To find and access great fishing having a car is a must unless you have the money for a guide or a lodge.
I was driving to a large river that reported having a good population of Brown Trout. On the way, I spotted a small stream on the right that looked just lovely, and it wasn’t on any maps. I had to stop, and sans waders or boots, I walked the stream bank catching rainbow trout for a couple of hours on bead head nymphs. No one in sight, no houses, or farms, only one car passed.
Use the Kayak website and App for car rental special deals.
In Puerto Montt, an economy subcompact car starts at $30 a day and a diesel 4 wheel drive extended cab pickup at $75. In Coyhaique, it’s at least $75 and $125 a day if you can find one to rent. If you are thinking of renting a car in Puerto Montt and driving down, there are a few things to consider; the roads are crushed rock, and you will wear out tires, it is a long drive, is the Carretera Austral open all the way down to where you want to go, what is your responsibility to the car rental company, and is it allowed to drive the car that far south?
Not all car rental companies are the same; some have better cars than others but always be sure the spare tire is good and all 5 tires inflated properly.
Do not run out of gas. Keep the tank filled.
Except for the Carretera Austral, most roads are graded crushed rock and dirt, the main routes are about 2 lanes wide tertiary routes are 1 + (narrow).
Be sure you drive carefully and slowly, especially at night.
Mainline buses are high quality and have different seating classes; Cama, semi Cama, and upright. Your stuff will be safe but always keep an eye on it, just like in the USA.
During summer months, everyone is on the road, prices are high, and rooms can be hard to find; book ahead on the Airbnb app or call hostels and campgrounds days before you expect to arrive to be sure there is space. I generally reserve one to two weeks out; you can get someone to translate for you when booking on the telephone if you do not speak Spanish.
One of the things I noticed is if you travel by bus from one large town to another, the coaches are generally full between larger or popular stops. If you get off between the larger towns, like at a park, you might not find space on the next bus when you want to get back on. I will revisit this issue later in my journey and report back.
You can save time take a flight. I fly from Santiago to Balmaceta in Patagonia. Traveling by air cuts several days off of travel time and expenses for food and lodging on the way south.