Self-Drive: Villa O'Higgins & Chacabuco Valley


This itinerary is an extension to the Southern Carretera Austral itinerary.

Day 1

This drive will take you to the end of the Carretera Austral and to the town of Villa O´Higgins. The village, isolated between mountains, fjords and the Patagonian ice fields makes for a picturesque setting. (B)

Day 2

A day at leisure for you to enjoy. A trip to the great O´Higgins Glacier located in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park is highly recommended. It is one of the principal glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and is about 2 km (1.2 mi) wide. Overnight in or near Villa O´ Higgins. (B)

Day 3

Today you will drive back towards the town of Cochrane and have the opportunity to enjoy the lovely landscape once again. Cochrane was founded in 1954, but didn’t have road access to the rest of Chile until 1988, when the Carretera Austral was opened. After passing the city, continue on the route to reach the Chacabuco Valley which for generations was a vast sheep and cattle ranch. Overnight in or near the Chacabuco Valley. (B)

Day 4

Head back to Balmaceda to drop off your car and continue your travels. (B)

Rates in 2018/2019

valid from October 15, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Self-drive itineraries are highly flexible and can be adjusted to your preferences. The rates below are sample rates for this itinerary with the specific car types and hotels mentioned in the table. However, Hotels are subject to availability as well as your choice. The final rate of this itinerary will reflect the specific options you have chosen in the course of developing your itinerary.

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy. For single or triple rates, different hotels or extra nights, please inquire.


Car Type Rate per person
Europcar cat J3 $837
Hertz cat J $782
Balmaceda is the closest airport to Coyhaique, the cultural centre of the Aysen region of northern Patagonia. There are flights from Santiago to Balmaceda, most of which connect through Puerto Montt.

Program includes:

  • 5 nights incl. breakfast
  • 6 days car rental including unlimited free mileage
  • Local tax
  • Full CDW coverage
  • Self-drive brochure
  • Roadmap and descriptions.
  • Deductible regarding to general conditions (see above).
  • Chile car rental companies charge an additional airport service fee when the vehicle will be picked up from the airport. This service charge is not included in the published rates. This extra fee has to be paid upon returning the car.


Northern Patagonia has a relatively temperate and wet climate. Even during the summer months, one can expect some rain.


When it comes to packing, it is best to think in terms of layers and to try to be prepared for all kinds of weather, when travelling to this region of Chile.


Gas stations are few and far between. Thus, it is prudent to fill up the tank whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

Car types



cat J3 – Mitsubishi L200 Katana Crt 4×4 (Mt) or similar


cat J – Mitsubishi L200 4×2 Katana or similar


Please note that car rental companies only reserve a specific category of cars, not a specific type of car within that category.

Please mention at the time of booking if you need a vehicle with automatic transmission.

Rental cars do not come with a GPS system by default. They can be added on at an additional cost, but the cover is not complete in remote areas.

Driving License

Foreign nationals must have an international driver’s license in order to be able to drive in Chile.

Lodge Robinson Crusoe

The lodge, which is inspired by the adventurer Robinson Crusoe, is located in the small town of Villa O’Higgins. Each one of the 12 modern styled rooms has a private terrace, heating and a private bathroom. The various areas of the Club House make the travellers stay more comfortable and enjoyable. After a full day of explorations, passengers can relax by the fireplace or enjoy some time in the outdoor hot tubs.

Lodge Chacabuco

The Lodge Chacabuco is a modern, cozy and sustainable lodge, situated in the heart of the Patagonia National Park, facing Mount Tamanguito. It is comprised of 6 luxurious and comfortable rooms equipped with antique wooden furniture. This accommodation also offers delicious dishes for breakfast and dinner, as well as box lunches for those guests wishing to explore their surroundings. After an exciting day, the travelers can relax around the fireplace or simply enjoy the common areas.