Christmas in O’Higgins and the Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral South-017

Villa O’Higgins sounded interesting and so we decided to go there for Christmas. The Carretera Austral  (Ruta 7) is long and winding road in Southern Chile, 1240 km long, it starts in Puerto Montt and runs all the way south to Villa O’Higgins. It is interrupted by fjords that are crossed by ferries. Construction of the this road started in the 1970s on the orders of General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean president of the time. Patagonia is very challenging when it comes to building a road, everywhere you look there are obstacles, mountains, lakes and fjords, rivers and glaciers. There was no land route that provided access to the isolated territory of southern Chile until this road was completed 2003. It finally connected the north with Villa O’Higgins. Lago O’Higgins marks the end of the road.

It has been described to us as a very beautiful road and we planned to drive it from one end to the other.
But our plans changed. On our way to O Higgins we encountered fog rain and snow.
O’Higgins is a strange little town, few people out and about, a new and empty square, trails that look nice on the tourist information but most are really not passable or disappear. The bad weather didn’t help. We camped at hostal El Mosco, more or less a biker hostal.
Lots of bikers here. Remember, the ones that we saw heading to Lago Desierto from El Chalten. They hike, bike and ferry over from Argentina, there is no road.
I looked for the church to see if there was maybe a service on Christmas Eve, a piece of paper nailed to the door said there would be a service at 8 pm. The little church is very small and holds 20 people at the most. So I left it to the locals.

We had our own little Christmas celebration in the camper. I made Glühwein, sausages and sauerkraut, lit the candles, put on Christmas music from back home and we had a very nice evening.
To get away from the bad weather we took off and headed north, and we drove and camped and drove and camped and it rained and rained. Every time we had a few hours of nice weather we took some pictures.

Carretera Austral South-011

Carretera Austral South-007

Carretera Austral South

December snow in the middle of summer.

Carretera Austral South-003

Rock falls and mud slides are a common occurrence on this road


“Socked in”





Villa O”Higgins



At the hostel “El Mosco”


The black lines are the trails, we tried to hike up the Mosco river….






It got worse and eventually the trail disappeared….


Some of the original buildings in town.


Time to get ready for Christmas, the kitties are waiting.


Our neighbors brought a sheep in the back of their car, in no time it was butchered and ready for the Christmas feast.


Leg of lamb and Perro wants his share too.


The old church on the right, the new church with the nativity scene on the left.


Below the nativity scene it looks like they are trying to grow the Christmas trees.


Wow, the sun is out!




Christmas in our camper.

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3 Responses to Christmas in O’Higgins and the Carretera Austral

  1. bill harr says:

    Thank you for a little Christmas in May.

    Bill and Veronica.


  2. Judi Cleghorn says:

    What a wonderful part of your journey. I couldn’t believe the “forest” of fuschias! Amazing! Thanks for posting this. Makes me want to travel and explore more!
    XO Judli


  3. Kristina Koelman says:

    Liebe Sissi, ich glaube du muesstest ein Buch schreiben ueber eure Reise und dann die schoenen Fotos dazu, da gibt es bestimmt Viele die das lesen wuerden! Auf jeden Fall gute Reise nach Alaska, erst natuerlich zu Stefan und deinen Enkeln, das wird bestimmt ein frohes Wiedersehen. Aber ich denke jetzr gerade daran dass Stefan wars heinlich schon inAlaska ist. Morgen fliegst du ab i h wuensche dir eine gute Reise in nd auch eine gute Fischsaison. Mir geht es schon Etwas besser gott sei dank ,nd Adrian ist Arbeit am suchen und schreibt inszwischen feste weiter.Gester haben wir Jans Geburtstag gefeiert es geht im gut. Er hat sich noch nicht entschlossen ob er einen neuen Camper kauft, auf jeden Fall bezahlt die Versicherung den gestohlenen Camper. Warscheinlich fahre ich erst irgendwann in Juli nach Mittelberg weil du und Pfiffi ja weg seid,heute werde ich mich entscheiden. Hier waren gans viele Gewitter und Ueberstroemungen und sehr warm fuer Mai, vielleicht wird es schon n Alaska auch waermer und weniger Regen. Auf jeden Fall Alles gute und bis bald. Gruesse an Allen von Adrian und mir.




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