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Exploring Chile By Vehicle: 4x4 Adventures In Chile, Why...?

Having your own vehicle allows you to take a few extra moments and enjoy unique perspectives of Chile's beautiful scenery. Such as this perspective of Volcano Osorno while standing on the Hueña Hueña bridge, Region X Chile. (This photo was taken before the 2015 eruption of Volcano Calbuco.)
 When you here someone mention Chile, South America, what comes to your mind? It’s very possible that you think...? Or maybe…? Possibly, you’re not real sure what to think. You’re not the first to know little about Chile. Few people (relatively speaking), know much about Chile as a country. Shoot… when my wife suggested that we go visit Chile S.A. in 2003, I didn’t even know what she was talking about. Maybe you kind of feel the same.

Since 2003, Chile S.A. has become much better known worldwide. For some time now, there have been thriving export companies here that ship to almost every major country in the world. Chile’s know for it’s Salmon, fruit, untouched nature, and of course…it’s wine! So, why am I (a writer for, an off-road and automotive journalist writing about Chile? Because Chile is even better when it is explored with a 4x4 Off-Road vehicle. 

After having climbed up the skirt of Volcano Calbuco a little bit, this is looking back on the Volcano that sits in front of Calbuco, Volcano Osorno (also know as, Chile's Mount Fuji). Southern Chile, Region X (Lakes Region), Puerto Varas.
 Along with all the aforementioned attributes that Chile has to offer, it is also an incredible country to travel. It’s definitely not the only country in South America that should be explored. In fact most South American countries have their own unique facets that make them interesting subjects of exploration. Still, Chile is worth the while. If you want to explore Chile by vehicle though, there are a number things that are good to understand, know, expect, and…in some cases avoid. First though, let’s focus on some benefits of exploring via a 4x4.

Sitting about PichiJuan hill looking out over Lake Llanquihue. 10th Region, Chile, South America

Benefits Of Exploring Chile Via 4x4
Adventure Tourism is nothing new to Chile. It’s been a big part of their economy for some time now. Here in Chile, you can do everything from hiking up a Volcano, to fly fishing a Patagonian stream. Of course, there are numerous companies to help you do it too. One of the biggest complaints that I hear from foreign tourist though, is that these companies don’t give you the time, or a schedule, that allows you to enjoy the best of what Chile’s nature really has to offer. This is why the best way to squeeze the adventure out of Chile is by exploring it in your own 4x4 vehicle. With your own personal vehicle, rented or purchased, you’ll be able venture where you want, when you want, and for as long as you want.

One of about 5 waterfalls in Chile's Puyehue National Park (10th Region/Lakes Region).

As in most parts of the world, Chile has key destinations that adventure seekers like to flock to; oh…I mean, “visit”. These places are beautiful, impressive, and honestly, they are worth a visit. However, they are only a highlight, of what Chile really has to offer.

Termas del Flaco, 6th Region Chile: While there are a few local companies that provide transport from San Fernando, Chile to Termas del Flaco, I'm quite sure that you would feel much safer, and have a less likely chance of getting motion sick, by having your own vehicle. An overlanding or small camping vehicle is ideal for visiting places like this. As the economical "Hospedajes" weren't very comfortable (we accidentally locked ourselves in our own room), and the "Resort Hotel" was around $300 USD per night at the time. Even though a fullsize RV would make it up to Termas del Flaco, (at the time) it would be a very tight fit on the road. Think rock cliff on one side, drop off of close to 100ft, if not more, on the other. This is another story, in and of itself...
 Simply being able to drive down a lone gravel road, Ox trail, or cross over to the other side of a lake, can present you with a view very few will ever see. Plus, as an off-roader, (overlander or otherwise), being able to explore small trails, back country roads, and look for the unnoticed path, is a big part of our enjoying nature. I can assure you that I’ve seen more unique vistas in my 4wd, within a 70-kilometer radius, than 90 of the visiting tourist will ever know existed. Many of which aren’t even “hidden”. They just simply weren’t on the road that the tour group bus travels. 

One of those remote roads, somewhere way out on Chiloe Island, that I would have never been able to explore without my own vehicle.

Many times, it’s not even about where you go. It’s about being able to decide how long you stay. An extra 20 minutes is all that it may take to change a beautiful natural setting it into something extraordinary. The only way that to make that happen though, is by being in control of your own schedule.

In photography, you're taught that when the sun starts to set, every minute counts. When you are trying to get a shot setup, you realize just how true this is. These few minutes (especially at evening time), can also make the difference between seeing a beautiful natural vista, or a spectacular one. Having your own 4x4 while exploring Chile allows you to choose where, when, and how long you stay, at any given place. Allowing you the opportunity of seeing some of Chile's best natural gems!
 Having your own 4wd vehicle will help have better control over both the use of your time, as well as, what you see and where you go. There’s very little like standing on top of a mountain, or on a stretch of beach, and not having anyone else within ear or eyeshot. Knowing that only you and your friends have been able to experience that incredible moment. Now, that’s what I call adventure. Of course, once you are done with that, then you find your way back to “civilization”, and experience the culture that makes Chile, well…Chile.

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