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   Tour CH-19 Huemul
 

Itinerary

The Huemul tour offers exploration of the vast area from Balmaceda to Villa O’Higgins - perhaps the most remote part of Chile.  It includes the Southern Ice field, General Carrera Lake, Chile’s largest and Baker River, one of the country’s fastest-flowing waterways.  The tiny hamlet of Villa O’Higgins (population 500) is one of few accessible by road, the famous Austral Highway crossing numerous rivers and skirting many lakes renowned for excellent fishing.  Glaciers and mountains are omnipresent, the vegetation is dense and the birdlife abundant with condor frequently spotted in these climes. 

Our tour is ideal for adventurers and for lovers of nature and includes 6 nights’ accommodation in simple but comfortable small hotels and a self-drive 4x4 WD vehicle.  Starting in Balmaceda, you will drive for some 4-5 hours per day through beautiful, sylvan scenery.  This remote, isolated corner of Chile promises viewing of the indigenous fauna, most importantly the huemul, endemic to Chile, a great number being found in the Tamango National Park, and the ever-present condor.  The region also has a large population of puma - a shy animal of which there can be no guaranteed sighting, but the chances always exists!  

Day 01: Balmaceda – Puerto Tranquilo (198 km / 4 hrs)
Arrive in Balmaceda, pick up of your 4x4 vehicle, and begging of the drive along the Camino Austral. The road crosses Castillo Mountain range with the highest peak Cerro Castillo with 2,320 m. Cross the Cofre Valley where effects of the last eruption of Hudson Volcano can be seen. Finally the road meets General Carrera Lake, the second largest in South America, next to which is nested the town of Puerto Tranquilo, Stay for 1 night at El Puesto Lodge

Day 02: Puerto Tranquilo – Puerto Bertrand (68 km / 2 hrs)
In the morning a short excursion to visit the marble formations on the shores of the lake. Short navigation to visit the so called “marble chapel”
Drive south across the Castillo Mountain range, crossing the Ibañez River towards General Carrera Lake, the second largest lake in Latin America. The road borders the lake until its outflow into Bertrand Lake. This lake outflow into Baker River where the Green Lodge Baker is located. Stay for 2 nights at the lodge.

Day 03: Puerto Bertrand
Day at leisure / excursions offered by the lodge

Day 04: Puerto Bertrand – Villa O’Higgins (282 km / 6 hrs)
Drive south to Puerto Yungay where there is a 50 minutes ferry crossing (12 cars & 4 tracks), the cost of the crossing is free and it does not take reservations. It is on the base of first come first served. Cross of Mitchell Fjord to Rio Bravo. Arrive in Villa O’Higgins, stay for 2 nights at Runin Hotel. This is a basic hotel, but acceptable Bed and Breakfast.

Day 05: Villa O’Higgins
Day at leisure. We suggest doing the excursion to O’Higgins Glacier, this is a11 hour excursion, The glacier is 3 km wide and 60 metre high. Alternatively there are many trails to walk in the area.

Day 06: Villa O’Higgins – Cochrane ( 233 km  5 hrs)
Drive north , ferry crossing of Mitchell Fjord.  Arrive in Cochrane, stay for 2 nights
At Wellman Hotel. This is a basic hotel, the best choice in the area

Day 07: Cochrane
Full day visit to Tamango Reserve, this is a hike to look for Huemules (endemic deer)
Conservacion Patagonia bought in 2004 Estancia Chacabuco, located 20 miles north of Cochrane in the heart of Chilean Patagonia. The area is home to the Huemul, the largest deer in South America. The protective habitat has allowed the reproduction of the specie that was in the brink of extinction. We suggest stopping at the Conaf Office in Cochrane to hire a park ranger if you want to assure to find Huemules.

Day 08: Cochrane – Coihaique (340 kms / 6 hrs)
Drive to Coihaique, stay at El Reloj hotel  for 1 night

Day 09 Coyhaique – Balmaceda
Drive to Balmaceda Airport, return car hire and board onward flight


Price per person £ 1,430

Programme includes:

1 Night B&B at El Puesto Lodge in Puerto Tranquilo
2 Nights B&B at Green Baker Lodge in Puerto Bertrand
2 Nights B&B at Runin Hotel in Villa O’Higgins (Hostel)
2 Nights B&B at Wellman Hotel in Cochrane (hostel)
1 Night B&B at El Reloj Hotel in Coihaique
Vehicle 4x4 pick up truck (diesel)

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Excursions included:

Visit of the Marble Chapel on General Carrera Lake
2 Half day excursions at Eco Lodge
Self guided hikes in Queulat National Park


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