The Carretera Austral is a beautiful “scenic highway” in Southern Chile that opens up the best of Patagonia right before your eyes. It is a stunning north/south route of over 700 miles where you are just awestruck by natural beauty at every turn. We took almost 3 weeks to drive this mostly unpaved road, and this post focuses on the first half from Puerto Montt until Coyhaique, one of the main hub cities of Southern Chilean Patagonia. We definitely came across a good number of backpackers and cyclists on the route, but in general we were so surprised at how little tourism there is on this spectacular route compared to the more well known parts of Patagonia. Of all the places we have been, above everything else, my recommendation is to take 2-3 weeks, rent a car (or bring a bike) and explore Patagonian along the Carretera Austral. You’ll be amazed.