Andes Lake Crossing Patagonia

Cruce Andino

Cruce Andino

Today was quite an experience, as I journeyed across the lake districts of Chile and Argentina. It started in Puerto Varas by bus, and we first made our way around Lago Llanquihue. On the way we passed through a National Park, the Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, which is on the Chilean side. Along this route we passed by a nice waterfall, framed elegantly by mountains in the background. Soon we got off the bus and boarded a catamaran, the first of three which would carry us through the lake district. The weather was beautiful, with clear blue skies and moderate temperatures. I think I was pretty lucky weather wise throughout this whole trip.

The catamaran first carried us across Lago todos los Santos, passing in between mountains on each side, both capped with white snow. On this lake is a little island called Peulla, where we stopped for lunch before continuing onward. This is right near the border with Argentina now, and is usually the stopping point for many trips, and which point they return to the Chilean side. But we were moving on into the Argentinian side, crossing through their own National Park on the border, the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. After the border crossing and clearing immigration, we then hopped on catamarans number two and three and sailed through Lago Frias and Lago Alegre. From the final stop we were back on a bus and off to Bariloche, Argentina.

Eating a huge beef at Tralquino

Eating a huge beef at Tralquino

From there it was yet one more bus ride to San Carlos de Bariloche a short distance outside, a small ski/tourist town, very much like many ski towns on the edge of mountains, reminding me greatly of some of the Swiss Alps towns I have visited. The slopes were closed, as it wasn’t the proper season, but I was here for another reason.

To my Hotel I now went, the Tres Reyes Hotel. This was a nice treat after the long journeying of the day. I don’t think I could’ve managed to cook a thing, and likely just would’ve collapsed on an empty stomach. Even better, it was pizza night, at least cold pizza night. Not sure if this is the way they eat it here, or if someone was just lazy, but it wasn’t bad, and I don’t mind cold pizza anyway. Like so often happens when staying in Hotel, I ran into some people from earlier in my trip, while in Santiago. The four of them had not mentioned they would be in this area, and we hadn’t exchanged itineraries, so this was a nice little surprise. They would be heading further south shortly, at which point our paths would again diverge.

Nahuel Huapi

Nahuel Huapi

The next day I spent a nice relaxing day with Yuna, lounging around the lake, exchanging stories and taking pictures, which I must say turned out really well. We also walked about the town a bit, and did some window shopping. My rule of thumb is never to buy anything on my travels other than essentials, at least until the end of the trip. The temptation to load up on great items would be too high, probably cutting the trip short tremendously. We did eat lunch in town though, and treated ourselves to chocolates as well.

I then returned to the hostel on my own and relaxed some more, contemplating whether to stay for dinner or go out on my own. I decided I’d go out and try some restaurants. I ended up hitting the Cocodrilo’s, which sounded like they might have steak, which was what I was in the mood for. They did indeed, and it was pretty decent, though the bread came with a beer cap in the basket, leading me to believe they recycled the break between tables if unused. Not a pleasant thought, and I left the bread alone.

The next day I was off for a scheduled tour, called the multi-trek. It’s not as bad as it might sound. It’s simply riding on a bus to different locations and taking short hikes from there to different scenic spots, ending at the Black Glacier. This glacier will be gone in a short time I was told, which sucks, it’s pretty amazing looking. At least I got some nice pictures of it which will last much longer.

Osorno Volcano

Osorno Volcano

The next day I was back to relaxing again, partly because the weather was much cooler and I didn’t feel like being out in it for long stretches. I did walk around town a bit, making it back just before it started raining. My plans to visit Mt. Campinario to witness the sunset would have to be cancelled, as I wasn’t that adventurous to head out in a freezing cold rain, and the clouds were likely to obscure everything anyways. I’ll have to save it for another visit to the area, which very well may happen someday.