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Start Puerto Varas.
Travellers on our group flights will arrive to Puerto Montt airport today after connecting in Santiago de Chile. There will be a group transfer from the airport 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 group transfer 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.
Around 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 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. There will be the option to cycle back via a different route for anyone that wants to clock a few more miles today. Cycle approx. 38km on mostly paved road (plus an optional 32km).
To Ensenada (or Petrohue) and Osorno Volcano
We follow the shoreline of Lago Llanquihue once more today but in an easterly direction past Puerto Chico and 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. Cycle approx. 43km on paved road. *Note that some groups will stay at Petrohue Lodge instead of at Ensenada which increases today’s ride to a total of approx. 62km. Up until Ensenada the road is flat with just gentle undulations, then to reach Petrohue the road is unpaved and climbs around 150m over 19km.
After breakfast we cycle onwards, following the banks of the emerald coloured Rio Petrohue towards '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 peaceful experience as we keep our eyes peeled for Andean condors flying overhead (journey time approx. 1.5 hours). Arriving in Peulla there is the option to take a public bus (costing US$43 at the time of writing) for those who do not wish to undertake the most challenging cycling portion of the trip. The tour leader will have explained this in advance in order to arrange tickets if anyone prefers this option. Cycling towards the Argentinian border 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 and 3km ride to the hotel at Puerto Blest. Cycle approx. 49km on unpaved gravel road. *Note that groups who stayed the previous night in Petrohue will cycle a total of 30km today.
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. Linking up with the lakeside main road, we’ll arrive to the small town of Bahia Serena which will be our base for the next two nights. San Carlos de Bariloche city is located 12km to the east, and bus tickets are provided should you want to head in to the city. We choose to stay just outside, in the vicinity of the most popular viewpoint (Cerro Campanario). There are two local breweries just down the road (Cerveceria Berlina and Cerveceria Blest) that sell great beer and food, plus there are several restaurants within a short walking distance. Cycle approx. 25km on paved road.
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, or visit the nearby beach on the shores of Nahuel Huapi lake at Bahia Serena. 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.
Seven Lakes Road 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 60km through spectacular and rewarding landscapes. We will break the ride with a lunchtime picnic stop and then 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. Here we have another two night stopover, and there are laundry facilities at the hotel should you wish to wash any clothes. Cycle approx. 60km on paved road.
Lake Lacar exploration ride
We leave the town on the same road that we entered on, but then turn off onto unpaved roads for the rest of the route to Quila Quina beach. The ride profile today involves one climb of approx. 250 metres and then a wonderful downhill that winds down to the lakeside. After a lazy picnic lunch at the beach and perhaps a siesta in the cool shade, you can choose to either cycle the same route back to town (another 18km) or take the easier option to return by boat (tickets cost approx. US$18). Cycle approx. 18km on mostly unpaved gravel road / or 36km if returning by bike and not boat.
Across the border to Pucon
Today we depart San Martin and transfer all the way to the border crossing which is the start point for our ride. Under the looming presence of Lanin Volcano (3747m) we say goodbye to Argentina and cross back in to Chile via the Mamuil Malal pass. Entering the Araucania province of Chile, we descend through incredibly beautiful surroundings within Villarica National Park, then follow Rio Trancura along a gentle valley to the lunch stop in Curarrehue. We then follow the route of Rio Pucon into the town of Pucon. The town is situated on the shore of Lago Villarica and acts as a hub for adventure sports in the region. Cycle approx. 76km on mostly paved road.
Free day in Pucon
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 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 (which 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.
Conguillio National Park
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 changes to unpaved and dusty in places. We will carry on cycling until the entrance of the National Park. From the entrance we will take a short walk to the Truful Truful waterfall. From here 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. Cycle approx. 53km on paved and then unpaved roads.
Conguillio National Park
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. Then we will walk for an hour through the native forest to see ancient monkey-puzzle trees or araucarias. Tonight will be the last evening all together with group and staff, so the perfect opportunity for a last meal and drinks to look back on what will have surely been a fantastic journey. Cycle approx. 30km on unpaved and then paved roads.
Please note that this today is a free day before your evening flight. After breakfast you can enjoy a leisurely walk and enjoy the breath-taking views of the Lllaima Volcano. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the Temuco airport for your evening flight. Flight Inclusive bookings will fly to Santiago and spend tonight in a hotel near the airport before departing on international flights tomorrow.