surfaced and the drive of around 33km will take you past forested hills until you get to Ensenada, right on the edge of the large Lake Llanquihue (pronounced yan-kee-way), and almost at the foot of the conical, snow-capped Osorno volcano.

From Ensenada, with the lake on your right, you will be heading towards Puerto Varas and after 50km you will arrive here.

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas is a great place to be based at the end of your Carretera Austral adventure. It is a lake-side village with small cafes and restaurants as well as benefitting from striking views of the lake and volcano the other side.

Alternatively, you can drive 22km south and end at Puerto Montt.

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