Patagonia Region – Walls, Waterfalls, Hot Springs

February 2023- Chile

Note- this post contains several videos and also links to other stories

We are on the final leg of the Carretera Austral through the Patagonia region of Chile.  The road through Patagonia has been challenging and beautiful.  This final section continued that theme!

The curves were sharp and the warnings of approaching vehicles were non-existent.  So we drove slowly and cautiously.  The flora changed as we went into lower elevations.  But the snowy peaks of the Andes remained on the horizon.  We stopped at a wide spot to cool the brakes and hike to a waterfall.  It was an incredible little ecosystem of ferns, pines and vines.  All surviving in the humidity of the waterfall and the cold of the Andes.

 

The dogs always enjoy these little breaks along the road.  New areas to sniff and play along the trail.  Can you spot both dogs in this photo?

(Nica is trying to hide so she can pounce on Pacha)

Pacha (we adopted her in Peru is the bigger dog – here is her story:   https://slowcarfasthouse.com/2019/10/19/peru-adopting-a-dog/ 

Nica is also in the photo.  She is the smaller dog, with blue eyes.  We adopted her in Nicaragua.  You can read her story here:  https://slowcarfasthouse.com/2018/05/05/adopting-a-dog-in-nicaragua-we-did-it/

After the hike we returned to the truck to finish the twisty, final section of roadway and look for a campsite for the night.  We wanted to be on the pavement before dark, but not into the next village.  We selected a riverside campsite, where we could hear the flow of a glacial river traveling past our windows.  Here is a video of our campsite views!

We finally encountered a paved road and the highway began to straighten out a bit.  The mountains were still amazing in the distance and the plants were changing rapidly.  We were near the ocean.

We paused in a small town for groceries and ate sandwiches in the park.  It was a cute park, filled with handmade, wooden structures to climb and play on.  We had fun with the dogs exploring the airplane and boat.

The park also featured a beautiful painted wall on the restroom building.  This child in the painting is taller than an adult, making the deer a giant.  This huge artwork was very captivating to us.  What do you think?

We sampled a Chilean grape soda with our PB&J sandwiches at the park.  This was not the grape soda we grew up with.  No bright purple coloring, no artificial grape flavoring.  It was the color of common green grapes, and tasted just like typical green grapes.  Now THAT is a grape soda!

We had one last sight to see on the Carretera Austral before leaving this gorgeous region. Another wall of hands and the famed Cerro Castillo (Castle Mountain) This is sort of the last peak in the region called Patagonia and marks the end of that area.  When we arrived, the peak was enveloped in whispy clouds.  We could barely see the glacier nestled in the low points.

We parked the rig at the entrance to the Paredon de los Manos (The Wall of the Hands)  hiking trail.  The dogs were welcome on the trail, so we took our water, their water and some snacks and headed up the trail.

The wall of hands was much smaller than the one we visited in Argentina.  And this one had clearly been vandalized with graffiti and rock chipping.  But it was fascinating to note the similarities and consider the message that was left by these ancient ones.

We hiked back down the trail and out of the canyon.  As we rounded the final turn we looked up at the Cerro Castillo and noticed that the clouds were moving.  We were able to get a photo of some the spiky mountain tops before the swirling whisps rolled back in and obscured the view of the castle again.

After the bumpy, winding roads of Patagonia we were ready for some relaxation.  The Termas Ventisquiero (Snowdrift Hot Springs) were just what we needed. These beautiful hot baths were improved with wooden decks and located on the shores of an ocean inlet.  There was no snow visible on this warm fall day, but we certainly enjoyed the relaxing waters.

Continuing the theme of relaxation, we stopped at a new business nearby.  This is a company offering locally refined, clear gin.  They are making their Tepaluma Gin with locally sourced glacier water and flavoring it with plants and berries collected from the local mountains.  We enjoyed the flavor and the beautiful facility.  Here is a link to their website if you are interested in learning more-  https://tepaluma.com/ They have a fascinating story of Europe, lightening and love as they developed their product line.

Headed towards a ferry we decided to stop for lunch at a quirky bar and museum.  This place is known as the Museo de Futbol (Soccer Museum) but is privately sponsored and owned.  The food was terrible,  but there was a game on all the big screens and it was fun to enjoy the energy.

Then it was time to get in line for the ferry.  We are leaving mainland Chile and going to the islands of Chiloe.  This ferry ride is part of the Chilean highway system and crosses a large inlet of the South Pacific Ocean between mainland and Quellon, Chiloe, Chile.  Join us for a ferry ride to some island time!

 


One thought on “Patagonia Region – Walls, Waterfalls, Hot Springs

  1. WOW! I loved the waterfall, the water is so clear. Reminds me of the Pacific Northwest in the US. The curves and switchbacks on the road map was amazing. Thanks for sharing

What do you think of this post? Comment, please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.