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Cycling the Lake District of Chile & Argentina

from $3,799.00

Discover the beauty of the Andean Lake District on two wheels.

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Cycling the Lake District of Chile & Argentina.

Discover a beautiful and fertile land at the northern gateway to Patagonia – a magical landscape filled with active volcanoes, turquoise rivers, gigantic lakes and ancient native forests. See Andean condors swooping down from the foothills of the cordillera as we cycle on some of the most scenic paved routes that South America has to offer. We’ll gain a cultural insight into both Chile and Argentina, including the European influences and indigenous customs that have shaped the region. Cross the Andes twice in spectacular fashion on two wheels as part of an incredible ‘once in a lifetime’ journey!

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 1 dinner included
* 12 nights hotels all en suite
* Tour leader throughout
* Local bike rental hire

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Airport transfers are not included on this tour

Highlights

  • Two South American countries
  • Cycle across the Andes
  • Iconic Andean Lakes
  • See Monkey Puzzle Forests
  • Ride the ‘Seven Lakes Road’
  • Cycle alongside Lago Llanquihue
  • Active volcanoes & lush forests
  • Free time to visit Bariloche & Pucon
  • Ride in Conguillio National Park
  • 12 nights hotels all en suite
  • 9 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 75% tarmac, 25% unpaved tracks
  • Routes mainly follow quiet roads
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus local staff. Min age 16 yrs
  1. Day 1 Start Puerto Varas.

    Arrive to Puerto Montt airport today after connecting in Santiago de Chile. Then taxi to our start hotel in the nearby town of Puerto Varas. For those people who have booked Land Only and made their own travel arrangements, you are welcome to meet the airport transfer (at designated time) should you wish (and have informed us in advance) otherwise the meeting point is at the start hotel in Puerto Varas anytime in the afternoon/evening.*Standard Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Cycle around the edge of Lago Llanquihue to Frutillar.

    Our Lake District cycling adventure starts off today in scenic fashion as we navigate clockwise around the shore of Lago Llanquihue (the third biggest lake in South America) and stretch our legs for the more challenging days ahead. From the lakeside road we will enjoy spectacular views of the volcanoes and the Andean mountain range that lie just to the east. Volcanoes Osorno (2652m), Puntiagudo (2190m), Tronador (3451m), Puyehue (2240m) and Calbuco (2015m) are all visible on a clear day. We’ll cycle to the picturesque lakeside village of Frutillar, a German influenced settlement which is home to the modern ’Teatro del Lago’ theatre. The ride ends here and after lunch we’ll transfer back to Puerto Varas. *Standard Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Ride from Puerto Varas to Petrohue; boat ride on the emerald waters of Todos los Santos Lake.

    We follow the shoreline of Lago Llanquihue once more today but in an easterly direction past Puerto Chico and Ensenada, straight towards the imposing Calbuco and Osorno volcanoes. Gateway to the Andean Lakes, our journey from here across the mountain range takes us in to more remote and spectacular environments. We cycle onwards, following the banks of the emerald coloured Rio Petrohue towards the ’Saltos de Petrohue’ waterfalls. Upon reaching ’Lago Todos los Santos’ we are greeted by a beautiful setting and we’ll swap our mode of transport in order to board a catamaran ferry. Cruising across the lake is a wonderful and peaceful experience as we keep our eyes peeled for Andean condors flying overhead (journey time approx. 1.5/2 hours). *Standard Hotel*

  4. Day 4 Begin the Andes crossing to Argentina; lake crossing and some tough cycling sections to arrive at Puerto Blest.

    After breakfast we start cycling towards the Argentinian border which involves riding 20km with a steady incline before taking on a challenging climb (approx. 700m over 7.5km) to reach the frontier. There is then a short descent into Puerto Frias. Depending upon how the weather has been in the proceeding days, the unpaved mountain roads can either be well compacted or sometimes loose and dusty. The final leg of today’s iconic journey across the Andes is a short ferry crossing on Lago Frias followed by a 3km ride to your hotel in Puerto Blest.*Standard Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Ferry across Lago Nahuel Huapi to Puerto Panuelo; cycle to Bariloche.

    Puerto Blest is situated on the westernmost point of Lago Nahuel Huapi and from here we board a catamaran to take us to Puerto Pañuelo. Instead of cycling directly towards Bariloche, we will take a scenic route on a paved road that loops around via Punto Panoramico to enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the Argentinian Lake District. As we approach Bariloche we will board the bus for a short transfer (approx. 20 minutes), linking up with the lakeside main road.*Comfortable Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Free day; time to explore the city of Bariloche and ascend the nearby viewpoint of Cerro Campanario.

    After several days of travelling, today is a free day allowing a well-earned chance to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District. You may wish to take a look around the centre of Bariloche, a ski and adventure sports hub with numerous chocolate shops. There are plenty of adventurous activities available should you wish to indulge, such as guided ‘stand up rafting’ on Rio Limay, or the opportunity to independently trek up to Refugio Frey and back again on the slopes of Cerro Catedral.*Comfortable Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Transfer to Villa La Angostura; cycle the 'Camino de los Siete Lagos' to San Martin de los Andes.

    After breakfast we’ll transfer for approx. 1.5 hours around the northern edge of Lago Nahuel Huapi to bypass the busy Bariloche traffic and reach the starting point for another spectacular cycling route. The ’Camino de los Siete Lagos’ (Seven Lakes Road) is an incredibly scenic route that winds its way northwards past lakes and forests connecting the alpine towns of San Carlos de Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes. Depending upon the exact start point, today involves us riding a total distance of around 52km through spectacular and rewarding landscapes. We will break the ride up with a lunchtime picnic stop and should therefore arrive in San Martin de los Andes in the afternoon. Entering in to the picturesque small town of San Martin involves a wonderful approach along the shore of Lago Lacar. *Standard Hotel*

  8. Day 8 Ride through Huilo Huilo biological reserve; boat ride to Port Fuy; ride to Choshuenco Village.

    After breakfast we will say goodbye to Argentina and cross back into Chile via the Huahum Pass. We will have a short transfer to the border before we start cycling up to Pirihueico Port, crossing the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. We will make a stop for coffee and lunch at the port. From here we will take a barge (boat) that will sail us to Port Fuy, (approx 1.5hours). From here we will cycle to the village of Choshuenco.*Standard Hotel*

  9. Day 9 Cycle to Panguipulli Village; transfer to Pucon.

    Today we start the day by cycling to Panguipulli Village. Here we wil have lunch before a transfer Pucón Town (approx. 1 hour). We will stay in a dowtown hotel, located by the feet of Villarrica Volcano (2840 m). *Standard Hotel*

  10. Day 10 Free day in Pucon; optional hot springs or trek up Villarica Volcano (weather dependent).

    Today is at leisure for you to choose from doing organised activities or having some time out. There are numerous nearby hot springs (termas) and spas in this part of Chile meaning Pucon is the perfect place to soothe away any bike-induced aches and pains! Your tour leader will be able to advise which local agencies to use depending upon what you would like to do. There is also a nice beach in Pucon just a short walk from the hotel, and there are lots of restaurants and bars to choose from.Should the local conditions permit then today is the perfect opportunity to climb to the crater of a live volcano! Villarrica Volcano (2840m) is situated just outside of the town and most recently erupted in March 2015. Obviously this activity comes with its risks and so the local tour company will only take groups if the conditions are totally safe. All equipment can be rented, meaning that you only need to bring your own waterproof walking trousers. The early morning ascent takes around 4 hours and involves wearing crampons to cross a glacier before a memorable and unique descent after reaching the crater (this isn’t for the faint hearted!). Depending upon the amount of snow at the summit, the normal way of getting down the volcano is to sledge down a specially crafted series of compacted snow and ice channels. This is a special experience from start to finish, but should only be undertaken if aware of the challenges.If you wish to cycle today then of course you can take your bike out and the tour leader will recommend some routes.*Standard Hotel*

  11. Day 11 Transfer to Cunco; cycle into the lunar landscape of Conguillio National Park; stay at base of Llaima Volcano.

    Departing Pucon, we transfer northwards after breakfast to the town of Cunco. From here the cycling starts with a 33km stretch of paved road towards Conguillio National Park, stopping for lunch in Melipeuco. Shortly afterwards is the turn off to enter the national park where the road eventually becomes unpaved and dusty in places. From the entrance we will take a short walk to the Truful Truful waterfall. Afterwards we will carry on cycling for 7km until we reach our accommodation for the night.The scenes that we encounter today are vastly different from the rest of the tour. Clouds rise up from surrounding valleys and quickly change form whilst passing over the volcanic lava. Llaima Volcano (3125m) dominates the skyline and we spend the night in a remote and charming eco-lodge. The property restricts energy use as part of its self-sufficiency, meaning that electricity and hot water are not available during the night.*Standard Hotel*

  12. Day 12 Ride through Conguillio N.P.

    It is our last day of cycling today as we continue riding further within Conguillio N.P. and see several beautiful lagoons (Laguna Arco Iris, Laguna Verde) and Conguillo Lake. We will also visit the parks interpretation centre in order to find out about how the park was formed. (Please note that this may not be possible as sometimes the centre is closed during our visit). We will then walk for an hour through the native forest to see ancient monkey-puzzle trees. Tonight will be the last evening all together with group and staff, so it is the perfect opportunity for a last meal and drinks to look back on what will have surely been a fantastic journey.*Standard Hotel*

  13. Day 13 Morning at leisure; transfer to Temuco airport for those on the group flights.

    Please note that today is a free day before departing on evening flights. For breakfast you can enjoy a leisurely walk and enjoy the breath-taking views of the Llaima Volcano. There are also many optional excursions you can book. Please ask your tour leader, and they will help you arrange these. In the afternoon those booked on the airport transfer will be transferred to Temuco airport for evening flights; any post tour arrangements should be made for the afternoon of this last day.  Please note that the accommodation inside Conguillo National Park is in a very remote location and not close to the city of Temuco.

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Where you stay

Hotels

We spend 12 nights in a range of hotels along the route. All rooms are en suite and breakfasts are included each day. Accommodation has been chosen to suit our group size and requirements. They are all cyclist friendly and strategically located for the best cycling route possible around the Lake District.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip for a supplement (subject to availability). Please ask your sales consultant for details.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 1 dinner included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet-style, and lunches will either be at convenient restaurant stops during our rides or packed lunches. There is a variety of good quality food on offer in the hotels and local restaurants for the evening meals that are not included in the price of the trip. Chile and Argentina traditionally have a lot of meat dishes in their cuisine, however vegetarians can be catered for throughout the trip. Please ensure that you advise us of any dietary requirements before you travel so that we can make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.

This trip is classified Road. 
Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 44km (27 miles)
Number of days cycling: 9
Vehicle Support: 100%
Note: Between Peulla and Puerto Blest there is a section of the ride where our vehicle cannot take the same route, however in the event of an emergency it is possible to have vehicle access. This is the toughest section of the itinerary.

Terrain and route: Approx. 75% tarmac, 25% unpaved roads. Some large elevation gains; mixed cycling terrain; variable weather conditions and some remote locations.

Some cycling experience and good level of fitness is recommended. Total distance covered: approx. 400km

Most of the roads are in good condition, although there can occasionally be potholes and poorer conditions in some short sections. You should be prepared for some cycling on unpaved gravel/dirt roads. The Andes crossing day from Chile to Argentina is the toughest day of cycling on the tour as the stretches of unpaved road between the lakes involves a long climb up to the border crossing which is potentially on rough terrain depending on how the weather has been.

The roads are generally free of heavy traffic until we reach towns where we are more likely to encounter other vehicles.

We will visit the following national parks:
Pérez Rosales National Park (Chi), Nahuel Huapi National Park (Arg), Lanín National Park (Arg), Villarrica National Park (Chi), Conguillio National Park (Chi) and also Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve (Chi).

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A Memorable and Hugely Enjoyable Experience

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick only one-but the first of anything generally sticks in your mind,so I will go for the first day in Puerto Varas where the views of Volcano Osorno and distant Tronador are quite stunning.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Yal was a really nice and likeable guy,and seemed quite efficient. His communication skills though were somewhat lacking,and most of the briefings were delivered by his very able assistant German,also a very likeable and helpful guy.The disappointment though was that there no commentary or information provided on the history,culture,economy etc of the areas visited.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took insect repellant but didn't need it ( mosquitoes non-existent here at this time of year ( November ) so this would be worth checking before you leave. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather-fortunately for us it was sunshine all the way,but we were always prepared for the possibility of rain. The final day ( Friday ) was spent at the eco lodge in Conguillo National Park-if you are not on group flight bear in mind this is a long way from Temuco ( a taxi costs in the region US $ 110 ). Tap water is apparently safe to drink throughout the trip-I drank it with no ill effects as did many others in the group.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group size was 16,with a good international mix-everyone got on really well right from the start with plenty of humour throughout,so we were fortunate with that as well as the weather. It was a hugely enjoyable and memorable holiday,with scenery to take your breath away ( from snow-clad mountains and volcanoes to emerald reflecting lakes to majestic rivers ) . If you are thinking about it-I'd say go for it.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

It would be hard to top this trip.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspirational moment on this trip is impossible to single out one specifically. Cycling over the pass trough the Andes in the between Peulla and Puerto Frias was an achievement for me with my limited mountain biking experience. (I only fell off once!) Climbing the active Villarica volcano was a once in a life time experience, particularly as there was a small eruption while we looking into the crater.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    This trip covered a lot of territory through some fairly tough country. The logistic for this trip were complex involving the coordination of boat and bus transfer in two very separate countries. Yet the whole show ran like clockwork. I was impressed. This was a very professionally run trip.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    IF you do not enjoy a salmon or fillet steak then this trip may change your point of view. The Argentinian steal is sublime as is the Chilean salmon. I recommend Tony's Casa de Carne in Bariloche. I had the best steak I ever tasted in my life at Tony's steak house. (And I am an Australian!) Also, I recommend the frappe at the Chocolate Museum in Bariloche as well. I suspect my waste line would have expanded dramatically if I had stayed in Bariloche longer than a couple of days!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You are exposed to the wild weather of the roaring forties from the Southern Ocean in this region of the world. Be prepared for one or two days of solid weather. (Wind and Rain).

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

As good as it gets

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You never grew tired of the outstanding views of volcanoes, dotted amongst the most extraordinary lakes and dramatic scenery. Some of the off-road ascents were tough, especially with gravel interleaved with stones and in the heat, but the challenge was inspiring and the pace was comfortably pitched accommodate a diverse group. We did the trip in January 2018; the weather was exceptional (many days about 20-25 degrees, although it did get hot (over 35 degrees) on a few days. I don't believe a single person on our trip (15 of us in all) found it anything other than exceptional.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our day to day leaders had a maturity and confidence that worked wonderfully for our group. They were continually thinking about the support for the group, and when issues arose, as they inevitably do, they addressed them quickly and efficiently. The back-up team with van, coffee stops, hotel support etc was also first class.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Rest days can be that if you want but there are so many opportunities to try other activities. We tried kayaking one day and climbed an active volcano on the other. Both excellently delivered by local guides who provided all the kit, advice and support you need.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A few of our days included long stretches on tarmac road with a bit of traffic, more so than I expected, but this was not a big problem. The few transit legs in the van gave us the opportunity to experience the best parts of the route. And some of the hotels were truly outstanding, including Porto Blest and the eco-lodge north of Pucon.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Awesome Landscapes

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, but I particularly enjoyed the Punto Panoramico ride with views of the Argentinian Lake District and the hike up (and rapid descent) of Villarrica Volcano. We also had a very special send-off from our hosts with drinks at sundown overlooking the Llama Volcano .
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Tia was amazingly competent and patient as our group leader. The trip involves some incredibly tricky logistics with crossings from Chile into Argentina (and back again), numerous ferry rides, transfers by minibus, luggage checks at customs points and the constant shepherding of 16 cyclists. Despite these challenges the whole trip ran smoothly. His skills as a paramedic were also tested on a few occasions. Together with his brother and Matteus they formed a formidable team
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. About 25% of the cycling is off-road, mostly on gravel tracks with ruts and stoney sections. It can therefore be tricky at times. Some experience of biking off road is necessary (though there was the opportunity to opt out of these sections and travel in the support vehicle). 2. Even with the fine weather that we experienced the mornings were cool and the afternoons very hot so we needed extra layers and lashings of suncream. 3. There were several opportunities for swimming on the trip so have swimming gear close to hand. 4. The lunches provided on the trip were often two and three courses- with large quantities- and it was sometimes difficult to do them justice without struggling to cycle in the afternoons! 5. Although American dollars could be used in several locations you do need some Chilean and Argentinian pesos for small purchases. Credit Card machines were fairly widespread in shops and restaurants.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There were a couple of glitches in the arrangements for the trip. The first hotel was changed at the last minute by the local host (and it proved to be disappointing) so hopefully the Hotel Patagonia in Puerto Varas will not be used again. There was also some confusion about which hotel had been booked on our last night in Santiago; a full list of the accommodation in each of our destinations would be useful in advance.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Best trip so far

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along roads with lush pastureland one side and snow capped volcanoes on the other, sitting on a volcanic ash beach in Pucon and swimming in the lake on Christmas day
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Taiel and his family were super guides, very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful in every way
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We are vegetarian which was okay mostly especially in the towns, lunch stops a bit more challenging especially for our daughter who is vegan, we got by as we took lots of snack foods too. Be prepared for some rocky roads, lots of gravel at times but well worth it, especially near the lava fields.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lovely varied accommodation which on the whole was very comfortable. Would definitely recommend this trip to anyone wanting cycling adventure in awesome locations with breath taking views. Some of the climbs were challenging but so worth the effort!

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