A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Brett SA

Pucon

More Volcanoes

sunny 27 °C
View South America 2008 on Brett SA's travel map.

Hi, so i'm now in Pucon, which is a really nice village in the heart of the Chilean Lake District. I have been here for three days after a couple of days at Puerto Varras and Valdiva. This is my favourite place in the Lakes, as per usual its stunning, with Villarica Volcano dominating evertything, and the town itself is very nice. The first day we climbed the volcano (2,870 meters), we had a perfect day and the view from the top was spectacular. Yesterday we went for a bike ride to another lake, again it was beautiful with view of several volcanos along the way. The Chilean Lake District was colonised by the Germans, so its got a lot of good chocolate, beer and really nice architecture (when it hasn't been destroyed by earthquakes). As Pucon is at the base of the most active volcano in Chile, everything is prepared for an eruption. A number of times a day, sirens go off. One siren means its 12pm, 2 means its a fire, and if its 3, its an eruption - you get quiet nervous when its two. In case of an eruption they have signs telling people where to go in order to avoid the lava flow. I've met some great people, a few americans and the girls that work at the hostel are really nice and easy-going.

So far the trip has been fantastic. I struggled at the beginning to keep to budget, i'm so used to eating and living pretty well that its hard to cut down, I would eat out all the time and not really think about spending money. Also Southern Patagonia is very expensive, now the Lake District is a little cheaper, I just bought a ticket all the way to Santiago (8 hours in good seats) for $20 - amazing. Travelling alone hasn't been a problem, I find that the easiest way of meeting people is in the refuges, so it is very important to pick the right one. Anyay, tonight i'm off to Santiago, so i'll wirte soon.

Brett

Posted by Brett SA 07:02 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Puerto Varras

Chilean Lake District

sunny 28 °C
View South America 2008 on Brett SA's travel map.

Sorry for the 2 weeks since my last blog, i'm now in Puerto Varras, which is a nice little down, at the Southern Edge of the Chilean Lake District, with 2 pretty big volcanies just across the lake from the town.

Since I last wrote i´ve been pretty busy. To start off with I went to El Calafate where they have the last forward-moving Glacier in Argentinian Patagonia, you can see some photos on this blog. The glacier was enourmous, and you can tell its forward moving as it actually dams a river. After this I went up to El Chalten and did some hiking in the Fitz-Roy Mountains with a couple of Welsh guys. Basically the mountains are as stunning as the Torres del Paine, however tourism hasn´t yet built up as much, the refuges are more affordable, and there are less people on the trail. The town of El Chalten will grow very quickly, for the moment it sort of feels a little sleepy (I can imagine the frontier towns in the Wild West would have been like this). This shows a general trend in the differences between Chile and Argentina, the latter being considerably cheaper. I also got to do a days horse-riding, which was fantastic, the first time i've ever galloped on a horse.

A very funny thing happened coming back from El Calafate, we stopped off for a coffee, and there as a guyacano (similar to a Llama), a cow and a few other animals just strolling about outside and even inside the cafe!

After this I took a 3 day ferry ride from to Puerto Mont, it was basically a fairly chilled time, relaxing and allowing my leg to recover a little.

Still I met a few nice people, one of which was an Australian guy, we decided to rent a car and do a tour of Chiloe Island, which is the second largest Island in South America after Terro del Fuego. It is a stunning Island, with hundreds of Jesuit churches made entirely from wood, and rolling hills not so different to England. The Island is very different to main-land Chile, the people are very freindly (they are not so used to tourists), they have many myths including trolls that seduce beautiful women and mermaids that predict the days fishing, they also have a strange system for numbering houses - basically numbers are chosen at will, so walking along a street you will go from number 142 to 194 to 102, very confusing! Still, its a stunning island and I would really recommend it.

Some observations so far, both countries have an incredible infrastucture for tourism, the hostels are always clean and the buses on-time and plentiful. The people are friendly, the countyside is stunning and the culture rich. You do see poverty, but its not as obvious as I have seen in other South American countries.

So now, i'm getting ready to head up the Lake District, the weather is stunning and the number of tourists had dropped as its now off-season. I hope people are reading this, send me an email to let me know how you are!

Posted by Brett SA 20:47 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Torres del Paine

Knee-knack!

storm 15 °C

So, i'm currently in Puerto Natales after 4 days hiking in Torres del Paine, I had a great time. The views and the vistas amazing, the weather very very changable, one moment the sun is shining, the next moment the rain is falling. I experienced some of the strongest winds I ever have, at one point we were sitting by the lake and we got soaked from a gush we saw coming in, another we were hiking obove a cliff and had to sit down to stop uys getting blow right off. I suppose its normal given the location, close to the Pacific and not that far from the Atlantic and Antarctica! Its pretty hard to know what to wear, but you get used to being too hot one moment and too cold the next. Some of the camp-grounds are amazing, you literally wake up with the Torres just in front of you.

We saw some very cool stuff; a glacier the size of Litchenstien (according to a guy from there travelling with me that day), mini twisters on the lake itself (honestly), free-roaming horses, and of course the torres, three massive granite summits that can be climbed in 12 hours, and then can be descended in 12 hours. I hiked with some very nice people from all nations, Argentines, Russians, English, Americans, Australians. For me the biggest problem, is the number of tourists, and the prices, but then this is the price you pay for such views, I hope to head off to a location a little less touristy soon.

In ters of animals, on the way we saw a black and white dolphin, apart from that lots of Llama-like animals and a number of vultures.

Anyway, will blog again soon,
Brett

Posted by Brett SA 09:46 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Torres del Paine

After my first week in South America

overcast 18 °C
View South America 2008 on Brett SA's travel map.

Well, after one week in SA and im just about to write my first blog. Ive had a great week, Ushuai was stunning, the flight in spectacular, Ushuai is a lovely little town overlooking the Beagle Channel (yes the same Beagle that Charles Darwin took) to the South, and surrounded by mountains on the other sides. The hostel was great andf I met a nice group of people for a couple of nights out. The highlight was the trip on the channel, we saw penguis, Albatross, Sealions and seals, as well as the mountains everywhere - stunning!

After that I took the trip down to Punto Arenas, 12 hours of nothingness, it really is incredible to see that people do actually live in these massive Patagonian steps, now im in Puerton Natales, and in a few hours the trip to Torres del PAine National PArk for 5 days hiking, its going to be frustrating not being able to climb there, but its probably out of my depth!

I cant really say ive had a cultural experience so far, as its very easy to meet foreigners, however so far the people have been very kind, the hostels clean and the bus services clean and effecient. However by far the best thing about Patagonia is the views and the emptiness.

Will post again soon,
Brett

Posted by Brett SA 07:05 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Welcome to Bretts Travel Blog

3 weeks to go..

Hi, on the 13th February I fly from Madrid to Patagonia. From there i'll start a 6 month trip that will take me up from Ushuai, the most southern-based city in the world all the way through the Chilean lake district to Santiago, to Buenos Aires, Montevideo, the Iguacu falls, the Pantanal, Uyini, LaPaz, Macchu Pichu, Lima and hopefully finally to the Galapagos islands.

I'll try my best to write an acocunt of my trip as I travel.
Brett

Posted by Brett SA 12:14 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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