Pachamama By Bus, the Lake District route

From La Paz we flew to Santiago to start our Pachamama by Bus tour of the Lake District. The route would take us down to Puerto Montt and back up again. We chose to use this company- which we found through STA- so that firstly, we wouldn’t have to worry about navigating around a foreign public bus route in a language we can’t speak and secondly, we’d have a native around to help show us where to go and what to do etc.

Typically, we were running late to meet the bus! (Since we were staying out of the main centre, we had to meet them otherwise they’d normally pick you up). Luckily Chilean bus times are far more forgiving than Argentinian so we still made it on time. We were taken a bit aback at the bus- a beat up white minivan- and the lack of information provided by the tour guide and driver but we’d already paid for it so we pressed on. There were only 4 of us travelling that day so at least we had plenty of space to spread out!

We left Santiago in the morning and arrived at our first stop, Pichilemu, a beach town famous for it’s surfing, in the afternoon. Here we ate some giant deep fried empanadas and took a brief stroll on the black sandy beach (brief because the stng winds kept whipping the sand against our legs and it HURT). Whilst we didn’t try out the surfing, we were warned about the freezing cold water!

Our next stop was Pucón, a popular activity sport hub. Apparently the thing to do here is to climb a volcano but unfortunately, the poor weather meant it wasn’t an option. Coupled with the fact that we arrived to the town after the recommended travel agency had closed meant we didn’t really have a chance to organise or do very much here which was a bit of a shame. We also had some accommodation issues as the hostel we booked online hadn’t received it from the website etc… But it all ended well enough- the ladies who ran Hostal Emalafquen were extremely cute and helpful and managed to squeeze us in anyway.

By this point of the trip we realised something- this was peak Chilean holiday time. Everywhere was packed full of tourists and it was crazy busy! I would definitely not recommend going to Chile in February… 

You could definitely have spent more time in each place doing hikes and rafting etc. but we were being lazy so we just kept on moving…

Valdivia was the next port of call. On the drive there we passed by three of the seven lakes which make up the Lake District. We went to a food market thing and had a giant plate of seafood called curanto– a local specialty. It was basically a pile of giant mussels and clams, a chicken leg, sausage, a hunk of pork, some weird potato patties and boiled potatoes with a fish consommé and salsa… We shared one between us and couldn’t finish!

 

Curanto!

 

In Puerto Montt we visited the famous fish market where we saw (can you guess?) a lot of fish… It was actually very beautiful, the smell not so much…

Angelmo fish market

Fish anyone?

Grilled salmon. Yummy!

 
At this point we jumped off the bus. We stayed one night in Puerto Montt before taking a public bus to the Chiloe island.

 

P. S. I’m writing this a month late hence the vagaries of what happened since I’m getting old and my memory is a leaky sponge… 

P. P. S. You’re not missing out. We really didn’t find this bit of the trip very interesting… 

 

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