And again, we started in Patagonia; already for the fourth time! We had nine weeks in total of which we spent half in Patagonia, both the Chilean and Argentinian part. The other half we spent in the Lake District of Chile which has many lakes and volcanoes.
This road runs from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins. The part between Villa Cerro Castillo and Villa O’Higgins is unpaved and the most interesting. It is good to have a 4WD for that! We also saw many bikers and we admired them for their stamina and wondered how many flat tires they would have on this trip. We visited again the remote Villa O’Higgins, after having been there 13 years ago: it had expanded quite a lot!
Carretera Austral between Cochrane and Villa O’Higgins
In February/March 2015, we made a trip to Patagonia together with our friends Danny and Désirée. The two of us had been there before and wanted to show our friends this beautiful country and visit some nice places again. Patagonia has just one drawback: it is far away. It took us two days of traveling from Utrecht to El Chaltén; the start of our journey. But it is worth the hassle!
Having been to Chile two times before, the far north was still a partly unknown area and one that was subject of many dreamlike fantasies. Especially the high country (Altiplano) was something to discover. In September/October 2007, together with our friend Renger, we flew to Santiago de Chile and rented a car for five weeks from trekker-chile (www.trekkerchile.cl). We met the owners of trekker-chile during our stay two years earlier in their hostal near Talca. It was a nice and robust four-wheel drive, and hasn’t disappointed us during the whole trip. All in all, we drove around 5600 km in both Chile and Argentina, mostly on dirt-roads. A fantastic experience!
Driving north on the Ruta 5 through the Atacama Desert
We started our three-months journey in Buenos Aires. After getting acquainted with Argentina, we flew to Ushuaia. It is a good idea to plan this flight in advance, because it was fully booked. Ushuaia calls itself the Capital of Antarctica but Puerto Williams on Isla Navarino claims the same. Is this the first token of the rivalry between Chile and Argentina (examples of which we will encounter frequently)? Ushuaia is getting popular, with lots of tourist. Nevertheless, going to the National Park Tierra del Fuego is a good experience with nice hiking. We encountered there the rare Magelhanean woodpecker.
View on the Dientes mountain range
After some days in Ushuaia we made the semi-legal boat trip to Puerto Navarino, a small navy basis on Isla Navarino. A small bus took us to Puerto Williams, where we started our hike to the Dientes Mountain Range after having eaten a home-made pie in the local restaurant. The trail into the mountains was very wet, and after a day ploughing through the mud, we tried for two hours to find a spot to camp. We put up our tent and fell asleep. In the middle of the night it started snowing. This meant that the following day, the trail was even more muddy! We decided to go back, since there was no way to cross the rivers and go across high passes with the snow. Back in Puerto Williams we met with other people sharing the same experience; they also went back earlier. After having spent a few days in Puerto Williams, enjoying the cooking of grandma in the local restaurant, we went back to Ushuaia. We had to wait there a few days for the next bus to El Chalten, and we spent the time by making short (hiking) trips in the neighborhood. Continue Reading…