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

Advertisements

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