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SPT17035 - Patagonia Special Tour

Saturday, February 11, 2017 | Mirko Heilhecker | North and South America

Day 1: Puerto Varas to Hornopiren

Welcome to Edelweiss Custom Tour Patagonia. Alain, Fernand, Claude and Armand from Luxembourg decided to learn what motorcycle riding in Patagonia is all about. 4 friends 1 Edelweiss TourGuide and the desire to eat dirt, dust and gravel on the roads from Puerto Varas, Chile all the way down to Punta Arenas. With the help from Karin (Edelweiss Office) and the TourGuide Mirko Heilhecker, an South American fanatic, the personalized tour become reality for our guests. Happy to have the bikes the 4 rides went off to circle the lake of Llanquihue. Passing by small settlements like Frutillar and Puerto Octay we made our way to the waterfalls of Petrohue. The view of the two local Vulcan Osorno and Calbuco is breathtaking. After the small town of Ralun the roads are getting better and better....no tarmac for hours!! That's way you come to Patagonia!! Always worth a stop are the family owned restaurant. Fresh sea food or empanadas are delicious down here in the south. Today's riding end in the port town of Hornopiren. Not much as a stop-over for tourist waiting for the ferry boat, but a nice and picturesque example of local living conditions far away from any luxury infrastructure- just the basic can be found here. A great place to slow down.

Day 2: Hornopiren to Lake Yelcho

Early wake up call at 7:00 a.m. to reach the near by ferry port in Hornopiren. Here you meet them all: tourist, farmer, truck driver, bicyclists, young couples with back packs and of cause other motorcyclists. Hornopiren is a bottle neck where everyone has to take the boat trip to go south. It's about an 3h turn passing by isolated fisherman's villages in an fjord-style area. Ruff and high mountains with almost untouched fauna, defines swimming next to the ferry, waterfalls splashing down the cliffs reaching to the ocean waters...you think being in paradise or some kind fairy tails story. 
Ending point of the first out of two ferrys is the tiny port of Lapetu. Not much as a discharging ramp for vehicles and some wooden huts but the location is outstanding. After a 10km "jungle" ride on an unpaved track we take the 2nd boat from Fiordo Largo to Caleta Gonzalo to embark on the famous Carretera Austral. After 70km of  spectacular off road riding we have lunch in the village of Chaiten. The near by vulcano almost smashed away this settlement in an gigantic eruption in 2008. Remains of the destruction can be visited in an open area museum. 
Our final destination is located a the Yelcho lake which we reached after a fantastic ride on a perfect paved road. What a great day!


Day 3: Yelcho Lake to Coyhaique
Words can not describe what is waiting for our group today. Endless gravel, road construction, and some awesome new tarmac is the combination everyone will enjoy today. Cafe stop is a small bakery in Puyuhuapi with its delicious home made cakes....but let the photos tell the story of today's ride...


Day 4: Coyhaique - Puerto Bertrand
From Coyhaique we turned into the Cerro Castillo National Park. From here the paved roads end again and we followed the Carretera Austral all the way south one mainly dusty roads. Pure Adventure as you can see!!!


Day 5: Puerto Bertrand - Estancia La Angostura
Today we ride the bikes along the Lake General Carrera towards Argentina. Wonderful blue water and sky are accompanying us. Border crossing down here is a peace of cake and after 30min we are in the land of Empanadas, Wine and good Meat!! Wind, wind and again wind is the trademark of this area. The route 40 is paved, but the wind is constantly blowing from one direction. 
Final destination is the Estancia La Angostura. The owner Tonchi and his wife Maria are warmhearted and after the check in we are sharpening beers and mate! A awesome place and a must go!!!
Day 6: Estancia La Angostura - El Calafate
Leaving the warmhearted landlord Tonchi and Maria we found us back on the windy gravel road we left yesterday. Only 40km to go but the conditions are still kind of outstanding: stones, wind, potholes, etc - you need to concentrate 100% to get this part done! Arriving in El Calafate head of schedule we decide to go right away to the "Perito Moreno Glacier". Warm sunlight made the visit an breathtaking moment.
Day 7: El Calafate
Today we used the day to drive around the El Calafate area. We visited some estancias just to learn the even in the country of meat and wine the sign "Restaurant" doesn't mean you find something to eat there.

Day 8: El Calafate to Puerto Natales

Today we go back an the road towards Chile. Next stop after fighting the wind for some hours is the small port town of Puerto Natales. 

Day 9: Torres del Paine National Park

One of the greates climbing areas worldwide is located all the way down south in Chile. 100km away from Puerto Natales we entered the unique mountain area of Torres del Paine National Park. Flora and faune are amazing and the combination of high mountain peaks, river and waterfalls made this day unforgettable. 

Day 10: Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas

It's our last riding day of this great trip. Just down the road we go to our final destination of Punta Arenas...time to remember the great time we spend...

Let the photos tell the story:

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