We left Puerto Montt early on the second of January because the bus left at 07.00 at the bus station. The trip from Puerto Montt to Chaiten is a lovely bus and boat journey (3 ferries) lasting several hours. As usually, the west coasts tend to be a bit rainy as it was in our case, but nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful, especially on the ferries.
|View from the ferry|
Once we arrived in Chaiten, we expected to see a partially destroyed village, but this was not the case. The centre is nice and re-build and it does not seem as if this town was destroyed in 2008. But the inhabitants of Chaiten keep one street as it was to display how it looked like. A mud slide from the volcano destroyed the town.
Due to the bus connection and the weather (rain is not the best when you want to go hiking), we took the bus next morning to move on to Puyuhuapi, a little town at the shore of the sea. The bus left on time at nine, but we did not get far, since we had to organize a new spare tire for the bus. So the first store in town was not able to help us to fix this, so we headed to the second store and waited for 1.5 hours with a running engine until the mechanic fixed the tire :-) Nice!. The trip leads through dense forest, mountains covered with snow and low hanging clouds, beautiful! The town was built by German migrants and so, the street names and the beer produced there have funny names: Avenida Otto Uebel and Hopperdietzel beer (3 different kinds: Goldene Jahre, Roter Teppich, Schwarzer Bach). That sounds pretty German!
|Puyuhuapi - first day|
|Puyuhuapi - second day|
|View to the valey of Puyuhuapi|
We stayed in a nice hostel and next day, we organized a car to bring us to the "Hanging glacier", some 20 km away. A hike up to a view point revealed a very nice view to the glacier. On the way back, we picked up some Israeli hitch-hikers (but not for free, so we could split the cost of the car) and it's amazing how many of them try to get a free lift to some other places (in this very small town at least 12 were waiting to get a lift!). Furthermore, we saw a Swiss car in this little town as well! (well, this was not surprising since most of the tourists we met were: Germans, Israeli or Swiss).
|The hanging glacier|
|The hanging glacier|
|Walking to the lookout|
Since there is not much to do else in this town we rented bicycles next day and relaxed in the small thermal baths about 5 km away from town, before we wanted to catch the next bus to the south. We were told that the bus should leave around 16.00 - 17.00 so we waited... for some hours... until the bus arrived at 19.00 :-) This actually caused some problems, since we did not arrive as expected between 9 and 10, we arrived after midnight in Coihaique. The unfortunate thing was, that most of the hostels were closed, so we had to opt for an hotel for one night.
|The thermal baths|
Next morning, we had some things to organize: since the south is difficult to travel by bus, we were looking for a rental car, we needed a hostel and we needed to do the laundry. And this time, we were lucky! we found a nice hostel, a German guy called Benjamin was also looking for a rental car so we were able to split the cost and we found a nice 4x4 car to drive around. Furthermore, the hostel did our laundry as well, so all our points were solved in no time.
We picked up the car next morning and drove direction south, to the glaciers and lakes there. The weather was perfect and we could stop to take some very scenic pictures before we arrived in Rio Tranquilo where we rented a cabaña (a little house). We wanted to see the "valey of glaciers" next day, but the weather didn't wanted us to see it; it was raining the whole day, so we had to wait for better weather to see something.
|Cerro Castillo and our little car|
Now, the plan is to do it the next day and head further south later.