A Guide, Transport,
National Park Fee,
Tea, Coffee & Cookies…
LOCATED BETWEEN THA ANDES AND THE PACIFIC, built with sand and rocks, constantly interrupted by fjords and rivers, the Carretera Austral is the last stage of the Panamerican Route, which goes from the far north until the big south, connecting Alaska with Patagonia. It is being said that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by these virgin territories which combined mountains, primary forests and ocean, in order to create the magic world of “Lord of the Rings”. Truth or not, one thing is for sure, we are traveling in mythical lands, filled with legends, among the wildest landscapes of the world.
The 12 hours of Road Trip an trekkings begin with the Pacific coast and its fishermen´s village from another era. We cross the immense Reloncavi Fjord, marine wildlife and volcanoes in sight.
Then we follow the Fjords, surrounded by the Selva Valdiviana, cut by rivers tumbling down from snowy summits. Live water, sometimes white, blue or green. Stopping for fresh supplies in the Puelo village, we join the Cochamo valley. The first trekking. We go back to Tolkien, we are in “the shire”. Little wooden houses, ancient countryside, we can breath the magic within the dense forest, almost disturbing, crossed by bubbly rivers. Far off are the steep cliffs of the Cochamo Valley. After one-hour walking, a break to eat at the water’s edge in the shade of millenary trees.
Cochamo Town is the first Patagonian settlement met by Carretera Austral. Known for its architecture, its wooden church, it rests in the side of the Fjord in front of Yate Volcano. Everything in this town invites you to stay, read a book, change of life ¿Why not? But there is a road to take, the one that leads to the heights of Volcano Osorno.
Second trekking. We walk on the slopes of the volcano, following canyons, by-passing the small craters, playing with the summit and its eternal glacier. It is the kingdom of the Condor, from where you can see the unlimitedness of the Llanquihue Lake, the Andes, the Patagonian valleys, and the Pacific. Awesome! On the way back to the refuge, there is the most beautiful of sunsets between volcanoes and Ocean.
An ideal journey for travelers that cannot adventure on the southern routes because of time. It is the introduction to an extraordinary tale of Bruce Chatwin (1) ou Francisco Coloane (2), the first a brilliant writer and voyager, the second a “gaucho” skillfull with both, the lasso and the pen.
(1) In Patagonia, Jonathan Cape edition, London, 1977
(2) Tierra del Fuego, Editorial del Pacífico, Santiago, 1956