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Chilean Lake District (south): Coastal fjords of the Austral Road

Coastal fjords of the Austral Road

One of the Lake District’s most rewarding circuits begins with a short drive towards Puerto Montt to join the northern extreme of the famous Austral road as it hugs the shore, passing small coastal communities backed by rolling green hills. It’s a side of the lake district rarely seen by visitors, and seemingly forgotten by modern civilisation.

Passing oyster nets strung up on the lakeshore, you’ll board a local ferry to the edge of Reloncavi fjord, straddled by the conical peak of a volcano. From here, driving along the fjord offers a classic journey through off-the-beaten-track Chile: the winding road in this remote and peaceful backwater remains unpaved and shrouded in greenery as you enter Alerce Andino National Park. Picturesque villages en route include Cochamó, a tiny town dwarfed by its larger-than-life natural setting.

Looping back round past outstanding panoramas of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, you’ll return to Puerto Varas via the mirrored expanse of Lake Llanquihue.

Other ideas

Cycle to Fruitillar

Cycle to Frutillar

White-water Rafting in the Petrohue river

Rio Petrohue white-water rafting


Hike in Ancient Forests

Stroll through ancient larch forests

Osorno volcano

Hike Desolation Pass

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