CARRETERA AUSTRAL, CHILE
Aysén together with the mainland opposite Chiloé have an area of 135,000 square kilometers, or one sixth of continental Chilean territory. But in spite of the area’s great economic potential and its geopolitical importance, its lack of accessibility left this area all but isolated from the rest of the country until the Carretera Austral was completed. The 1,240 kilometer highway links Puerto Montt to the north with Villa O'Higgins at its southern end. Running through Chilean Patagonia, the Carretera Austral is the main overland transport route in Aysén as well as Palena Province in Los Lagos region, connecting these areas with the rest of the country.
How to get to the Carretera Austral
The Southern Highway starts in Puerto Montt (Region X) and ends Villa O’Higgins (Region XI). It is a mostly gravel road with ferry crossings in a few places. If you are travelling along the road by car, make sure you fill your gasoline tank whenever possible as gas stations are few and far between.
The highway begins some 1,116 kilometers south of Santiago in Puerto Montt. You can get to Puerto Montt by road via Route 5 (The Panamerican Highway).
By sailing with Navimag Ferries you can travel by sea on our Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco ferry, or vice versa, on a one-day trip through Patagonia’s channels and islands, and from there, continue on to the Carretera Austral.
Navimag Ferries sail from Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco and from Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Montt, on a voyage through beautiful Patagonia scenery.
Departures from Montt to Puerto Chacabuco are on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year.
(Navimag only provides transport on the aforementioned routes and does not provide a transport service between the ports and the Carretera Austral)