Saturday, December 27, 2014

Trip to Patagonia - Dec 27, 2014 - Osorno Volcano Hike; Explore Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park

- from the Itinerary:
 
This morning, we head towards the Osorno Volcano, whose snowcapped cone towers over Lake Llanquihue, and enjoy a hike in its vicinity.

We continue to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and have lunch with a local fisherman and his family who live inside the park. After lunch, we witness the Petrohue Waterfalls, where clear turquoise chutes of water flow over ancient lava from the Osorno Volcano that has been polished by silt over the centuries into a bed of smooth stone. The Mapuche Indians call this area the meeting ground between man and God, and with its mirror-like lakes, cascading falls, and volcanic mountains, it’s certainly one of the loveliest regions of Chile.

We return to Puerto Varas, where you’ll have some free time to explore the town and get dinner on your own.

Ever since arriving in Chile, we have been able to see a couple of volcanoes in the distance. Today we finally got close, as in walking up the side of one of them - Osorno Volcano. The weather as we started up was less than ideal - as you can see in the photos, we were covered in a fog. It actually was so dense at times that the local guide recommended not going any further and returning to the bus. However, there was a group of 4 of us (Pat, Bill, Mary, and I) who decided to continue. I'm glad we did since it finally cleared!


Pretty foggy

Pilar recommending we turn around

At the top, it's starting to clear

Volcanic rocks (one of Pat's obsessions)

Completely cleared back at the bus

Once we got back on the bus, the fog rolled in again. It seems like we were very lucky to have been there when there was a break in the cloud cover. It was an awesome thing to be on the volcano and actually be able to see into the caldera (although it was still mostly obscured with fog).

We then drove to a dock on Todos los Santos lake, where a local fisherman took us in his boat across the water to his home. The ride was only a couple of minutes, but there is no other access to his home, as no roads exist on that side of the lake.

Once we got to his home, we had lunch (a way for the fisherman to supplement his income) and met his family. The daughter shown below is learning the tourism business and speaks good English. She has decided to continue the family's eco-tourism business (which includes guiding fishing trips and providing meals at their home).


Getting ready for lunch

Alex (the fisherman), Roseta (his wife)
and their daughter
After our lunch, we were again ferried back to the other side of the lake and boarded the bus for a short ride to Saltos del Petrohue in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. The Saltos del Petrohue is a falls/rapids that the Chileans love and is a destination like Niagara Falls for Americans. It was crowded and not easy to get to a good spot to take the definitive photo.


Then back to our hotel, Solace, in Puerto Varas, where we all got to try a Pisco Sour. As Pat and I both agreed - Yuck!

We were on our own for dinner, so we asked our local guide if there were any brew pubs in the city. She recommended one that was only about 3 blocks away from the hotel and told us of their specialty dinner. Off we went to Cafe Haussmann where we had the recommended Steak Tartar (crudo). It was excellent! In addition, the locally-brewed beer the waiter recommended was very good.


Our beers

Pat had the Porter

Ray had the IPA (as usual)


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