Ted’s Travels – Ana in Carretera Austral
Having hijacked Ted’s Travels this week, I will tell you all about the beautiful Ruta 7 in Chile. I started in Balmaceda after flying in from Santiago, where we picked up a car and started our Carretera Austral road trip. We drove past Cerro Castillo and after six more hours of dirt roads and beautiful scenery we reached Lago Carrera, a lake shared by Chile and Argentina. On Chileans side is called Lago Carrera and on Argentines’ is called Lago Buenos Aires. The lake is clear turquoise blue contrasting against the lush trees and mountains of the Aysen Region in Patagonia.
You can easily lose yourself in the Patagonian landscapes, the one peak that will help you locate yourself is Mt San Valentin, announcing the North Ice Field. This mountain is the highest in the Chilean Patagonia and is supposed to have a heart shape, hence the name. San Valentin can be climbed from Lago Leones, or Laguna San Rafael but to do so you must be a professional, as it is claimed to be really dangerous. As much an adventurer as I am, I didn’t risk myself and instead we took a 45 minutes jetboat ride to cross Rio Leones, then we trekked for another hour between calafate bushes to get to Leones Lake. There, in front of us San Valentin Mountain rises from Leones glacier, one that not a lot of people know.
You can get on the foot of the glacier with another boat you take on the lake, after a 30-minute sail. If weather conditions are right you may be able to walk over the glacier while you hear the pieces of ice fall into the water and far from behind. This day tour is not very famous yet, so few people get to experience this magical place. If your clients want a more impressive experience we can book you a helicopter ride along the Patagonia to see these glaciers from above, and then they can relax while enjoying a nice vino and meal in the cosy lodges next to the Baker River or on Puerto Guadal great scenery!
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au