21-23 December

It’s a privilege to witness what I’ve experienced on this journey so far. Patagonia can be harsh when the wind blows from all directions, and there’s nothing providing shelter. Carretera Austral, the road from Villa O’Higgins to Puerto Montt, is mostly just a very rough gravel road and not particularly enjoyable, but it’s part of this type of cycling adventure.

At the foot of the Andes lie large lakes like Lago Argentino, Lago O’Higgins, Lago Viedma, and many others, along with rivers and waterfalls.

The route from Cochrane to Coyhaique started with a seriously bad gravel road for 35-40 km, with hardly
any flat roadretches, but the views were something else.

Rio Baker floats down below

I’ve never experienced anything like it—each view more beautiful than the last, small picturesque and cozy villages, some offering camping and shopping opportunities. After the first day, the gravel road became somewhat more normal, and I could significantly increase my speed, though the steep hills still remained.

I also meet or been overtaking by two other cyclist who has same goal I my self… Not common

More nerds then me cycling south to north.

Lago Buenos Aires at Puerto Rio Tranquilo

I Puerto Rio Tranquilo stop for coffe and sandwich and a short trip to the beach or shore to view some strange formation nature and the water has created

Puerto Rio Tranquilo and Catedral de Mármol

Compared to the landscape between Ushuaia and Puerto Natales in Patagonia, this part is green, lush, and incredibly beautiful. Traffic is quite sparse, and they drive calmly, making the bike journey feel safe. In Villa Cerro Castillo, located by Río Ibáñez, there’s a backpackers’ camping site that I’m using, and across the street, there’s a cafe serving excellent coffee.

Camp Villa Cerro Castillio and mountain Cerro Castillio in background

Thanks to Carretera Austral, tourism in the area has increased, and Cerro Castillo National Park has become a popular destination. The weather is sunny and pleasantly warm, and the weather forecast promises the same for the day after Christmas.

After over 210 km, the gravel road ends, and I get to ride on paved roads the rest of the way to Coyhaique, allowing for even more speed. Five or six miles before Coyhaique, cattle fields spread out like prairies—endlessly large, green, and flat.

Grazeland before Coyhaique

I arrive in town just after 3 in the afternoon, and I’ve already found my camping spot, El Camping, only 600 meters from the central parts.

Coyhaique mountain

Before heading to the campsite, I take a stroll into the lively city center. The first thing I notice is a large grocery chain, Unimark.

As I navigate my bike among pedestrians and market stalls, I faintly hear voices and a way of speaking that increases my pulse.

At the next crosswalk, I ask outright,
 – Do you speak Swedish?
A couple in their mid-30s to mid-40s turns around and answers,

Maria and her partner

 – Yes, we do

My pulse increases even more because it’s a rarity to meet Swedes.

We chat for a while, and the woman, named Maria, from Dalarna but living in Stockholm, suggests that we meet later in the evening for a beer or two. We exchange WhatsApp numbers, and I feel a certain joy. We’ll catch up later to decide on the time.

Down to left beside the bridge over Rio Simpson lies El Camping ( Pic from El Camping website)

I then go and buy a cup of coffee at a nearby café and later head to Unimark for some provisions. Holy grail what a commerce. Shopping carts are more than full. it doesn’t seem like the Chileans have as bad an economy as Google reports or…? Like in Sweden time like this, Christmas.

After that, I make my way down to the camping site by Rio Simpson, and the descent is steep, seriously steep, with a gradient of 10-14%.

El Camping , my tent camp Coyhaique ( Pic from El Camping website)

The camping site is green with large grassy areas and trees.

There’s water at every site, showers, toilets, and a large dining room but no kitchen. However, I have access to a refrigerator and freezer. I plan to stay here for a few nights; it’s Christmas, and it doesn’t feel so pleasant to cycle during the holiday, plus I have plenty of time, Haven’t I…?

I’ll share more later.

P-G //The Global Cyclist 1726