Our long anticipated Patagonia trip is finally nearing! On our way to retrieve the rental car in Puerto Montt, Chile we made a quick visit to this beautiful town. At first, we were only going to be here for a few short hours before hopping on a bus, but playing destination hopscotch is too exhausting. We get surprised at how in some cities you can stay for a day and see so many things (like here), and in others you can stay for week and feel like you’ve done absolutely nothing with your time. We have been finding out that we love the towns that are closer to more outdoor activities opposed to the larger more populated cities with museums and churches to fill the days. We found a cheap, well cheap for Bariloche standards, hostel to crash in for a night giving us the afternoon to explore this well talked town. We arrived to the outdoor airport being greeted by some cooler weather. I haven’t traveled the U.S. much so any type of mountain range for me is jaw dropping because I’m used to the low lying Florida lands. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, an actual mountain range!
I couldn’t wait to get slapped in the face with some mountain peaks in Patagonia, if THIS is what they were going to look like. The unexciting part regarding the airport, well actually regarding most places we have come across in South America, is the tremendous amount of long lines EVERYWHERE. Something we have learned to have more of is patience. Like at the store, you have multiple workers standing around being chatty Cathys and seem to have the impression that looking at their phone is way more important than the long line of irritated people. We knew that when traveling things would be different and a sense of work urgency is sometimes frustratingly one of them. We boarded off the plane to stand in a long line to get our bags checked for fruits and veggies…again… being very odd to me that we are traveling within the same country AND the fact that they also scanned our bags BEFORE the flight from Buenos Aires. I guess they take their fruits and veggies very seriously here. But I guess that makes for tastier food then! After the fruit shindig we went to the small tourist kiosk and was given a map and brief info on all the fun things to do in town. Bariloche is a great destination for many reasons. In the winter, it’s a full fledged ski town and in the summer, it’s a lay by the lake and sun town. I’m sure in 10 years most of the town will be replaced with fancy tourist shops and hotels, but right now it is the perfect mix of modern and old school, optimal for budget travelers. Towns like this are bittersweet. With such beautiful landscape and many outdoor activities to do it is hard not to share the knowledge of it’s existence. If someone were to ask me, I would recommended a week here in a heartbeat. The downfall is that tourist boom you get when something starts to become popular. Prices go up, things get fancier, and soon the town starts to loose it’s old timely charm. The welcoming locals are replaced by money sucking tour operators who guarantee everyone a good time. I’m happy we got to experience it when we did and hopefully after all the stories and pictures of this town and Patagonia, I will do it some justice.
A local bus picked us up from the airport and brought us to our hostel. Another awesome one for the books, Govinda Hostel was owned and worked by a father and his sons who were great hosts. They could talk about anything for hours and made us feel right at home, not to mention the delicious homemade jam with breakfast. We dropped off our bags and left to grab some food being guided by the hostel owner to a delicious rotisserie chicken and fries place. We got some food to-go to wait for the bus to bring us to lake Gutierrez where we could lay out by the water and also get some hiking in nearby. The “every 20 minute” bus ended up being an extremely long wait, shocker, and by the time we got to the beach we were a little discouraged about how the quality of the food was going to be after sitting for so long. We picked a spot and unwrapped our soggy food, but were still pleasantly surprised. Still the best rotisserie chicken we have had yet, and I think Uriah might dream about it still sometimes. After a couple of minutes, we noticed we were starting to shoo away too many wasps. Then, after a couple of more minutes it was like a swarm of them. We picked up our food and moved to a different location of the rock beach to see if it would get better. I can now see the frustration of Winnie the Poo because these suckers are determined. Either that or we came across a rare group of carnivorous bugs, but I’m blaming the honey glaze deliciousness.
Regardless, it was terrifying for me being that I might be allergic. The “might” part stems from the fact that I’ve actually never been stung before, I know I’m lucky, and every other bug that bites makes me swell up like no other. Uriah had no fear and was almost shooing them out of his mouth while I stood about 10 feet back fearful of my life. I was starving so we came up with a plan and I now I feel like we looked like a circus act. Uriah was tossing me pieces of chicken and fries that I quickly ate before the wasps could sense anything.
After the circus act, we took a quick dip in the crystal clear lake to cool off and headed off to a waterfall hike around the corner.
Asking a local where exactly to go, we headed down the dirt road to the trail head. Located at the entrance to a park campground, we headed up into the forest to start the well marked trail. There ended up being two. One more easy and shorter heading to a waterfall and the other slightly harder and heading up to a lookout of the lake. We decided to take the lighter of the two and quickly arrived to the waterfall.
It was small and crowded with people, so we thought go big or go home. I feel like whenever we say were going to do a “small” hike we end up hiking for hours and hours and barely making it back by dark. That being said, we had some time so decided to do the more difficult one as well. The trail was mostly dirt and at a very steep incline. On the way up, we giggled to ourselves as we saw people attempting the trail in various inappropriate attire including small heels. Of which we felt bad afterwards because an ambulance, well maybe 5 or so, ended up arriving to aid one of them. We continued this slightly difficult path, climbed up rocks, and got to the final stop.
The views were breathtaking. Mountains in a 360 degree view and the large blue lake beneath us, it was our first taste of the real outdoors. Unfortunately, we only had a short time to enjoy the view and had to quickly descend back down because it was getting late and we had to catch the last bus back to town. Back at the bottom, we stopped off at a beach to watch the sun set and it was absolutely perfect.
This was one of many beautiful moments starting the Patagonia trip, but it was the first so you can imagine how awe inspiring it was.
We sprinted as we saw the last bus back to town coming up to the stop and made it in the nick of time. We got back the hostel to get some sleep for our early morning bus ride. The ride was early but pleasant, excited to start our car rental Patagonia journey. After our short lived trip here, we instantly decided that we HAD to come back after picking up the rental car. There was too much to explore and Uriah would probably say that the rotisserie chicken was too good to have only once so we will see!
Happy travels from U and B!