D A T C O T O U R
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Chile's southern highway
|Until the opening of the Carretera Austral, the southern third of Chile was poorly connected to the rest of the country. There was limited airline service and overland transport was practically non-existent unless you crossed over into Argentina.|
|And just as infrequent as the passing
vehicles are places to stop and "refresh" . Pre-trip planning and opportunistic
refueling of vehicle and stowing away snacks and liquids along the way is an absolute
Anytime you are on the highway, care must be taken for flying rocks when passing other vehicles. Almost every vehicle - even the new ones - have nicks and cracks in the windshield. The tradition of touching the windshield while passing, which supposedly helps to insulate the glass from the shock of a flying stone and thus acts as a preventative to nicks and cracks, seems less than effective and is more often than not misunderstood to be a wave "hello".
|The Carretera Austral is not for
everyone. Driving times are long, not because of distances but because of the road
conditions. It is sparsely sprinkled with conveniences and overnight stops must be planned
and preferably pre-confirmed to assure availability, especially in December through
But without a doubt, it is one of the great overland trips amidst spectacular scenery.