When you think the views can’t get any better, this little beauty comes along! The glacier waters were turquoise and the lake was surrounded by beautiful mountains. The water is this colour due to the minerals in it, and it gets brighter as the sun shines on it. You can drink the water, so the locals say, and they also make beer from it.
The tiny village only has a population of 540 people, so is very small and quaint. The house are exactly the same as other places, the food is more expensive due to its’ remote location but the views are mesmorising.
We’d booked into a camping place, that had a hostel, for 3 nights. It had brilliant reviews and we were impressed with it too. A comfy bed, hot water (for me anyway, Kev always seems to get freezing cold water 😨), and some friendly people staying too.
We dumped our bags and went to explore. It had a great little town square with a wooden church and an exercise park…we’ll use that later 😉.
They advertise Cabañas all over Chile. They are really expensive to rent and look brilliant in photos. When you get up close to them they are run down, oversized sheds! Haha. These here have a fabulous setting though.
Kev kept making plans of where we were going to travel to, but everywhere he decided to go, something changed or transport stopped us getting there, so we’ve changed our so called plans many times. When we were in Coyhaique (pronounced Coy eye ke) everyone asked if we were going Rio Tranquillo to see the famous caves….we’d not planned to go but seeing as it was recommended we changed our plans again.
Now Kev has given up trying to learn any Spanish now, as his brain cannot retain what he’s listening to or being told. For instance. He called Coyhaique…Coyoky (I’ve spelt it phonetically so you can see how he says it), or coy ay ke. He was on about going to Chile colo. I’d never heard of this and I could see people looking at him when he said it, as though they didn’t have a clue what he was on about. It was only when a girl said she was going to Chile Chico that I asked him if that’s where he was on about. …he’s useless lol.
Anyway fate brought us here and I’m glad it did. Me Gusta (“it pleases me”, or “I like it” in Spanish).
We wanted to trek over a glacier whilst here but after enquiring they said it was a hard 7 hour trek and didn’t think it would be good for me. Instead we booked for the following morning to visit the caves.
As I’ve said previously me and Kev have been healthy eating, trying to lose the excess weight we piled on over the few months before and during Christmas/New Year. We can’t weigh ourselves so we’ve taken photos on the first day we arrived and took more after 4 weeks. Kev, being his usual.charming self, always calls me “tubby”. I saw a see saw by the water front so I suggested we get on it and see how the balance goes. We climbed on and lifted our feet off the floor, I was lifted up whilst Kev ended up sat in the dirt 😂. He was having none of it. “Let’s swap sides” he says. He was most disappointed when the seat of his trousers were brushing the dirt again 😂. He decided to do something about it and went to the exercise park….see video below. It’s now a competition to see who can lose the most weight.
The following morning we got up and headed for the boat trip. We were waiting outside and I saw a guy with waterproof trousers and jacket on.”Will we need waterproof trousers?” I asked . The look on his face told us everything we needed to know, except we didn’t have time to go back and get them. We donned our life jackets and headed for the boat, with a promise of being provided with a poncho.
The sun was shining but it was windy and the water splashed up the sides at us. They’d given us a poncho but to be honest we didn’t really need it.
The Capillas de Marmol (Marble Caves) were breathtaking. The sun shining on the glacial water was reflecting on them which just enhanced their colours.
I captured a lady kayaking in the caves. I tried to find her to show her the photo but to no avail. The scenery around the caves, with the high rugged cliffs just added to their splendour.
The boat turned around and at this point I saw the captain and his crew putting on their waterproofs and life jackets. We were in for a bumpy ride! 😮
Haha. It was hilarious. The boat bounced on the waves, the wind was whipping up a storm so the clear cold water splattered up over the boat, onto our faces and bodies. We had our ponchos though so we should be OK right? Wrong! They were old and worn out. We got absolutely drenched . I loved every minute. I was sat on the boat with both arms up in the air shouting “wooo” 😂😂. The captain joined in too. Haha. I was soaked through to my underwear and didn’t care. It was so exhilarating. This doesn’t show the bumpiest parts as I didn’t dare take my camera out in case it got water logged, but you get the gist of the wind.
After warming through with a hot chocolate we headed out of town to take in the views from higher ground. The water was electric blue, we found a bench and sat down admiring it. You can’t get fed up of views like this.
The weather for the following day wasn’t looking good. It had forecast rain. We decided to change our plans, cancel our accommodation and try get a bus out and move on. Luckily the lady in the hostel liked us and refunded our money. We booked the bus for the same day.
It turned out to be a minibus that we travelled in. The driver was really nice and asked if we had any accommodation booked. Haha of course we didn’t! We have stopped making plans as they always change so we were just going to turn up and knock on doors. 😂
He made a quick phone call and said he’d got us somewhere for £12 each. Perfect. We didn’t mind what it was like it was only for 1 night.
The scenery on the journey was once again, very pleasing to the eye. We couldn’t get too many photos as the windows were too dirty from the mud flying up on the untarmaced roads.
When we arrived in Chile Chico we were pleasantly surprised. The little town was lovely, yet the guide books said it had nothing to offer. The driver took us to our Hospedaje. We were dreading what to looked like as it was so cheap. He’d booked us into a little cabaña! We were well impressed. For Chilean standards it was a palace and huge!
We took a walk to the supermarket and the sky was out of this world. It tinged the tiny little town with and blue haze.
Even though we had travelled 165 kilometres we were still on Lake General Carrera, which continues into Argentina, where it is called Lake Buenos Aires and it is the second largest lake in South America ( after Lake Titicaca) and it is believed to be the deepest lake on the continent, having a maximum depth of 590 metres. Here we met a couple that were in our hostel in Rio Tranquillo. They took some lovely photos of us.
The next morning we were up early and went to get a taxi to the Chilean border. We’d been told that someone had waited half a day to get a lift from this border to the Argentinian border and failed to get one so stayed in Chile. We wouldn’t let that stop us 😉. From entering the border control building in Chile to leaving the Argentina border control at the other side it took us 1.5 hours to walk. Why would someone wait half a day for a lift?
The walk was lovely. The road was flat and VERY scenic. It was 12km long.
We walked into the nearest town called Los Antiguos. Yet again we’d no accommodation booked, but planned to stay for 2 nights before gearing further south to El Chalten. We called into the Tourist Information and I asked “habla ingles? ” (do you speak English?). “Yes, slowly” he replied. That was the only English words he spoke! Haha. I had to speak Spanish to him. I enquired about buses to El Chalten and where could we buy bus tickets from. He told me we could get them from supermarkets, or shops and pointed us in the direction of the supermarket. I double checked. “Es posible comprar entradas para el autobús en el supermercado?” My spanish is coming along really well 😊. “Si” he replies. OK so off we go to the supermarket, only to be told they don’t sell them there, so they sent me to the supermarket further down the road. She didn’t understand what I was saying and thought I wanted to buy something and pay with a credit card! Haha. Maybe my Spanish isn’t that good after all. The trouble is that Chilean people have their own version of Spanish. They use use a lot of slang words so if you don’t pronounce things how they do then they don’t understand.
Anyway, long story short we could only get the tickets from the bus terminal! The guy in the Tourist information needed sacking.😂 we made the instant decision not to stay in the one horse town and leave that night on the 8pm bus. Bloody hell we were definitely winging it on this one 😮.
We went and had a burger for lunch. It was huge, but cost us £20 for burgers and one portion of fries. We couldn’t eat it all so saved half for our tea 😉. We normally stock up on goodies when travelling but as we’re healthy eating we got 4 bananas and a packet of salt free crackers…..rock n roll! 😎
We booked the cheap seats on the bus, which are always upstairs. I decided to be cheeky and ask the woman if we could swap to downstairs for free. The seats are usually bigger and have more leg room. I was pushing my luck really cos she’d given us croissants stuffed with dulce de leche (a thick, caramel type substance. If you boil a tin of carnation milk for 2 hours, and let it cool it will be like dulce de leche), I’d asked if I could use their Wi- Fi too. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I asked, she told us we could sit downstairs 😊. We got the back row…bonus! We had a 12 hour journey ahead of us! Ugh. The Co driver came round and Kev said “dos cerveza por favour, señor”. Wow. He actually said it right. He’d asked for 2 beers. Yeah right whatever 🍻.
The driver laughed and then gave us 2 empanadas (like a cornish pastie, with various fillings), a chocolate biscuit and a carton of juice. Wow. Good service. Just as the bus was setting off Kev says to him in his Yorkshire accent “turn’t lights off are kid” 😂.
The bus journey was awful. The roads weren’t paved so it was throwing stones and mud up at the windows and sides of the bus all night. It was bouncing all over. I couldn’t wait to get to el Chalten.
At around 7.50am we hit the town. Wow. Wow. Wow. Can scenery keep getting better? Apparently so. If you’re sick of seeing snow capped mountains and glaciers then don’t read the next blog!