We’ve joined up with Chile’s Route 7, the fabled Carretera Austral.
I remember looking at the map back in the days of planning, before we started this adventure, and wondering how we would go south over this land broken apart by rivers, lakes and fjords. Looking at the map, it’s like pieces of southern Chile have broken off from the mainland and are drifting out to sea.
The Carretera Austral, with the help of a couple of ferries, connects 770 miles from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins, and the remote communities in-between. Construction began in 1976, but the road didn’t reach Villa O’Higgins until 2000. It was an ambitious undertaking and a strategic one as well. Prior to the Carretera Austral, the only way to reach much of this region of southern Chile by land, was from Argentina.
I’ve had a few moments lately where I stop and am amazed by my surroundings and simply cannot believe I am here in the Chilean Patagonia. I must have spent hours staring at it on maps and Google Earth. I am finally here seeing it with my own eyes and it’s more than I had ever imagined!