Elcinevino Project in Torres del Paine

Elcinevino Project in Torres del Paine

Photo by Andres Daly López (wikimedia commons)

Getting off the Beaten Track

Photo by Jorge Morales Piderit (wikimedia commons)General Carrera Lake, Aisén Photo by Jorge Morales Piderit (wikimedia commons)

A motorhome rental or campervan hire is a fantastic way to experience some of Chile’s undiscovered areas.  These are not places where there is a hotel around every corner, or even a restaurant, so having everything with you gives you the edge to find that ‘special’ place.  Chile has lots of areas considered to be off the beaten track but here we will ‘uncover’ just two, Patagonia and the Atacama dessert and antiplano.


Patagonia is where visitors can experience beautiful coastlines, cattle ranches, and mountains; the region also has three well-known national parks, Cueya Del Milodon, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Torres del Paines National Parks.  These parks are beautiful whatever time of year you visit or whatever the weather, even on a damp and cloudy day, the atmosphere here is incredible; and so is the silence.  The parks are full of lakes, waterfalls, fjords and glaciers as well as condors, nandus and other animals.

Patagonia is certainly off the beaten track, although it does get its fair share of visitors.  These visitors however tend be groups travelling as part of cruise excursions or overland adventures, there are many fewer who visit this area alone.  One part that is still very much undiscovered is the central part of Patagonia which really is wild.  It is known as the Carretera Austral or the southern highway, and comprises of dense rainforest with big rivers, waterfalls, and lakes.  When you visit this part of the region local people still live very traditional and rural lives, but although there may not be lots of attractions, in true off the beaten track style there are lots of opportunities for fishing, hiking and even mountain biking.  

Atacama dessert and antiplano.

The Atacama dessert is a dry in inhospitable place…. but not everywhere.  Visit the dunes to experience vast mountains of lifeless sand, then when the heat gets too much visit a real oasis in the desert, the Oasis de Pica.  The Oasis de Pica is right in the centre of the desert, but thanks to the fog that travels inland from the Atlantic, there’s a real oasis with green trees and vegetation.  The area is surrounded by mountains and a volcano; there are also natural hot springs.  Because of its location this area is relatively undiscovered by ‘foreign’ tourists, although locals come here both summer and winter to enjoy the waters and the pre historic architecture found in nearby towns.  The area is also home to a huge flock of Chilean flamingos, and if you would like to explore further there are opportunities for horse riding and trekking.

These areas really are off the beaten track for visitors those with a motorhome rental or campervan hire because although the areas do receive tourists, many come here with the help of a guide, or in a group.  When you visit and stay here in a small group or alone, you really get a feeling of being somewhere where not many people have dared to venture.

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