A Trip without a Plan Pt. 4: Pucon

We didn’t know Pucon is the adventure capital of Patagonia…probably more in the summer season with the lakes available for water sports but the snow sports were in full swing.

We rented a very cute cabin outside of Pucon called Cabanas Aylen. Waking up and wanting to find the best place to see the volcano, we went to ask the front desk woman where we should go, she smiled and said just get in your car and drive. So we did and she was right, you could see it from literally anywhere!

We ended up driving up the volcano all the way to the ski resort! Seeing a ski resort on the side of an active volcano was funny concept but the views were beautiful!

We came back down and continued onto a waterfall area called Ojos Del Caburgua where we sat to eat lunch.

We kept making our way north-east to another lake called Lake Caburgua, where the water was so clear!

Our plan was to keep heading in that direction because that was where the thermal baths we wanted to go to were located. That area is filled with different places to go but there was one in particular we had read about. Getting s little lost on the way but we finally made it to Termas Los Pozones.

That was it for our first successful day in Pucon! We headed back to the cabin to decide what we were going to do tomorrow.

xo,
B
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A Trip without a Plan Pt. 3: Valdivia to Pucon

Life Lesson: When in doubt of things to do around town, ask the hostel managers.

When we checked into our hostel, we asked what we could do in Valdivia while making our way to Pucon and the hostel managers were full of suggestions. They told us to start our journey off towards the coast and go through Niebla and Playa Los Molinos, dirt-road-no-stop-light kind of towns. The kind of towns where your driving and you say “is this it?” but you’ve already passed through it because yes, that was it. Simple and gorgeous.

 

I had read on a blog that the Fish Market in Valdivia was home to a group of sea lions that like the hang out waiting for the fisherman to throw them some scraps. So we headed back to Valdivia in search of the Fish Market and its overweight sea lions. But since the Lake District has a heavy German-influenced, on the way back to Valdivia we passed a famous brewery, Kunstmann where we stopped to take a look. We wanted to try some of their flavored beers (both of us not being ‘beer people’) but it was 11am…

 

When we got to the fish market, we were amazed at how massive these sea lions were, they were absolutely HUGE!! And loud! Below, in the top right picture, you can see just the sea lion’s head compared to an open wingspan of a pretty decent sized bird. There had to be close to 30 of them just waiting around for their food…being lazy. They were even beginning to sink the platform they were laying on!

 

Walking through the actual market was nice to see all the colors and fresh food, I’m a market kind of person. I ended up buying some fresh smoked salmon for lunch, Patagonian salmon is like Alaskan salmon, some of the best of the best in the world. We even found some graffiti on our walk 🙂

 

From Valdivia it would’ve been easy to hop right on the highway and make it to Pucon in a few hours but the hostel managers gave us a scenic route that took us through small towns, farm land, mountains and beautiful landscapes. We drove through Los Lagos, Panguipulli and Licanray before we stopped for lunch at a beautiful lake. A lot of these towns survive on the tourist industry of the summer so during winter, everything is closed and there are only locals or people passing through. We stumbled upon a lake that had crystal clear water, absolutely no waves or even movement of water, cloud covered moutains with green forest surrounding us, it was so quiet and peaceful. We walked out onto a pier and sat down to have our lunch. Smoked salmon, crackers, jam, bread, cheese, peanut butter, nutella, gummy worms…snacks galore.

 

After our very late lunch we hoped back into the car and passed through one more town, Villarrica before making it to our cabin which sat about 15 mins outside of Pucon.

Our adventure in Pucon starts 🙂

xo,

B

A Trip without a Plan Pt. 2: Puerto Varas to Valdivia

Let me first start by saying, I am now an active user of Booking.com and if you don’t have an account, I would highly suggest getting one (here’s my code if you want a discount!). We booked so many places the morning of and it was perfect. Not to mention they always have the “deal of the day” and when you book your first 5 stays through the website, you achieve ‘genius’ status which gives you an additional 10% off select hotels/places offered. It’s worth at least signing up for an account.

Back to the trip:

I woke up in Puerto Varas with an idea. I had done some late night googling and blog searching about good places to go in the Lake District of Chile and a city popped up that hadn’t been on our radar before: Valdivia. Looking at the map, we could have hopped right on Rut 5 and been in Valdivia in a few hours, but what fun is that when Lake Llanquihue, the lake Puerto Varas sits on, has two volcanos next to it?! We opted to go around the Lake until we ran into the Volcano and see what we could do from there.

On the way, we stopped by a town called Enseñada which had a river/rapid area where we ended up sitting in our rental car, overlooking the rapids, and picnicking 🙂 We were happy travelers. The strange thing about the water in the rapids was that it was crystal clear, almost reminiscent of the Caribbean with one major difference…it was freezing. Winter in Chile is cold, winter is southern Chile is colder. We were chilly in Chile…….HA. Anyways, the view was beautiful and luckily we had the car heater to keep us warm.

After following the lake route a little longer  we ran into the base of the Osorno, our first volcano encounter. While we had been driving, it was cloudy, windy and not that great of a view so we weren’t expecting much. We decided to put our rental car, a little white Mitsubishi, to the test and drive the volcano. Switch back after switch back we climbed higher and higher not really knowing what to expect. It was amazing how much the terrain changed from forest to bushes to volcanic rocks to snow. Once we got to a clearer area, the wind started to kick in. There weren’t any trees to protect us and you could feel the steering wheel turning as we were driving straight. We reached a point where we couldn’t see anything in front of us because the wind was pushing the snow almost horizontal, it was a good place to turn around. But before we did, we admired the fact that we were on the incline of a volcano at the height of the clouds.

After making it back down, we continued around the lake and headed into the actual town of Osorno. Running low on our cell phone data packages, we stopped by the mall which conveniently had a Dunkin’ Donuts. Amazingly, as soon as we got off the road, the rain started coming down hard. We took our time drinking our Dunkin’ coffees and falling in love with a grocery store called JUMBO. I would consider JUMBO equivalent to a South American Target, enough said.

If you didn’t know, I have a thing for grocery stores. I’m not much of a clothing shopper but you stick me in a grocery store and I can stay there for hours, I thank my mother for that. But luckily Mariana has the same love for grocery stores! No need for fancy dinners (unless it’s sushi), some avocados, tomatoes, onion, chips, and salt was all we needed to make a fantastic avocado mash and we were happy. Oh, and wine, you can NOT forget the amazing Chilean wine called Carménère which will have to have a post of its own.

After our shenanigans at the mall, we were off to Valdivia. We had booked our hostel that morning but it wasn’t your traditional hostel with 30 bunk beds in one room. We actually had our own apartment with a kitchen and our own bathroom.  The hostel was called Kapai Central Lodge and I would definitely recommend it! Sipping our wine, eating our snacks, FaceTiming our families and friends, planning where to rest our heads the following night was how we ended our first full day in the Lake District of Southern Chile. I was beginning to like this no planning thing…

xo,

B

 

A Trip without a Plan Pt. 1: Lima to Puerto Varas

If you know me…you know the title of this blog would normally give me a heart attack. I would never do this. I like to have my trips planned, I like to know exactly what I’m doing, where I’m going, whose coming, how we’re getting there, how we’re getting back, what we’re doing in between, I like itineraries, tickets in hand, confirmations etc. etc.

But no.

This trip, we threw everything out the window. Fly by the seat of your pants kind of trip. We had no plan. In fact, the only thing we did have planned was our plane ticket from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile and then a bus ticket from Santiago to Puerto Montt which we ended up missing both. Mariana (my physio on Sep7imo Dia and totally cool awesome friend on tour) and I have never missed a plane in our lives. And we just flat-out, missed our alarms (she had 5 set, I had 3 set), didn’t wake up, woke up when we were supposed to be boarding the plane, and missed the damn plane. It was the only thing we had planned. Go figure.

Our general idea for the trip was to explore the Lake District of Chile which about a 12 hour drive south from Santiago. When we started talking about it, we thought we’d rent a car and drive down, explore and then head back up. But we ended up finding a cheap flight from SkyAirlines to Santiago and then like I said, we were going to overnight bus down to Puerto Montt and arrive there the next morning. After that, we didn’t have a plan. The strategy was to get in our rental car (which we booked a day before our missed flight) and explore. No plan. No booked hotels. No way back to Santiago. Nothing. Truly, a trip without a plan.

But, I will say, once we missed that flight, the speed in which we assembled the troops and got our shit together was down right impressive. Our SkyAirline’s plane (which I would definitely recommend this airline if you ever have the chance to fly with them) was meant to take off at 8:30am, I woke up at 7:30am, and like a frantic lunatic, ran up to Mariana’s room and pounded on her door. She opened and we just stared at each other. But by the time the plane was supposed to take off, we had a completely new method to make our trip happen. We were in the airline office that was conveniently located around the corner from our hotel by 9am (the time it opened), asking if we could switch flights from here to there, from there to here, how much it would take to take one flight here, one flight there (they were very patient with us), we had messaged the bus company about our tickets, and we were calling people left and right (well Mariana was doing most of the calling due to the fact that she is fluent in Spanish…and I am not). We were in ‘go mode’. By 9:30am, we had a completely new course of action to at least get down to Puerto Montt because you bet your sweet ass we were still going to make it on our trip.

So from about 10am on…we had a free day in Lima we weren’t accounting for which actually ended up working in our favor. We decided what we were going to do on our next transfer between cities, booked those tickets, figured out where we were going to stay when we got down to Southern Chile, confirmed our rental car, took a walk, ate delicious crepes looking over the cliffs of the Miraflores coastline and chatted a bunch. It ended up being a hell-of-a-productive travel planning day.

With that being said, for the next morning, we had the front desk of the hotel give us 2 wake up calls, we both had multiple alarms set…again, and we had people calling us at 4:30am to make sure we were awake. It worked. We woke up and made both our flights down to Puerto Montt, we even gave ourselves extra time at the airport between flights to ensure we made the second connection. Once we got there, we picked up our rental car and headed to our hostel in Puerto Varas, where we had planned to spend the first night. That was that, we made it. It was time to start the trip but where to first?

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xo,

B