Tuesday, February 16th thru Friday, February 19th
Located at the southern tip of South America, the Patagonia region stretches across both Chile and Argentina. Within Patagonia, there are two popular cycling routes: Ruta 40 and Ruta 7.
The first, Ruta 40, runs through Argentina. Because of its location on the east side of the Andes, the climate along this route is desert-like, and the terrain is, in my opinion, less-than-interesting. Ruta 7, on the other hand, runs through Chile. Because of its location on the west side of the Andes, the climate is more temperate, and the terrain is much more varied--think lush rainforests, glaciers, and fjords. Whenever you see gorgeous photos of Patagonia, chances are high that you are looking at the Chilean side of Patagonia. I wanted to see those gorgeous views with my own eyes, and for this reason, I chose to bike Ruta 7 through Patagonia.
|This gorgeous view, which is of the bridge crossing Río Mayer, is from the Chilean side of the Andes.|
Ruta 7 is commonly referred to as the Carretera Austral ("Southern Road"). Extending from Villa O'Higgins in the south to Puerto Montt in the north, the Carretera Austral runs for 1240 km through southern Chile. It is often called "The Road at the End of the Road" because it starts where the PanAmerican Highway ends. The Carretera Austral is represented by the blue line in the map below: