Puerto Varas and its surroundings

We had to join Virginie and Nicolas in a Bed & Breakfast run by a friend of Virginie’s, near Puerto Varas on the 23rd of January. Unfortunately, there were not many buses to leave Coyhaique, so we arrived one day late, on the 24th, with an exhausting 23-hour long journey sitting in a classic bus, waiting at 4 different border crossings, hoping on 2 minibuses and walking 2kms by foot. We finally arrived at the chalet we rented for 5 days, with an amazing view on the Osorno volcano. What await us for this small week : resting, hiking, cooking and drinking great Chilean wines.

On the 24th, we decided to get some rest and go for a walk to the lake nearby, only a few kilometers away from Casa Ko’, the Bed & Breakfast hosted by Pauline and Raphael, some friends of Virginie’s.
On the next day, we took the bus to have a closer look at the Saltos de Petrohue, rapid waterfalls that runs in a steep lava river bed made by the volcano Osorno. These “waterfalls” are very pretty. Then, guided by the Routard guidebook, we went for a hike called “Paseo de la Desolacion”, which was very aptly named. We spent 2 hours walking in the suffocating heat, on some kind of volcanic sand path, surrounded by dozens of pesky flies that fly around and bite you neck. Finally, we chose to turn around without reaching the panoramic view, it was just plain hard and desolating. Even if it was not an idyllic hike, we walked through old lava flows and were able to admire the Osorno volcano. It was not that bad :-) Back in town, we enjoyed a small boat ride on the Lago Todos Los Santos, then came back and had a drink at Pauline’s.

Nico and Virginie wanted to go rafting on the 26th, and as Florent and I had never done it, we gladly accepted. The river on which we rafted was not very rough, so it was great for beginners I think. There were some rapids to get use to the activity and a lot of quiet time to enjoy the fantastic views over the surrounding vegetation. We were even able to get very close to two kingfishers! My only regret is not being able to take my camera … But it probably wouldn’t work anymore if I had taken it ;-)

On the 27th, we left for a tranquil hike on the volcano Cabulco. The trail started just behind the cabin we rent, and we left with our picnic in our backpacks near 10 am in the morning. On the way up, we had to go across a herd of mad cows. They probably don’t meet many people, because once they saw us, they began to moo, bellow, howl… Once we entered the field, a calf decided to take a closer look and began to run towards us. Suffice to say that we were kind of scared, with these moronic cows screaming and the calf running! The hike was fun anyway, between clearings, forest trails, mad cows and good weather. In the forest, we saw a large number of eucalyptus and bamboo trees, which surprised us a little but, according to Virginie and Nico, it is quite normal. They saw the same trees in the forests around Pucon, further north.

On Saturday 28th, the deluge arrived in Puerto Varas. We decided to rent a car and go visit the Chiloe Islands, west of Puerto Varas, where apparently it rains all the time, anyway.

Sunday, January 29th, we left the hut and went to Puerto Varas to return the car. But first, we hang out at Caso Ko’ a bit, to thank Pauline and Raphael for these nice days in their beautiful log cabin.

With all the rain on the previous day, the road 225 towards Puerto Varas (and its many work areas) made it difficult to return the car on time. Here, gasoline is slightly cheaper than in France, of about 1 euro 30 a liter.

No fuss for returning the car, we paid the 30 thousand pesos as expected, that’s about 48 euros for a day and almost 600 km, that’s okay.
We turned a little in Puerto Varas in search of a cafe with WiFi so that we wouldn’t go bored until 2:25 p.m., time of our bus to Pucon. We stopped at Cassis, the restaurant is clean, full of people and prices are decent but not exceptional. We ordered a pizza for about 7 euros, they were tasty and the size was more than enough for one person.
We left town at 14:30 at the JAC bus terminal for the 5 hour drive to Pucon, at about 9100 pesos, nearly 15 euros. There, we chose to spend the night at École, which offered us double rooms with shared bathroom for 20 000 pesos, about 32 euros.

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