Tips for visiting the Carretera Austral during Covid 19

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Bike tourism at Lago Tagua Tagua. Bike tourism at Lago Tagua Tagua.

 SPONSORED CONTENT: Patagonia Verde 


Patagonia Verde, a Chilean government program that promotes tourism in a vast territory of the south of the country, is working to open up for business during the pandemic. Here are a few tips on how to safely visit what is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Ferries: In order to connect between fjords and open roads surrounded by stunning lakes, rivers and ancient forests, you will have to take more than one ferry. Due to restrictions on the number of people allowed in these areas at any one time, combined with the high demand of the summer season, we recommend reserving well in advance at However, no matter the conditions, we guarantee that the ferry trip will be an amazing experience. Once on board, you will breathe in incredibly fresh air and visit wonderful fjords filled with unique flora and fauna. If you take the first ferry that connects La Arena cove with Hornopirén, you will be in for a treat, seeing where the Andes mountain range meets the sea.
Ferry on the Carretera Austral.Ferry on the Carretera Austral.
Choose a trusted certified tourist operatorMake sure you choose businesses that comply with health authority covid protocols. Likewise, always opt for hotels, transport services, restaurants and tour operators that are formally registered with and certified by the national tourism ministry (Sernatur).
It is also important that you request that your operators comply with these protocols and that you also meet your own obligations as a responsible traveler.
Trekking at Chaitén.Trekking at Chaitén.
Health Passport and Step by Step Plan: If you are planning to travel, don't forget that as a tourist you also have an obligation to behave responsibly and comply with health protocols. As indicated above, services providers are not the only ones that have obligations. We remind you that you must respect the Step-by-Step Plan, which means not traveling from a municipality that is in either Phase 1 or 2. You must also carry your Health Passport, obtained at, at all times. As of Thursday, January 7, all Chileans and foreign residents moreover must show proof of a negative result of a PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their final flight to Chile. Some regions have additional regulations. Travelers to Palena province in the Los Lagos region must show a PCR test with negative result that has been taken within the previous 72 hours. Remember: if you have had contact with someone with coronavirus you must quarantine and for no reason travel, even if the municipality of orgin is in phases 3 or 4. Breaking these rules is considered a criminal offense.
In Patagonia Verde, you will find beautiful hotels, hostels and cabins as well as delicious local culinary options. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to buy locally to help struggling entrepreneurs and their families so that they can continue to provide quality services, safely.
Río Blanco Reserve, Hornopiren.Río Blanco Reserve, Hornopiren.
How to go? 
If you go by air, you can either reserve through a Puerto Montt-based tour operator or book a flight to Chaitén directly and then use a local tour operator. You can always rent a car or pick-up truck at El Tepual airport (it is always recommended to reserve in advance) and then drive the Carretera Austral, taking ferries to cross the fjords.
If you go by car, you can start in Cochamó, coming from Puerto Varas, and start a fascinating trip, which takes in the Puelo River and Lake Tagua Tagua. The adventure of a lifetime starts there.
Going by bicycle is another viable option and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and challenging ways to explore Patagonia Verde. For more information check out where you can find more tips on how to make this an unforgettable experience.
Hotel in Futaleufu.Hotel in Futaleufu.
Where to go? 
Patagonia Verde is made up of the municipalities of Cochamó, Futaleufú, Hualaihué, Chaitén and Palena, all of which are in the Los Lagos Region. Here you will find pristine landscapes, starry nights, volcanoes, ancient forests, rivers, glaciers, and immense lakes. In the area, you can also take the fascinating Route of the Parks of Patagonia, amongst which the Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is a must visit.
What to do while you're there?
Adventure tourism is the main activity in Patagonia Verde. You can choose from a range of adrenaline-rush activities such as rafting, serious trekking and climbing as well as more moderate activities like cycling, fly fishing, horseback riding and hiking. Make sure to always use registered local guides and do not forget to inform your family or friends of your travel plans before setting off. Mobile phone signals cannot always be guaranteed and being out of contact for several days can have serious consequences.