Like Nowhere Else on Earth ~ Atacama Desert, Chile

22 April – 26 April, 2018

The Atacama wasn’t on our agenda. We had lived in a desert environment for over 25 years and I have not so fond memories of symptoms I’ve experienced at higher altitudes, so we filled our South American itinerary with other adventures. I did have some wildlife ‘must-sees’, however, and as we approached the middle of April, I had yet to see flamingos in the wild, except from afar. I couldn’t fathom returning home if there was still a chance to see them, and since we were ahead of schedule, thanks to the wild Patagonia weather, I looked to Terry and said, “I want to go north to the Atacama” and, without further discussion, he agreed.

First, a few facts about the Atacama, one of the oldest deserts in the world:

Photo courtesy of Google maps.
  • It covers a 1,000 kilometer (621 miles) strip of land near the Pacific coast, west of the Andes, primarily in Chile.
  • It is the driest, non-polar place in the world, according to NASA, barely registering more than one millimeter of annual rainfall, although that has begun to change. It is 50 times drier than Death Valley National Park.
  • The extreme dryness is due to two mountain chains, the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, each tall enough to prevent moisture from reaching the desert floor. Many of the region’s mountains taller than 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) are completely free of glaciers.
  • Some of the weather stations in the Atacama have never registered any rainfall!
  • Every 10-15 years a rare phenomenon called desierto florito, when the desert bursts into prolific bloom, is a result of the El Niño effect. Rainfall is such a rare event that knowledge of some of the flora is relatively unknown. This is now happening more often due to an increase in annual rainfall.

So, why come to such a desolate region? I was drawn by the compelling brazenness of wind and relentless sun to sculpt a landscape like no other, and of course, the allure of wild flamingos was never far from my mind.

San Pedro de Atacama is the place to position yourself if you want to experience this otherworldly landscape. Tourism has a foothold in this small town of 2,500 residents, as evidenced by the tour companies advertising on every block. Although San Pedro’s population continues to expand, only two pharmacies exist, a telling sign that the local indigenous community still uses medicine found in nature to heal, a concept that resonates with me.

After settling into our hostel, we walked down the main street, Caracoles, to find CosmoAndino Expediciones, the tour company I had chosen after much reading. The detail they provided and the warmth of their staff told me I had made the right decision. After settling up with them, we walked down to the town square where music and dancing could be heard. What a wonderful way to begin our San Pedro stay!

At 6:30 the next morning the van picked me up to begin the ‘Salar y Lagunas’ tour. Terry had decided to stay back and piece together a new route to get us back home after learning that our flight had been canceled because of an airline strike. I was bummed but he insisted, which was probably for the best, as it took him most of the day to piece together a new flight plan.

This tour (I believe a must-see) begins with a stop within the National Reserve “Los Flamencos”, at Laguna Chaxa, the salt flats where migrating birds can be found, most notably pink flamingos. Although not as expansive as the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, I knew I was going to get my flamingo fix! We arrived before any of the other tour companies, which is one of the reasons to use CosmoAndino. The solitude allowed for viewing and taking photos before the crowds arrived, and before the birds took flight.

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Three species of flamingos migrate to Laguna Chaxa – James, Chilean, and Andean, although the James are only seen here in the winter. The Andean, one of the rarest flamingos in the world, are larger than the Chilean, have yellow legs, and a large black swath on their wings. The Chilean have bright pink knees and feet, and eat by digging in the mud while turning in circles. The Andean flamingo also dig in the mud for food but walk in a straight line…interesting.

Flamingos mate for life, laying one egg per year during December and January, in cone-shaped nests they build in the mud. Babies are white-gray, then turn pink after they begin eating brine shrimp, which are prevalent in the salt flats. They live 30-40 years and have few predators.

The Puna plover and Andean avocet, who also love saltwater marshes, can be found at Laguna Chaxa.

Andean avocet

These salt flats, created by water that flowed from the Andes, were the site and much of the cause of the War of the Pacific, also called the Saltpeter War. The result was that Chile obtained most of this valuable, mineral-rich territory that was desired by both Bolivia and Peru.

Beneath this salt (the largest deposit in all of Chile), lies a massive salt lake, and beneath this huge lake lies 27% of the world’s lithium reserves, the purest active source of lithium available. As lithium is the key ingredient in rechargeable batteries, it is a much coveted resource. Our tour guide, Pablo, told us it is a delicate balance to remove lithium and not disrupt the salt flats and the wildlife that is drawn to them.

To learn more about lithium mining, two interesting articles can be found here and here.

After spending time with the flamingos, we were served a yummy breakfast of fresh fruits, guacamole, ham, and cheeses. Coffee, hot chocolate, and tea helped to take off the chill, and coca leaf tea was available for those of us challenged by high altitude. As we would be spending 4-5 hours of our day at elevations in excess of 13,000 feet, I was thankful for the tea. This, along with staying hydrated, provided me a symptom-free day. 🙂

After leaving the salt flats, we stopped at the small village of Socaire, where we visited an 18th-century church and enjoyed seeing some of the creations made by local artisans before continuing our ascent to the highlands.

We stopped at various viewpoints and saw the smallest and rarest of the camelids, the shy vicuña, from our van window. They prefer higher elevations and are found mostly in northern Chile. Its wool has been prized since Inca times.

Our final stop of the day was to Lakes Miscanti and Miñiques, named after their namesake volcanos. These lakes formed about 1,000 years ago when the eruption of the Miñiques Volcano, 5,910 meters above sea level, blocked the waters that once flowed freely in front of these volcanos. Due to geomorphological changes in the area, natural dams were created, resulting in the lakes we see today.

Lake Miscanti, ringed by volcanos.

A great lunch was served before we headed back to San Pedro, wrapping up a fabulous day.

Over our 5-day stay in San Pedro we took three tours, two with CosmoAndino Expediciones. I cannot say enough about the quality of this tour, our tour guide Pablo, and the professionalism of this company.

Next Up: Valley of the Moon and the night sky.

Lo Siento Salta

18 April – 21 April, 2018

Not all travel destinations feel the same, some resonating more than others, whether in your home country or abroad. Some destinations will surprise us, with treasures found beyond tripadvisor reviews, while others, even after all our research, will fall short of the mark.

“Lo siento, Salta, ¡no estamos tan interesados ​​en ti!”

Sorry Salta, we’re just not that into you!

Looking back, I’m not sure what we were expecting from Salta, the stop before our final Chilean destination, but it just didn’t do it for us. Perhaps it was because Salta came on the heels of Mendoza, a city that captivated us.

Salta, relatively the same size as Mendoza, has been described as the most visited colonial city by tourists in northwest Argentina. As we sped away from the bus station in our taxi, it looked nothing like the lovely city we had just left, feeling more like a tired, worn sister to Mendoza. Gone were the lovely storefronts and cobbled walks, replaced with crumbling facades, peeling paint, and trash in the gutters. Many streets were blocked off, causing our cabbie some anxiety, which he expressed from his open window, to anyone who would listen. The city was noisy, dirty, crowded, chaotic, and everyone around me seemed to smoke, none of which was a positive start to our visit. Ironically, we had the best hotel stay of our entire trip here and the best view of the city from our 7th-floor room.

Best view of Salta from our hotel window.

And in fairness, we discovered many more attractive neighborhoods once away from the bus station.

Each day we walked the city streets, looking to feel something more, something that would grab us and draw us in. One little gem, food-related of course, was discovered at La Tacita restaurant, where the most delicious empanadas and humitas (think tamales) can be found, along with the most engaging owner, Porfidio. His little family restaurant and tasty creations raised the likeability meter of Salta for us. We also discovered a lovely vegan restaurant, Chirimoya.

Salta is an interesting juxtaposition, with shop owners washing down walls and sidewalks in front of their businesses alongside people tossing wrappers and cigarette butts into the streets and little tikes dropping their britches and peeing into the gutters. No one seemed to bat an eye, except me, whose eyes were a bit bugged-out before our stay ended.

Not all was a loss however, as our lack of interest in exploring more of the city allowed me to play catch-up on processing photos and gave us time to research and book tours for our next stop.

We left Salta via a double-decker bus, this time with front-row seats on the upper level. No more overnight rides (yay), just interesting scenery to entertain us. The landscape slowly changed from lush green to high desert, with saguaro-like cacti dotting the hillsides.

The road seemed to fold in on itself many times as we slowly crept up the mountain, traveling from ~ 4,200 feet up to 13,430 feet (4,170 meters). The effects of altitude greeted many of us as we stepped off the bus at Chilean immigration. We crept further up the mountain before we made our final descent, topping off at 15,820 feet. All I kept thinking was “I’ve got to find me some coca leaves”.

Next Up: Our final destination (and one of our most spellbinding) – San Pedro de Atacama

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A European Vibe ~ Mendoza, Argentina

12 April – 16 April, 2018

After six weeks, and with Malbec on our minds, we were ready to trade the wild Patagonia winds for a warmer climate. To make this change all the more enticing, a mixture of rain and snow was falling as we said adios to Bariloche. We loved our time there, but we were ready to soak up some rays in Mendoza. Perhaps the only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was another long bus ride, this time leaving at 1:00 pm and arriving the next morning at 9:00 am. The scenery of snow-capped mountains and the ever-changing hues of the Limay River made the trip palatable.

The hotel we booked, Hotel Raices Aconcagua, is a lovely hotel in the heart of Mendoza. Plaza Independencia, which the city is centered around, is nearby, with four small plazas located two blocks off each of its corners. Something unique to Mendoza is the exposed stone trenches that run alongside many streets, irrigating the graceful trees lining the sidewalks. I can only imagine there have been a few injuries from people tumbling into those trenches in the darkness of night.

Walking around Mendoza, feeling the glorious warmth, we were reminded of a European city, particularly the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, with paved pedestrian walkways and beautiful boutique storefronts, although Mendoza is a much younger city than Rome. Having suffered a devastating earthquake in 1861 that claimed over 5,000 lives, it hasn’t been that long ago that Mendoza was rebuilt, this time with wider streets and sidewalks, large green spaces, and urban designs that better tolerate seismic activity.

Although we knew that there was much more to be seen in Mendoza than through the bottom of a wineglass, we decided that our first tour would be a winery/biking adventure. As Mendoza is considered one of the “Great Wine Capitals” in the world, we were anxious to taste some of the wines for which she is famous.

There were many options to consider when biking out to the wineries, but in the end we opted for a self-guided bike tour, wanting the flexibility. We took the local bus out to the small town of Maipu, then went to Maipu Bike Company, recommended to us. They provided a map of the wineries, recommendations and cost of tastings, and booked a guided tour/tasting at one of the more popular wineries. We were also invited back later in the day for happy hour. Not sure this lightweight would need more wine but we kept that open as an option.

The bikes, although a bit dated, were functional, and we were given helmets. The only challenging section of road was after we left the safety of the designated bike path, which dwindled to a narrow road that had to be traversed with the motorized traffic. We made the decision to vacate the pavement when traffic started to crowd the roadway, as I had read a tripadvisor review the night before that was a bit scary. When traffic subsided, we pedaled to our next stop and arrived at each of our destinations safely.

Our first stop was Tempus Alba Winery, where we did a self-guided tour and finished with a relaxing wine tasting. We were pleased to have the patio to ourselves, overlooking the vineyard, a wonderful way to start our day. And we walked out with a bottle of their Malbec for another day.

Mevi Winery was our second stop, a boutique winery, where we did a tasting and enjoyed lunch on their patio.

Entre Olivos was our stop for olive oil tastings, condiments, and liquors. We brought home a jar of stone-ground mustard with Chardonnay…very tasty.

Trapiche, one of the largest and most popular wineries, was our final stop of the day. We did a guided tour, accompanied by several tastings, all very good. We took an alternate route back to Maipu Bikes, with much less traffic, and found that yes, we did want to participate in a quick happy hour next door.

Very rudimentary but it works for a happy hour, and the homemade wine was pretty good too!

This was a great way to see some of the wineries at our own pace.

I had read about an Andes Photo Safari tour that would get us into the mountains, give us some history of Mendoza, and almost guarantee us some wildlife viewing. It seemed like a wonderful way to get away from the city and give us a healthy dose of nature. Timothée, our tour guide, picked us up at our hotel, where we learned that we would have a private tour…yes!

Our day started in the protected Reserva Natural Villavicencio, where I was assured that I would see guanacos, a member of the camelid family, native to South America. To date I had only seen them from afar, so I was counting on Timothée, and he delivered guanacos, as well as rhea, a distant relative to the ostrich, seen from a distance, while condors circled far overhead.

A South American gray fox graced us with his presence, walking up to the truck. Timothée wouldn’t allow us to get out as this little guy had most likely been habituated to humans and was looking for food. I had to practically get in Timothée’s lap to get the shot, as the fox was on his side of the truck.

Views of the Andes and Aconcagua, the highest peak outside of Asia, could be seen throughout the day. Standing at ~7000 meters (22,837 feet), it is the tallest peak in the Southern Hemisphere and sits completely within Argentina, 70 miles from Mendoza.

We continued climbing to Paramillos, up to 10,300 feet on the 365 Curves, also called Route of the Year, or Caracoles De Villavicencio. At Paramillos we stopped to visit the old Jesuit mining settlement and the ancient colonial road, built in the 16th-century, which led through the mountains to Chile. It was the only road available at the time for José de San Martín, one of Argentina and Peru’s primary liberators from the Spanish Empire.

After a brief history lesson we headed to Cerro 7 Colores and hiked around the colorful hills, whose colors were enhanced by various minerals in the soil.

Lunch was an authentic kid goat barbecue at Parrillada El Rancho Restaurant in Uspallata. We had not seen so much meat, and so many varieties in one sitting, brought to our table on a cast-iron grill, kept warm throughout the meal. A nice bottle of Malbec appeared, compliments of our tour guide, whose wife works at one of the Uco Valley wineries. Without the meat we would have had a full meal, with empanadas, salad and appetizers. I wonder if the locals eat this much at every meal.

This is a great tour for anyone wanting to experience the beautiful mountains surrounding Mendoza.

General San Martín Park was on our agenda for the following day, to work off some of the calories we had consumed. It is a 970-acre park within the city, giving us plenty of space to stretch our legs.

Terraza Jardin Mirador, a rooftop garden at the Mendoza City Hall, was to be our last activity in Mendoza. Not expecting too much but hoping for some exercise and a few city views, we were both  pleasantly surprised.

With one last overnight bus trip to look forward to (ugh), we turned our sights to Salta. Although the bus system throughout Argentina and Chile has been top-notch, I may not want to get on another bus for a long time after this adventure!

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Chocolates, Microbrews & Heart-stirring Landscape ~ San Carlos de Bariloche

5 April – 10 April, 2018

Another travel day, another bus ride, the best way to be transported from one beautiful landscape to another in Patagonia. Once again we would find ourselves crossing from Chile to Argentina, adding another stamp to our well-used passports.

The double-decker bus that took us over the Andes, then got grounded at Argentina border control.

As we crossed the Andes, the weather changed from brilliant blue skies to a wintry wonderland but as we dropped back down towards Argentina the blue skies returned. Upon arriving at the border control point, we found ourselves sitting in a closed bus, with no explanation about why we weren’t heading into the immigration office. After a lengthy time we learned that the power was off in the office. Our choices: (a) wait for an oil tanker to fill their empty generator or (b) determine the protocol for clearing people through immigration manually. Since no oil tanker appeared to be coming, someone decided after a two-hour wait that we didn’t look like hardened criminals transporting drugs. They ignored our bags, stamped our passports, and we were on our way.

Autumn has arrived in Bariloche!

As we got closer to our destination, the sun came out and big billowy clouds hung low over the deep azure lakes we passed, an inviting scene.  But when we stepped off the bus in Bariloche, it felt like winter had arrived, as temps had dipped into the 30’s…brrrr! Cooler temps would be in the forecast our entire visit, although we did have many sunny days.

Our taxi driver deposited us at Hotel Milan, where Pablo, an engaging staff member, directed me to a pharmacy, as I realized I wasn’t going to shake this sinus ‘thing’ on my own. I gave my symptoms to the pharmacist (no doctor visit required) and was given throat lozenges and antibiotics, the latter which I abhor, but I reluctantly admitted I needed in order to kick this thing.

Since it was late in the day we decided to settle into our room and relax. I was now beginning to sound like the barking sea lions I had photographed on Isla Marta earlier in our trip and Terry worried that my refusal to lay low would result in my first-hand knowledge of a Bariloche medical clinic. He said it was either that or he might have to go searching for a priest who could perform an exorcism, as he had never heard, in all our years together, anything like the sound coming out of me. 🤪

It’s hard to keep a good woman down (haha), so the next day I was ready to learn why so many tourists were drawn to this lakeside city. I had read that Bariloche is known for its decadent chocolates and its microbreweries and I intended to take full advantage of both, certain I would need both to heal. 😉

San Carlos de Bariloche, better known as Bariloche, lies in the foothills of the Andes, on the southeastern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, located within the park of the same name, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina’s first. Bariloche, in the indigenous Mapuche language, means “people from behind the mountain”.

During much of the 19th-century, this area had a stronger connection to Chile than Argentina. It was the work of Francisco Moreno, aka Perito Moreno, a prominent explorer and academic, along with the military campaign “Conquest of the Desert”, to claim Bariloche for Argentina. This campaign’s intent was to show Argentine dominance over Patagonia, which was then inhabited by indigenous peoples. In the 1881 border treaty between Chile and Argentina, the indigenous Nahuel Huapi decided to be recognized as an Argentine province.

If Patagonia were to ever become independent, San Carlos de Bariloche could be its logical capital, as it is the Lake District’s largest city, and the gateway city to Nahuel Huapi National Park, the Mapuche name meaning “tiger island”.

Alpine-styled Bariloche has grown from a cattle-trading center to an international tourist destination, with skiing in the winter and sun-bathing in the summer, which has boosted its population considerably, to 122,700 present-day.

In the 1990’s Bariloche made a name for itself when international headlines broadcast that this thriving tourist city was a “haven for Nazi war criminals, such as the former protection squadron SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Priebke and SS Officer Reinhard Kopps, known in Argentina as Juan Maler.” Priebke had been the director of the German School of Bariloche for many years. Fortunately for Bariloche, these headlines have not seemed to diminish their tourist trade.

For us, the only way to see the Nahuel Huapi and Lanín National Parks was by rental car, which we did during a day trek. We had read about the Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Route of the Seven Lakes) so decided this would be a good way to experience the parks and see some of the lovely towns along the way.

Both Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Parks encompass arid steppe, alpine forests, and volcanic summits, with deep-blue finger lakes dotting the landscape. Nahuel Huapi connects Chile and Argentina via a series of scenic roads and waterways and Monte Tronador, a gigantic dormant volcano, straddles both nations.

Villa La Angostura, a small town lying on the north shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi, begins the route, a lovely setting with many restaurants and upscale boutique shops. San Martín de Los Andes, 260 km from Bariloche, was our final destination. Barely a century old, it has become one of the Lake District’s most fashionable resorts.

Taking the local bus to the edge of the city is a wonderful way to see Cerro Companario and hike in the Llao Llao Municipal Park, provided you have the patience to get the Sube bus card. You can ask and you will be told where to purchase said card, but don’t expect to find it the first few places you are told to go, and then you have to find out which store will load money onto your card, which of course is not the same place you purchased it, silly you. But persevere, (and don’t tell any of the locals where they can go) and you will be rewarded with some beautiful scenery.

Lago Moreno in Llao Llao Municipal Park

We have always felt that, along with the scenery, the locals you meet during your travels leave the greatest impression, and Bariloche was no exception. The person who stood out for us was Pablo, the man behind the desk at Hotel Milan, who also works as a private English-speaking tutor for Bariloche professionals.

Me and Pablo, our unexpected Spanish teacher. 🙂

Not only was he warm and welcoming, he provided me direction to the pharmacy I needed, and gave us our daily Spanish lesson, including some of the local slang. We looked forward to seeing his smiling face daily, and he kept us on our toes. Since I believe he will be reading this blog post, to Pablo we say: “Comó te va? Muchas gracias por su amabilidad. No serás olvidado.”

International travel would not be complete without experiencing local food and drink, and that meant chocolates and microbreweries. Although we didn’t try more than one chocolate shop, RapaNui rose to the top of our list after popping into a few stores. Not only is their chocolate list extensive, they also have an amazing ice cream shop, a café, and an ice-skating rink under their roof.  As for the breweries, our choice was based somewhat on hours of operation, but after we had gone to Manush and Bachmann, we went no further, their beer and food was that good.  La Familia Weiss, a local restaurant recommendation, was also a stand-out for us.

Bariloche was on our travel radar before we started our Patagonian adventure, thanks to our friend Josh from Yellowstone National Park. We would not have wanted to miss this magical city.

Next Up: Toasting Mendoza and her fine wineries

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Puerto Varas ~ Land of Lakes and Volcanoes

30 March – 4 April, 2018

Although our time in Chaiten was mostly rainy, it may have been a  blessing, as I had fought off what I thought was a sinus infection for days, and although I didn’t feel bad, I knew my body would respond better with a little rest. That can be challenging to do on this type of trip, as Mother Nature and her moods tend to dictate when you do your exploring.

Travel day arrived and the sun made a rare appearance. This was to be a long travel day, three ferry rides and stretches of bus excursions that took us around and across many of the lakes dotting this area. When we saw the extent of the road construction during this phase of our journey, we were thankful we didn’t rent a car. The trench right outside my bus window was so wide and deep, one false move and it would have swallowed our bus whole. However, the scenery on the water was captivating and relaxing, and there was no holding onto the rail for dear life in fear of being blown off the deck. 🙂

Although our final destination was Puerto Varas, the bus station is in nearby Puerto Montt and this is where we spent the night, right next to the station at the Ibis Hotel. The next morning, we hopped into a taxi for a ride to the airport, where we rented a car for our stay in Puerto Varas.

Puerto Varas, dubbed the “City of Roses”, is a lively city of 38,000, in the Chilean Lakes District. It sits on the southwestern shore of Lake Llanquihue and holds commanding views of Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes, both still considered active.  It is also the gateway to Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales.

View from our bedroom window at Hotel Solace.

German colonial architecture has made Puerto Varas one of the most beautiful cities in southern Chile. We enjoyed walks along the lake and discovered during one of our wanderings a larger than life metal sculpture of a woman with outstretched arms, as if paying homage to the majestic, snow-capped volcanoes.

This is also the city where we finally found some restaurants that featured salads instead of the typical “heavy on the meat and cheese” dishes. It was a delightful change. La Gringa was one of our favorite places for lunch, feeling more like a Pacific Northwest café (including the rainy day) than anything else.

As I am slightly obsessed with national parks we decided to take a ride to Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, Chile’s first national park, and where we knew we would find some picturesque falls, the Saltos del Petrohué. This isn’t your typical waterfall, instead more a chute of crashing whitewater, a relentless pummeling cascade over basalt columns, polished shiny and smooth by volcanic runoff. It is also where some of the best views of Osorno Volcano, can be found. Although it hasn’t erupted since the mid-19thcentury, it still has some active fumaroles.

 A drive around Lake Llanquihue was also recommended, promising interesting little towns along the way –  Llanquihue, Frutillar, and Villa Ensanada.

On the southeastern shore of Lake Llanquihue, Llanquihue also has a noted German influence and celebrates “Bierfest” each January. One of the town’s main attractions are the many wooden sculptures sprinkled around town, created by both national and international artists.

Frutillar sits on the western shore of Lake Llanquihue and is well-known for its German architecture, its landscape, and beautiful gardens. The main attraction is Teatro del Lago (Lake Theater) and the annual summer music festival, “Semanas Musicales”, when several worldwide philharmonic and symphonic orchestras come together. Frutillar also boasts the best cake shops in the whole nation.

Villa Ensanada is a small, peaceful village on the southwest shore of the lake, where, on a clear day, you can see splendid views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. It is also a hotspot for outdoor activities. We had a clear day!!!

I had seen photos of the “palafitos” on Chiloé Island, colorful fishermen bungalows balanced on stilts, in the city of Castro, so this was the destination for our final day of touring. Many of these palafitos have been converted to cafes, hostels, and boutique shops.

Chiloé, which means “seagull’s place” in Mapuche, the indigenous language, is where Magellanic and Humboldt penguins cohabit, the only place where this occurs. Since we had already taken two tours to penguin colonies, we didn’t feel we were missing out by not taking this tour.

Castro, the largest city on the island, is also where two of the four UNESCO World Heritage Site wooden churches can be found.

Puerto Varas was where we were on Easter Sunday. Both Terry and I remarked that this most holy of days was not celebrated in the reverent manner we had seen when we lived in Mexico and how we had read it is celebrated in Spain. It seemed to be just another day in the life of Chileans, which we found a bit odd.

Our time in Puerto Varas had come to an end. Although not one of the more physically active pieces of our journey, it was a lovely stop that I would highly recommend if you find yourself in Patagonia.

Next Up: Back to Argentina

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