Overview

South of the Chilean lake district lies the remote Aisén region, crossed by the Carretera Austral (‘Southern Highway’), a feat of engineering which opened this fractured wilderness area in the 1980s. This lonely road showcases over 1,200km of incredible scenery: negotiating temperate rainforests, mountain passes and glaciers, and crossing dozens of icy rivers, lakes and fjords as it weaves south from Puerto Montt to where the land runs out. For self-drivers, just a few days on the Carretera Austral makes for an epic road trip with a sense of discovery.

Exploring Aisén demands time so this region has long been overlooked by most visitors heading for Patagonia’s better-known attractions. Although new national parks, upscale lodges and highway upgrades are finally putting Aisén on the map, you will still feel the raw essence of wild Patagonia and what makes it so very special.

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Holidays Aisen and the Carretera Austral

Browse our off-the-beaten track holiday travelling to Aisén on the Carretera Austral. Take a look now and book with Journey Latin America.

Foitzick lake beside Carretera Austral near to Coyhaique

Private Journeys

Chile

Self-drive Chile: Off the beaten track

14 days from £4,235pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Carretera Austral

Group - Discovery

Argentina / Chile / Patagonia

Untouched Aisen: Little-known Patagonia

15 days from £4,014pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Things to do

Enjoy a range of activities whilst visiting Aisén, from driving the Austral road, to observing the solar eclipse. Book with Journey Latin America now.

Where to go when - our guide to Aisen and the Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral

The weather in Aisen and the Carretera Austral is wide and varied

The lush, temperate forests, tumultuous rivers and jagged mountain passes of Aisen were made accessible by the Carretera Austral, a lonely road which winds through little-known, pristine landscapes. At times little more than a narrow dirt track, traffic can build up in the warmer summer months (December - February) and those wishing to avoid other visitors may prefer to visit in the quiet and cooler shoulder seasons (March - May and September - November). Wildlife is varied and abundant here as Aisen’s natural beauty has been left largely untouched. With fewer visitors in the shoulder seasons, you’ll glimpse guanacos, condors, and if you’re lucky, the elusive puma. Many of the cosy lodges will close during the harsh winter months, when temperatures drop, rainfall is heavy and the landscape freezes over.

View our Aisen and the Carretera Austral weather guide

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Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • CarrieGallagher2
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Millie Davies Mono
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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