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Puerto Varas and Cochamo Valley

COLOMBIA | Sunday, 15 March 2009 | Views [708] | Comments [2]

We landed in Puerto Montt late evening and headed directly towards Puerto Varas without stopping.  Everyone we’ve met that has been to Puerto Montt has advised us that it is a nasty town that is not worth staying in.  Puerto Varas is a beautiful little town in the “Lake district” of Chile.  We stayed in a nice little hotel called the “Guest House” just on the outskirts of town.  That following morning we were picked up for our next jaunt which began with kayaking.  We headed towards the Cochamo Valley and to the fjord there.  It is an area with lots of mussel and salmon farms off of the shores.  We kayaked about 20 kilometers upstream before putting in about 5 miles from our next destination.  The weather was perfect, sun and clouds all day with a slight breeze.  The valley is beautiful (see photos).  We managed not to get too wet so we were in pretty good shape for our arrival at Campo Adventura.   CA has two lodges, one is the Riverside lodge (sits next to the river) and the other is up in the rainforest.  The only way up is to either hike or go via horseback.  My big toes were now 3x their normal size from hiking and they weren’t going to improve in the next 12 hours.  We arrived at the Riverside lodge to hot tea and cakes…yum!  Had a nice afternoon of taking it easy with a short hop down to the water and back.   Dinner that night was a delicious eggplant dish with tomatoes…no meat…yeah!  The bed was comfy and a hot shower was available.  It is amazing that I have learned to appreciate the little things in life like a hot, clean shower and a comfy mattress.  The next morning we were up early had another decent breakfast and then were introduced to our horses.  Our guide was a Canadian gal named Kathleen.  She was wonderful, funny and very easy to get on with.  We left around 10 am and headed towards our next camp which was about 10 miles away via horseback straight up a mountain side through the Rainforest.  The first 3 miles was all dirt road so we were thinking that it was going to be a nice relaxing ride up hill.  We were following the “Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid” trail that has been around for more than 300 years.  It is still used by the locals to get to their homes up in the mountain.  You either have to walk or ride up it…no motor vehicles could possibly make it.  We hit the bottom of the jungle and realized immediately that our ride was not going to be an easy one.  The horses were absolutely amazing.  We literally climbed up boulders on horseback, they walked across water filled with huge river rocks that a hiker would have a hard time with and crossed muddy, water filled crevices that someone had put cut down trees on for footing.  Within the first few minutes of hitting this trail we could not imagine getting up alive.  We arrived, about 5 hours later, and really tired from the stress of it all, to a beautiful area that had fields with a few little houses in it.  No electricity, in the middle of nowhere.  We were again served tea and cakes, I needed them!  The family that lived there took care of all of our needs.  We ate so much I thought I would explode.  In the evening we played cards with our hosts and guide via candlelight.  It was great fun.  One day we went off into the jungle exploring and found a waterfall and lots of huge trees.  Vinnie spent the morning helping out the farmer cut and load wood for the winter.  The people that live in this area are self sustainable and really only need to buy flour in town.  We were able to talk in bits to the family that lived there but they only spoke Spanish (shocking I know) so we used our little bits and pieces we know.  Our guide had been working there for only 4 months and her Spanish was much better than ours but still a bit lacking.  That evening Kathleen and I walked to the neighbors place to see their new Refugio that they built last year.  It is great!  The place is mainly for rockclimbers and the views to the rocks they climb are spectacular.  We stayed two nights then made our way via horseback in the pouring down rain back down the trail.  By then we had enough faith in our horses to let them pick their own way down and it went much more smoothly than on the way up. 

We are now in Puerto Varas and are leaving tonight for Santiago, and then tomorrow we load up and get on the boat back to Florida.  We will do a little bit of posting from there.  We are both really looking forward to our next trip.  On April 24th we leave for Europe via boat and then will meet up with Bernie and Philip in Munich for two weeks.  Bernie will continue on with us through Romania then will head home himself.  We then fly to Scotland to meet up with Steve and Carol for the last leg of our trip!  It is all very exciting!




This sound like so much fun and you hooked up with great guides and hosts. Vinnie, wood processing seems to be your specialty....Fish Lake or Cochamo Valley and both working with the old man of the establishment, too. I can't wait to hear all of the "rest of the stories"! I know that Melanie is waiting anxiously for the next botany quiz...any chance of one before you depart....I will win, of course. Cheerio

  Stephen the Elder Mar 16, 2009 3:46 PM


Melanie was correct on the last--passion fruit, of course. Odds of another botany quiz are slim, we are back on a cruise ship headed north toward the Panama Canal. Working on the Scotland plan!

  Vinnie Mar 17, 2009 4:02 AM

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