We spent much of the month of February 2022 in Pucón, Chile hiding out in a friend’s cabin to avoid the hectic height of the Chilean summer travel season. We hit the road (and the water) near the end of the month and ultimately drove a total of 570 miles (917 km) and covered another 920 miles (1,480 km) via ferry during our road trip in Chile in February 2022.

Navimag MV Esperanza ferry Puerto Natales road trip in Chile

Part of our road trip in Chile in February 2022 took place on the weather thanks to Navimag and their new MV Esperanza ferry.

South American road trip in Chile February 2022

February is the heart of the summer travel season in Chile. Combined with the fact that no one in Chile had been able to travel since 2020 because of the pandemic and you’ve got a recipe for a domestic travel frenzy that created crowds everywhere, booked up hotels, jacked-up prices, and traffic jams for miles.

By the time we arrived in Pucón, Chile in early February it was clear that travel would be unpleasant until the end of the month, so we moved into a little cabin in the mountains and waited for the crowds to disperse.

In late February we drove from Pucón to Puerto Montt in time for our reservation on the Navimag ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales at the southern end of Patagonian Chile. As you can see in our time-lapse video at the end of this post, even in late February there was no escape from the perils of peak summer vacation season in Chile and traffic was still so congested that it took us early three hours to drive 21 miles(33 km) through Pucón.

Navimag ferry Kirke channel

Beautiful Patagonian scenery during our navigation from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales on the Navimag MV Esperanza ferry…and not a pothole in sight.

Braving all that traffic was worth it, however, because our Navimag navigation surpassed our expectations. Instead of bouncing over approximately 1,600 miles (2,575 km) of roads that we’d already driven in early 2020, we drove just 246 miles (396 km) from Pucón to Puerto Montt, parked our truck in the cargo hold of the Navimag ferry, and spent the next four days letting the captain of the M/V Esperanza navigate 920 miles (1,480 km) south through the beautiful fjords of Patagonian Chile while we relaxed, watched whales, and admired mountains with not a pothole in sight.

Blinka with kitten puma leona amarga chile

This is Blinka and one of her teenage cubs behind her. They’re two of the 15 individual pumas that we observed and spent time with while we were in and around Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

We disembarked the Navimag ferry in the town of Puerto Natales in the very south of Chile and drove a mere 59 miles (95 km) to Torres del Paine National Park where we finished out the month hiking and watching pumas. Yes, that’s plural pumas…we observed 15 different individual pumas (mothers and cubs) in multiple locations over multiple days. Just incredible.

Our complete road trip in Chile driving route for February 2022 can be seen in our map, below:

And you can see what we saw out there on the road (and water) in Chile in February of 2022 in our dashcam drive-lapse (and bridgecam nav-lapse) video, below. It was, as always, shot by our Brinno camera which is attached to our dashboard at all times.

 

Here’s more about travel in Chile