The Carretera Austral is the most beautiful scenic route in the country. There is no doubt! And that is why thousands of foreign and Chilean tourists look forward to travel this route of more than 1,240 kilometers that connects Puerto Montt and Villa O'Higgins. By car, motorcycle or bicycle. Those memories of the 2000s decade come to mind, when Route 7 was completely a gravel road. A great adventure that took time to travel, with the dangers and difficulties involved in traveling those wild landscapes. Below we provide you with information that may be useful for safe travels in Carretera Austral and you can additionally find updated information on the Aysén MOP Twitter account.
Today, advances in roads have made it possible to pave more than 600 kilometers of highway, mainly in the area between Puerto Montt and Coyhaique. To the south, the route is paved only up to a stretch after Villa Cerro Castillo. From then on the road widens as it runs along the valley of the Río Ibáñez, but a lot of loose stone requires caution. Here it is very likely that some vehicles carry out the overtaking maneuver, for which it is likely that stones will jump onto the front window. A good way to prevent shattered glass is to support your hand or fist on the glass at that moment, putting pressure on the glass.
*The section between Balmaceda and the northern access to Cerro Castillo National Park is paved but in very poor condition. It is a road full of holes and potholes, which can lead to a partial or total damage of the tires.
Further on, the path says goodbye to the Ibáñez river and enters a sector of forests and curves. It is narrower but lately conditions are goog for transit, thanks to work that has been carried out in the sector.
It is after Puerto Río Tranquilo where we must assume greater caution, especially in the area near the Delta Río El León. Although it was repaired in recent years, the rains and the lack of current maintenance have allowed it to fill up with innumerable deep holes and sectors of calamine. Here we recommend not driving at more than 40 or 50 kilometers per hour, no matter how straight and flat the road looks. The Carretera Austral will continue in poor condition until Puerto Bertrand.
On the way to Cochrane the situation improves. Work has been going on in this area for the last few months, placing earth reinforcements to flatten the route. Near the aforementioned city, paving has also been being done, both in the access and in the exit to the south.
From Cochrane to the south the situation changes for the better. There are sections of the Carretera Austral that allow speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, but always with caution and having in mind that it is a gravel road. Access to Caleta Tortel and Villa O'Higgins are also in good condition to date.
Have a good trip and we hope you have safe travels in Carretera Austral!