Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
Candelario Mancilla to Lago del Desierto
Candelario Mancilla to Lago del Desierto is a short bike tour route at the end of Carretera Austral. Crossing a border from Chile to Argentina (or vice versa), it is a scenic free motor track that stretches for 20 kilometers only.
Candelario Mancilla to Lago del Desierto tour is a rather special route. It is one of the best border crossing Chile – Argentina among plenty of them. It is a short, yet adventurous route that stretches for 20 kilometers. Formerly, it’s a paradise for climbers and scientists who roamed the area or the stunning glaciers around. Since the border between the two lakes has opened at the end of 2001, tourism has been increasing ever since, bike tourers included.
The route is not a loop tour, yet it can be done in a reverse way. However, there is a reason to favor the north-south direction. Although the beginning of the Chilean side has a steep stretch, it is in a good state. On the other hand, the ascent on the Argentinean side (for those who choose south-north) has a steep and cramped trail.
Begins from Candelario Mancilla dock you will go to the right path that leads you to Tenencia Hernán Merino Correa of Carabineros de Chile where you have to stamp your passport before you continue your adventure.
Begins from Candelario Mancilla dock you will go to the right path that leads you to Tenencia Hernán Merino Correa of Carabineros de Chile where you have to stamp your passport before you continue your journey. Not too far from there, you will see the excellent view of Lake O’Higgins. But after km 5, the route becomes Nepali flat. On a beautiful day, you will be able to see Fitz Roy along this tour.
At km 14,9 you will find a traditional iron milestone and large signs – Paso Dos Lagunas, which marks the Chile-Argentina border. At this point, the vehicle route ends and the trekking trail begins. However, the path is quite evident, don’t worry to get lost. There is a GPS track available to download on the information box.
From here, you will be going through the picturesque lenga forest. Yet, there will be some short sections of deep mud and rivers that can be pretty swampy and challenging for bicycles. Here, teamwork is most required. Once you did it, the final stretch is a steep descent, with excellent views of the magnificent Fitz Roy across the Lago del Desierto.
Gendarmería, the immigration office of Argentina, is located at the tip of Lago del Desierto which also marks the end of this tour. Before you continue your venture, don’t forget to stamp your passport!
How to get to Candelario Mancilla or Lago del Desierto?
This tour is a rather special route. To get to the start or endpoint of this tour, you have to go by boat. We are lean on Wiki Explora in this tour due to keep update of the boat price and schedule.
To get to Candelario Mancilla is required to leave from Bahamóndez Bay, located 8 kilometers from Villa O’Higgins. From there, a 2,5-hour trip begins along the northeastern arm of Lake O’Higgins – San Martín, next to the La Florida Peninsula, where there are Chilean pioneers and Argentinean mountain ranches.
Lago del Desierto
From El Chaltén, take the north exit of the town. It is 37 kilometers on a gravel road in good condition to the beginning of the Lago del Desierto where you can get the boat to cross the lake.
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Impressive scenery of the Fitz Roy and the Lake O’Higgins with 100% traffic free!