Chile diverso – parte 1

***Deutsche Version***

This blog post takes you on the first part of our diverse journey through Chile. From the breathtaking beauty of Torres del Paine National Park to the challenges we experienced in Puerto Montt, we had a trip full of highlights and a few lowlights.

After a 6-hour bus ride, we reached our first destination, Puerto Natales. The small town does not have much to offer, but it is the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park, a true paradise for nature lovers. Our research showed that it is very inconvenient to explore the park by public transport. After much deliberation and Jana's search skills, we found a small car rental company right at the bus terminal. Still knowing very little Spanish, we managed to rent a car from Leonardo. By showing us YouTube videos of accidents caused by speeding tourists, he warned us urgently not to drive at too high a speed over the gravel roads in the park.


Before we started our adventure, we had to stock up on enough provisions, as there are literally no shopping facilities in and around the park.  A boot minibar with exquisite drinks was set up as well, as our research had shown that drinks are very expensive in our hotel and in the park in general.

The following days were simply magical, and we enjoyed the freedom of a car. Our hotel on the border to the national park was located directly on the Rio Serrano and had an indescribably beautiful view of the impressive mountain scenery. On the first day, we took it easy and marvelled at the beautiful scenery. The majestic mountains, the sparkling lakes and the untouched nature were simply overwhelming. However, this also made us miss one or other treacherous potholes. However, we coped very well with the bad road conditions—thanks to our stays in Greece with Jana's aunt.

We decided to go for a short hike on the second day.  It led past a waterfall, along a lake, to a striking mountain range. A sign pointed out that there could be very strong gusts of wind due to the Venturi effect. Undeterred, we nevertheless unpacked our picnic, which we only just managed to save a few minutes later from the strong winds that swept towards us over the lake. We had never experienced such gusts of wind before. Walking upright was really completely impossible at times. It was as if nature wanted to tell us: Welcome to Torres del Paine.
Of course, we didn't miss the chance to hike up to the famous Mirador Las Torres—the famous mountain peaks and the symbolic image of Torres del Paine National Park. The view from the top was truly spectacular, and we admired the picturesque nature. In the evening, we enjoyed a fantastic three-course meal at our hotel and treated ourselves to a sneaky beer from our mobile minibar as a reward.

Throughout the park, we encountered countless wild horses and guanacos (relatives of the llamas). We noticed that there was always a chief guanaco watching the herd and the surroundings from a slightly elevated position. As in the Obama documentary, we even watched a strange male cub being spectacularly chased away by a herd leader.
On all days we enjoyed fantastic food. Something that is not a matter of course in Chile, as we were to learn. A short digression on this in the next article. Back in rainy Puerto Natales, we found a cosy and warm (also not a matter of course) AirBnB, the perfect environment to write down our experiences in Argentina and to write a large part of our first blog post.

We always thought Chile was simply a long strip of land that you could easily travel from north to south or vice versa. But at its widest point, Chile is as wide as Switzerland from west to east and thus simply stacked 18 times on top of each other. Chile also has no fewer than 42 national parks, which together are three times the size of Switzerland. Which ones should we visit and which ones should we leave out? Which places are particularly exciting, and can we combine them in a reasonable itinerary? Did you know that Chile is not connected by road along its entire length and that the southern part of Patagonia can only be reached via Argentina, a ferry or a plane? We didn't realise this until we asked ourselves how we could get further north from Puerto Natales.

Due to various factors, we decided to fly to Puerto Montt and use it as a starting point for the next few days. In retrospect, we can't explain why we booked four nights there. Puerto Montt is neither particularly beautiful nor does it have good restaurants and cafés. We also underestimated the distances to the surrounding excursion destinations in the lake region. Nevertheless, there are a few stories about this part of our trip that we don't want to withhold from you.

After our flight and a long and rainy taxi ride, we arrived at our accommodation. A little irritated by the state of the flat, but without further thought, we set off the next day to visit the local Angelmo market. Definitely a unique experience we won't forget anytime soon. As the only non-locals, we were a little overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, the many unfamiliar smells and products at the beginning. Meat and fish were gutted on the moored fishing boats according to the customers' wishes, filleted and packed in normal plastic bags. The fish waste landed directly in the sea, which attracted countless sea lions that helped themselves with relish all morning.

While having a coffee afterwards, we noticed that our landlady had tried to call us several times. The bad news: we had indeed moved into the wrong flat. The four flats next to each other had the same house number followed by a different letter. But because the key code worked, for us it was obvious that we were in the right flat. It then turned out that they all had exactly the same key code (!). Unfortunately, to our disillusionment, we could not change the flat, although we would have liked to. The flat was incredibly cold and therefore also a bit mouldy. Since the weather was very rainy and we spent a lot of time indoors, we definitely would have liked a cosier flat. However, it still had something positive, and we used the time to design our logo for the blog, finalise our first post and launch the website.


After four days of continuous rain, we (finally) left Puerto Montt and headed to the island of Chiloé. To visit this legendary and mythical place, we again rented a car. After a long drive through the rural areas of the island, we reached Castro with its countless palafitos, houses on stilts. By a lucky coincidence, we enjoyed one of the best meals in all of Chile that evening with a group of French people. The next morning we both had to struggle with sickness and stayed on the veranda railing for what felt like an eternity, hoping not to feed the fish. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, and we convinced ourselves that our nausea was probably caused by drinking black tea on an empty stomach.

After all, we set off to Chiloé National Park. The park is extremely impressive, as you go from a swamp landscape to an incredibly dense forest. This forest is mainly home to very small animals, such as the pudu, the smallest deer in the world. That evening, through our Chilean hostess with Italian roots, we also finally got a better insight into Chile's culture, jobs, worries and wages. Up to this point, we had perceived the Chileans as rather distant and it was difficult for us to start a conversation ourselves with our poor Spanish.

On our last day, we finally saw the volcanoes Calbuco and Osorno. The latter is particularly impressive, with its conical shape and white peak right on the lake. El es perfecto", as all the Chileans kept saying. On this very perfect cone, we enjoyed a picturesque ride up to the snow line, where one can also ski in winter. With a burrito night at the home of Andrea and her cute dog Maqui, we had a conciliatory ending with the Los Lagos region around Puerto Montt.

Our next destination, Pucón, welcomed us with bright sunshine. Something we desperately needed after the rainy days. However, the city not only convinced us because of the beautiful weather but also because it was spotlessly clean, had beautifully designed squares and a lot of charm. The town lies in the middle of various volcanoes, on a large lake with a black sand beach and is surrounded by dense forest. The choice of accommodation worked out for us this time and we had the perfect hosts. We went on countless excursions and even extended our stay. The only thing we had some trouble with was our cycling tour. We decided to leave this activity on Chilean gravel roads to others. Pablo probably had a similar experience with hiking. The IT specialist, 35, from Santiago de Chile went hiking for the first and probably the last time in his life. He, therefore, left us the newly acquired hiking poles as a gift after this week (he was so determined, we couldn't refuse). He could hardly walk properly and on the last day only made it with great difficulty to the bus station.

We treated ourselves to a relaxing day after the arduous cycling and visited the Termas Geometricas at the foot of the active Villarrica volcano. A red walkway leads up the gorge to a secluded waterfall. Along the path there are always pools with water of different temperatures, which emerges due to the volcanic activity at this spot. The place seemed almost surreal and can hardly be described in words. Ideally, we would have planned this excursion after the strenuous hike to the Quetrupillan volcano. We would normally have managed the altitude without any problems, but the loose and sandy rock made the climb to the crater considerably more difficult. However, our efforts were rewarded with an incredible 360° panorama of countless volcanoes. Those who know Jana's feet know what follows now. The following day and with blistered feet, we only walked at half speed in Huerquehue National Park. Despite Pablo's walking poles we barely made it to the first mirador with the strange araucaria trees before we had to make our way back to catch the last bus.


In no time, the time in Pucón was over and we were on the night bus to Santiago de Chile. There we will meet up with a friend from high school and discover together the capital city. Other highlights like Pisco-Elqui and the driest sand desert in the world are also waiting for us. With this in mind: ¡Estén pendientes de lo que viene!

To live up to our name DJ on Tour, here is a song that accompanied us during this time.


Logo DJ on tour

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