Puerto Montt, Chile

Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
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Trip End May 09, 2006


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Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, March 13, 2006

Puerto Montt

MILES: flying 8517, bus 680, taxi 43, walking 72, ship 9016, Zodiac boat 22
total: 18,350 miles

Anchored in Puerto Montt harbor, a city of about 250,000. This whole port city was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1960, so has been rebuilt since then. I was unable to see much of this town, but it looked like a working class harbor town.

A few of us got together and chartered a mini van and driver to take us out to see some of the sights of the area. Our first stop was Puerto Varas, a beautiful holiday/vacation town, about 20,000 residents, on the banks of Lake Llanguhue. Unfortunately this was a sad day for the town, as they experienced quite a loss. Their most beloved building, and the oldest, a four star chalet style hotel right on the lake, burned to the ground. It was a total loss. It is irreplaceable. There are many other beautiful structures in town, but this was their centerpiece. The town was settled by Germans originally and the architecture reflects this.

This is the lake region of Chile, which means there are lots of lakes in this area, I think about 20 or so. I saw two, Lake Llanghue, which is big enough to have waves and whitecaps, and at the distant end of our journey, Lake Esmerelda, a national park in Chile. Along the way was rio Petrohue, with multiple water falls and rapids. This area reminds me of Oregon and Washington, as there are multiple volcano style mountains (like Mt. Hood or Mt. Rainier), that dot the landscape. The whole area is green and lush, however, that comes with over 2 meters (6 feet) of rain a year. We got a great day, bright blue skies, and clear views of the volcanoes (which the locals say is quite rare). Chile is more like the U.S. than any other country I have visited in S. America, in positive ways. That is, their roads are paved, and not full of potholes, the towns are clean, lots of building going on, and newer structures everywhere. Chile is also considered to be the safest and most stable country on the continent, and it really felt that way. Gone were constant warnings to go in groups, and hide cameras and watches. That is not to say that there are not pickpockets, and some amount of crime, but it is on a scale far less serious than other locations I've visited on this trip.

On the way back we stopped at a local restaurant, where I ordered barbecued lamb right off the spit over the fire. Very good. I know that Chile is known for their wines, being high quality and cheap.

Overall, the lake region of Chile is as advertised, and my one day here served as a very fast overview. It is on my list of places to come back to.
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crabapple
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Sounds like a great adventure. I hope you're taking lots of pictures.

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