Carretera Austral – Coyhaique to Puyuhuapi through Puerto Cisnes

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There are plenty to see on the way from Coyhaique to Puyuhuapi. We left early from Coyhaique, stopped by the mirador right after town that has fantastic view over the city, then followed Carretera Austral as it turned into a gravel road. This was a mistake though as if we take a detour towards Puerto Chacabuco on 240, then we could drive all the way on paved road, at least until Puerto Cisnes. We passed by multiple cities on the way, roadworks and the usual beautiful scenery until Puerto Cisnes.

We even got stopped by the police for a routine check, where they verified my passport, driver’s license and the papers of the car. After the police checkpoint we drove into Puerto Cisnes, filled up at the gas station and had lunch at one of the restaurants by the seaside. Took a few photos of Puerto Cisnes then we headed back towards Carretera Austral to drive up the Queulat National Park.

The road not long after Puerto Cisnes turns gravel again, becomes steep and we encountered lots of serpentines again. I just can’t understand why crap roads like this left without a pavement in Chile as they wer dangerous enough even if they were paved.

Anyway expect the unexpected not long after this section roadworks begin and part of the road is already paved. There are long waits though as one lane is closed and there multiple sections like that. Even at the entry of the Queulat National Park there are roadworks.

After we visited the Queulat National Park, we turned back on the Carretera Austral and headed to Puyuhuapi finally it was quite early, we did a good time and I expected to arrive to Puyuhuapi around 4pm, little did I know about what lies ahead…

After about 30 minutes of driving, really about 20km out of Puyuhuapi we got stopped at a construction checkpoint. After 20 minutes of waiting I walked up to the girl who was handling the traffic and asked her why does this take this long. She didn’t speak English but kept talking about some Ferry. There is no Ferry on this section of Carretera Austral so I thought I just don’t get it right. Well unfortunately I did get it right. It turned out that due to the construction, the road which ran by the side of the mountain collapsed into the lake causing a massive landslide. Because of this there is a ferry that takes all cars and truck across on a 2km section. The Ferry had an 8 cars capacity. Do the math, it took us 3.5 hours to get across not to mention that friends, and construction workers and everyone else had priority over us, so you have seen guys passing the line and going straight to the port. To make things even worse every car had to back in to the Ferry slowing things even more down.

After all this hassle we finally arrived to Puyuhuapi around 8pm, checked in to out Cabana and went out for a quick bite. Unfortunately there was no time to look around therefore there will be no article on Puyuhuapi as I have seen very little of it.