As I write this, I am gloriously happy. I just experienced something I think very few people get to do, following in the footsteps of early explorers and adventurers.
The trip from Bariloche, Argentina to Puerto Varas, Chile has many stops and starts by bus and ferry, and it has the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the world. I learned that we would be travelling the Lake District basically traversing lakes, and then the land between them… without one body of water to take us the entire way.
On this occasion, I was also blessed with unbelievable and rare perfect conditions – no wind, clear blue sky, no clouds and no rain/snow. Our G Adventures Chief Experience Officer Kris was grinning from ear to ear all day taking as many pictures as the rest of us on the tour. The best day he has ever experienced in Patagonia, he said. Lucky me, I say!
The journey began with a short bus ride from Bariloche to Puerto Panuelo to get on our first ferry ride. The one hour journey already boasted clear blue water and was such fun! A fantastic start! The great part of this whole trip was that our bags magically made it from the start to finish without us ever having to touch them.
We arrived in Puerto Blest and then took a 10 minute bus ride through very dense forest to a pretty little spot called Lago Frias. The colour of the water was a beautiful green. All the water in these lakes are from glaciers and the colours vary based on the sediment from the surrounding rock (all volcanic at one time). The different minerals reflect light in a unique way to result in the unique colour of each lake.
After this lovely journey, we landed in Puerto Alegro for a quick stop at Argentian immigration (as we were leaving that country, and heading into Chile). We got back on a ferry and continued on to Peulla – the main stop for Chilean immigration. And, we passed the official border and a lovely little waterfall along the way.
The border crossing is an interesting experience. Chile has much to offer, much of it based on its unspoiled land. Cheese, nuts, fruits and vegetables are strictly forbidden here, and all bags are searched for this contraband. Many travellers had bags of nuts confiscated here (I figured I was warned so why and even try to bring that stuff in?).
After a quick lunch, we were back on a ferry for the most spectacular part of the journey. Chile has over 2,000 volcanoes, and we got to pass by two of the most famous and most beautiful. The colours of the day, and the majesty of those volcanoes truly took my breath away.Again, Kris told us how lucky we were… many travellers don’t get to see the peaks, or they suffer through cold and rain/snow.
The first volcano we spotted was the pointy Puntiagudo volcano, followed by the larger Osorno volcano. After taking a hundred pictures, at one point, the water became very still and glassy and I was so thrilled that the sunlight added to some wonderfully clear pictures!
I really can’t tell you how perfect the moment was, but it really was. We landed very close to the Osorno volcano at Petrohue, and took the one hour bus to our destination of Puerto Varas. It is near here that we also got a glimpse of the Calbuco volcano that erupted in April. You can still see steam rising from the volcano (it looks like two small clouds). We saw some of the volcanic dust still in the area, and learned that it wasn’t too damaging (but some roofs in particular could not handle the weight of the dust, depending on where people lived and how the wind blew the debris). Apparently, the wind was blowing towards Argentina, and a lot of the debris went there. Puerto Varas Chile was virtually untouched.
The Petrohue river is also spectacular, and we took a quick photo stop here.
When you arrive in Puerto Varas, you realize it is built around the Llanquihue river and you still have a wonderful view of the volcanoes. The light made for a gorgeous pink sunset!
I don’t know if my words and images can truly do this place justice. It is magic and I had a magical day I won’t ever forget.