Out of the Carretera and into the desert: cycling through the Patagonian steppe

Our tales of Patagonia so far would probably have you thinking that the whole region is awash with luscious scenery. We were starting to believe it too, after six weeks on Chile’s Carretera Austral, with its snowcapped mountains, glaciers, fjords, forests, rivers, lakes - have we missed anything? But after we left sleepy Villa O’Higgins we were in for a series of shocks.

Taking our time in Patagonia: cycling the Carretera Austral

I was reminded of the age-old saying in this part of the world: “Quien se apura en Patagonia pierde su tiempo” (“Those who hurry in Patagonia waste their time”). It would be about taking the rough with the smooth, trying to look on the bright side of life when the weather was foul and savouring the beautiful long summer days when they came our way.

Fast rolling and hard pedalling: an introduction to Argentina

Despite the head winds, cycling through Argentina immediately felt easier than Bolivia. For starters, the standard of driving is much better and you can drink the tap water. You also know that every town you pass through has a campsite or hotel with hot water, a well-stocked tienda, a panadería with actual fresh bread and pastries, and an heladería with numerous flavours of ice cream to choose from.