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Chile Self-Guided MTB Tour - Patagonian Lakes

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Start and End Dates: November to March Recommended
Duration: 8 to 10 Day Segments
Location: Chile: Patagonia, Lakes District
Price starting at: $ per day based on length
Program Type: Self-Guided Multi-Surface MTB Touring Itinerary; Lodging Included
Meals:  Great local fare!

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Self-Guided Mountain Bike Cyclotouring Chile

A Self-Directed Adventure Itinerary

Wanderland is proud to unveil our first segment in a series of Self-Directed Cycling.  Lodging Included.  Ride light and sleep tight!

This is the most delectable and easily-accessed of Chile's amazing southlands - the Patagonian Lakes District between Valdivia and Puerto Montt.  We have developed a paved and dirt back roads exploration for fat-tire exploration.  Mountain Bikes fully-equipped with rack and panniers are provided.

This is very exciting opportunity for all of you Cyclo Travelers and Explorers!!!    If you have been drooling over our many guided bicycle treks in Chile then you know that it is our first and favorite cycling destination.  This is the most scenic and well-heeled  tourism region of Chile and is home to phenomenal lakes and Andes mountain vistas as well as many excellent inns and restaurants. Inn to inn! We arrange your lodging around your 'pace' of discovery.

Patagonia and the Lakes and Rivers Region

Valdivia is the northernmost outpost of that fabled region called Patagonia.  Patagonia is often incorrectly only associated with areas far to the south, but actually begins here in the Chilean and Argentine regions of Los Rios and Neuquén respectively.  Yes, Patagonia is shared by both countries, just as they share the Andes which also make up the spine of Patagonia.  The many lakes of the region along the route of your cycling trek were formed by ice-age glaciers that plowed up immense moraines - dams of debris and glacial outwash - that now hold back their waters.

The region is one of temperate rainforests and lush farmlands.  Tha Valdivian Rainforest is the native biome.  Germanic and Spanish settlers found the indigenous Mapuche peoples farming and wildharvesting from the forest bounty.  The region is still home to both of these Native and European cultures which have blended to become the modern Chilean culture.  The foods, the festivals, the architecture and the peoples you will meet will represent these ancient and modern realities.

Valdivia to Puerto Montt -- 8 - 10 Days of Riding and Exploring the Patagonia Lakes Region - Lodge-based and Spectacular!

  • Bikes:  Included.  Want to bring your own? A mountain bike or stout hybrid set up for touring with cross tires and at least a rear rack.  (See this LINK for more info on packing and shipping your bike.)
  • Time of Year: November to March
  • Seasons: Fall, Summer, and Spring
  • Daily Distances:  16 to 50 miles per day, average is 30 miles per day with time to explore and enjoy each byway.  Longer days are on more level terrain.
  • Roads: Secondary and Tertiary Routes. No Pan-Americana Highway at all.  Pavement predominates for the first two weeks, later weeks roll a combination of pavement and hardpacked dirt.
  • Traffic:  Certain weeks will see more traffic.  Weekday travel is better in some locations.  Truck traffic cannot be avoided but the route is specially designed to avoid population concentrations and stay rural and enjoyable.
  • Terrain:  Mountainous and Rural
  • Climate and Weather: There is a good reason that this region is so fertile.  The Valdivian Rainforest Complex receives rainy winters and warm summers.  November and March the weather is more variable.  The region is 39 to 41 degrees South latitude, about the same as Eureka to Crescent City on the California Coast.  Climate at the southern end of your tour supports the Chilean redwood tree, the Alerce.
  • Elevation Max/Min: 0 to 2000 feet, but never in one day!  Each daily map will have an elevation profile.
  • Navigation: You will receive both physical and digital map sets. A tablet or smartphone you provide will get the files and SIM card to access the local cell data network.  Day-By-Day route depictions allow zooming and scrolling to provide up-close departure / arrival details, as well as distances and suggestions for your daily lodging selection.
  • Interactive Maps: We provide interactive daily trajectory maps . Your trip is in the palm of your hand as a download or a flash drive to plug into your tablet or phone (rentals available) ..... all of your daily maps and links to resources. 


Valdivia to Puerto Montt – 220 miles (355 km) of awesome backroads!!!  The trip takes in both paved and dirt secondary and tertiary routes.  The route is designed to minimize daily distances and, importantly, keep you away from the bustle of N-S and trans-andean traffic.   Your map packet is quite extensive and comes with links to online versions of each day’s travel. (Ask about rental tablets or foreign service plans for your tablet or smartphone.)

The tour begins and ends in the 'Rivers' Region of Chile - la Región de Los Rios - in Puerto Montt.  You will be met at the airport, bus terminal, or hotel with your bikes and shuttled a couple hours to the start of your ride in Valdivia near the coast of Chile a few hours to the North.

You can certainly choose to stay in Valdivia a couple days and explore this lovely city, the university, and the coastal routes if you like.  When you are ready to head out your route continues winding you from the tidal inlets and rivers of Valdivia through wetlands and over the Coast Range into the Central Valley and the beginning of the Lakes District.  Your route will take you through rural lands and along delightful back-roads arriving each evening to another of the lovely little towns of the region.   The lakes that you will visit on this ride are Ranco, Puyehue, Rupanco, and Llanquihue each rivaling or exceeding Lake Tahoe in size and splendor.

Lodging Options

For those of you who know our programs you are aware that we offer mostly lodge-based adventures.  This trek is no exception, it is all Lodge-Based.  You will have multiple suggestions for lodging each night and before the trip.  Then, with your planner, you will decide on and reserve your choice of available inns, and for the number of nights you choose to remain in each town.  We can also plan into your layover days local treks and adventures to explore the excellent parks and stunning geography the region has to offer.  Your overnights will take place in a combination of hotels, cabins,  bed&breakfasts, and lodges, based on local availability and your budget.  3-4 months advanced notice is important so that we can get your preferred lodgings.


Reservations Services

We have an up-to-date database of great inns and hotels Patagonia.

Your route is designed custom for your group with lodging each night according to your price point.

During peak months of vacationing, January and February, some places along the route require a good three or four months of anticipation to insure you get the rooms you desire.  Contact us soon so that we can get you the best lodgings available.


Fully Self-Directed Bike Touring --  How to set this up:

We are excited to be able to provide you a self-guided, lodge-based cyclotouring adventure designed especially for those of you who are done with sleeping on the ground!  Ride light and arrive to comfort and delish.

On each Day your lodging is pre-arranged and secured.

On your bike tour in Chile you will learn that Lodging style, quality and availability is closely associated with the touristic and economic import of the town of region.  Your route takes in areas where tourism has built a fine infrastructure and also towns where families provide you with private rooms in their homes.

Again, your daily itinerary gives you contact information for the town at the end of the day.  You will need some Spanish skills to negotiate, for sure.  English speakers are few and far between in Chile.  (See vocab at bottom of page to see if you are ready.)

In south-central Chile the distances between major towns is normally less than 60 miles, and often only 20 or 30 miles. This really recommends the region for great point-to-point cyclo-touring.  However, in smaller towns lodging quality does not compare with what you will find in the larger towns and touristic areas.



General Geography

The Southern Cone, or Cono Sur, is made up principally of the countries Chile and Argentina.  This vast region is shaped like a huge arrowhead pointing south, a broad and massive compass needle pointing right at Antarctica and the South Pole.  This is the Cono Sur, the Southern Cone.  The rugged cordillera of the Andes forms a 3000 mile backbone that captures moisture from the  Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the form of snow and ice.  From the snow-capped crests, great rivers tumble to seas carrying the erosion of the mountains to the coast.  Generally, the rivers that flow down eastern flank of the Andes on the Argentine side end up in the Atlantic and on the west flanks, on the Chilean side, in the Pacific.  The rugged crest of the Andes forms the border.

Chile, in all of its myriad realities, is our beloved base of operations each Summer (during Winter in the N. hemisphere).  The country of Chile is an immensely varied region that, while relatively narrow E--W,  runs from 18.5 degrees south Latitude to 56 degrees south Latitude - almost 3000 miles.  On the East - West axis the country is narrow but contains the extremes of elevation from sea level to 22,000 feet.  Peru is to the North, Bolivia and Argentina to the East, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the South Pole to...well to the south of course.

Chile comprises a lean region of mountains, valleys, and coastline runs from the border with Peru in the north to the Drake Passage where it submerges for a bit and then resurfaces as the tail of Antarctica and runs all the way to the South Pole.  Chile claims a whole segment of Antarctica as its natural territory.  Chile is many worlds packed into a stocking.

In Chile the four directions are Norte-Sur and Cordillera-Mar:  north to south , mountain range to sea.  ¡Hacia la cordillera!

Chile is isolated on all of its borders by some of the most extreme nature on the planet.  The Atacama Desert in the country’s extreme north, Norte Grande and Altiplano, is the driest rock desert on the planet.  Forty full degrees of latitude further south the Chile meets the harsh beauty of the Furious Fifties and the Magellanic Region.


What will we see?  What will we learn?

CURRICULUM :: Chile and Southern Cone Geography;  basics of Chilean Castillian Spanish;  Chilean History and Settlement Patterns;   Chile’s Agricultural Prowess; Irrigation Engineering past and Present;  Chilean Gastronomy; Oenology and Viticulture in Chile;  Local Toponymy; Pre-Historic Perspectives of Chile; Native Plants and Invasives; Chilean Huaso Culture; Post-earthquake issues for this hard-hit region; Teutonic Influences on Chilean Settlement Patterns   Southern Chile – Contemporary Cultures and Issues;   Andean Geology and Lakes District Formation and Glacial History;  Valdivian Rainforest Complex and UNESCO World Heritage Designation;  Biodiversity of the Valdivian Forest Region;  Tourism Industry of the Lakes District;  Mapuche and Pehuenche Cultures – Pre-History, History, and Contemporary Issues;  Chilean Toponymy – Mapudungun Meets Manuel Montt;  And So Much More!!!


OTHER THINGS TO DO ALONG MY ROUTE?  - Additional Explorations en route - hiking, rafting, kayaking, fishing, festivals, cultural sites.


  • Ride to the Coast and Ride the Coastal Road North
  • Zip-lining
  • Micro-cervecerias - micro-breweries!
  • River Boat excursions
  • Rafting


  • Visit to Isla Huapi -- Mapuche - Huilliche Cultural Park
  • Kayaking on Lago Ranco
  • Botanical Gardens

Lago Ranco Town

  • Trekking in Parque Futangue - Private Preserve
  • Kayaking in Lago Ranco
  • Fishing
  • Rio Bueno Float

Entre Lagos

  • Visit to Isla Fresia Wildlife Preserve
  • Kayaking in Lago Puyehue
  • Visit Puyehue National Park
  • Excursion to Argentina and Bariloche

Puerto Octay

  • Kayaking Lago Llanquihue
  • Interesting Architecture
  • Fishing


  • Kayaking Lago Llanquihue
  • Floating Río Maihue
  • Great Local Foods
  • Beaches

Puerto Varas

  • Excursions to Petrohue Falls
  • Hiking in National Parks - Alerce Andino, Vicente Perez Rosales
  • Kayaking and other boating on Lago Llanquihue
  • Beaches
  • Nightlife
  • Excellent Restaurants

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!  We can help you plan!


Self-Guided Cycling Adventure Review

Wanderland Basic Self-Guided Itinerary Includes

Meet and Greet, Bike Fitting

Transportation to Start of Program - ONLY Puerto Montt to Valdivia;  Transportation to Airport or Bus Station at completion.

Mountain Bikes and Gear - Quality front suspension bikes w/ rear rack, panniers, helmet, tools, repair kit, bottles, & lock.

Lodging Pre-arrangement.

Chile Travel Information

Upload of Virtual Copy of Tour (time sensitive); Map Packet


Luggage Storage

Not Included

International or National Airfare or Ground Transportation outside of the travel dates of the tour.

Tablet or Smartphone - bring your own and we upload secure files to your devices.

Food.  You are free to explore the local options according to your tastes.

Water Bottles or bladders.  People usually like to bring these items themselves, due to hygienic concerns.

Gear beyond what comes with the bicycle. (See above.)


Cycling Experience - Not a trip for novices!  Great for practiced riders.  Some skills at bike tire repair and general bike maintenance are very helpful.


Credit Card or PayPal account>  To secure your rooming in your name.



Sample Daily Tour Maps:  Map set for full 8 days contains over 30 individual plates.

Wanderland ultimately will develop challenging backroads cycling self-guided routes in Southern Chile and Argentina that will take you from the Wine Valleys of Colchagua just south of Santiago, all through the 20+ lakes regions, and deep into Patagonia!  Want to help?  Contact us about assisting in perfecting our other route segments.

A Lodge-Based Traveler's Castellano Primer:  Words for Lodging Types in Chile / Vocab for making reservations.

Castellano?   Yes, don't call the language 'Spanish' or 'Español' - those words refer to a 'person' from Spain.  The language is called Castellano (cas tay yan oh) .

Cabaña—A cozy Little cabin with all the amenities.  In popular times of the year one-night-stays can be difficult to arrange, but worth it.  Reasonable prices.

Residencial—A family home that has been converted into a small inn for travelers.  Sometimes shared bath, sometimes prívate.  Usually comes with simple breakfast.

Pensión—A lodging house, similar to a residencial.

Hostería—An older style guest ranch with cabins or individual rooms. Often has its own restaurant.  Usually has prívate bath.  Usually comes with simple breakfast.

Hostal—Not to be confused with a ‘hostel’, an hostal is a fine bed-and-breakfast style lodge or hotel-style lodging.

Hotel—The hotel can range widely in definition, from your familiar Marriott, to a Swiss chalet style affair, to a drafty/stuffy downtown workaday.  Cleanliness is usually never an issue, unless you are Howard Hughes.

The route is designed to show you many of Chile’s populations and lodging will reflect local customs.


Spanish Terms for Booking a Room in Chile


Alojarse—to stay overnight



Un cuarto—a room

Una habitación—a room

Matrimonial—a queen or king sized bed

Temporada Alta / Temporada Baja—High and Low Season Rates

Tarifas:  Prices  Tarifario:  Rate Sheet  Cancelar—to pay the bill