Weekend Exploring Neighboring Cities and the Lake Region
It was a long week at Chol-Chol with three separate artisan visits. Sarah and I were able to accomplish a lot, but we were also excited to continue to explore Chile during the weekend. Since it’s summer, we want to take full advantage of the constant sun and high temperatures that has been consistently between 75-85 degrees. This weekend was no different (sorry for those back in the US / Midwest). Juan Manuel and Mily were headed to Osorno, as that is where Mily’s mother lives and she was going to stay there for the upcoming week. They invited us to head down that way and explore some neighboring areas. Given some different itineraries, we’d take separate cars but explore together. Of course, we were in!
We worked from our apartment in the morning on Friday (this seems to be a pretty acceptable and common trend as not many people head to the Foundation on Friday’s). We then met up with Juan Manuel and Mily and headed out towards Valdivia. We stopped in the town for lunch at a restaurant owned by Juan Manuel’s cousin – it was a good spot and we got some traditional Chilean food (which has been consistently great). We walked up and down the Riverwalk which got us excited for when we’ll be back in Valdivia in about a month with Sarah’s family. They have an annual festival called Valdivian Nights which is supposed to have floats go up and down the river at night – should be great. Anyways, after lunch we went on a bit of an adventure and drove about 45 minutes to the coast at a location called Pilolcura. It’s a remote beach that has some rock formations right off the coast that remind me of pictures of Thailand. There were a couple other people there but it was really off the beaten path and awesome. We walked up and down the beach, Sarah and I climbed on some rocks, and honestly just listened as the waves crashed into the rocks and coast. The weather was perfect and we just relaxed.
After about 90 minutes at Pilolcura, we drove back to Valdivia for a quick coffee/beer and then made our way to Osorno (which was about a 90 minute drive, via the paved highway). Juan Manuel and Mily were staying at her mother’s house so Sarah and I got an Airbnb for two nights in the town center. We opted for a more cost-conscious selection and just rented a room in a woman’s home (vs. renting a full property). The place was great, as the host was so incredibly nice and welcoming. We got to the place and she immediately greeted us with coffee and tea and talked with us. She didn’t know any English but she came prepared with her phone to use Google Translate. She spoke into that and it’d translate to English and we went back and forth for about 30 minutes. She said that Airbnb had changed her life as she has not had the opportunity to travel the world, but she mentioned that the world has come to her via travelers. She was so genuine, sweet, and welcoming.
After dropping stuff off at the Airbnb, we met back up with Juan Manuel and Mily for some dinner/drinks at a wine bar that Mily liked called Malafama. Juan Manuel knows his wine and he has been playing sommelier for us and selecting bottles on our behalf, which has been awesome. We got a charcuterie plate for the table and anticipated then getting some more food. However, when they brought out the charcuterie, it was massive (and so delicious). No need to order any more food haha. We just relaxed and chatted and we talked about how we want to get a corgi (you know, normal conversations). It was a great nightcap to a day of exploring.
Given that all four of us would be staying in Osorno on Saturday night, we decided to explore the Lakes Region all together in Lemmy. Therefore, we met up with Juan Manuel and Mily around 11:30 a.m. and then drove to Puerto Octay to seek out a quite beach to relax and possibly picnic for lunch. We were searching for Puerto Fonck, based on a recommendation from one of Mily’s past professors, and we quickly realized that google maps doesn’t like to find small towns in Chile. We got to Puerto Octay (a really cute town that Sarah and I want to return to eventually) and then asked for directions (well, Juan Manuel asked for directions – it’s what he does). We were pointed to some lake beaches and even found one that we liked, but the winds were so strong coming off the water that is made it very cold and so we didn’t last that long. We decided to call and audible and head to the town of Las Cascadas to do a little hike to a waterfall. This was a pretty simple hike – there were lots of families making the hike and it was about 40 minutes round trip. I’d consider this just another normal and beautiful hike if it weren’t for a little unique factor … a massive amount of large beetles constantly swarming for the entire time. As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed there was a good amount of them. As we started the hike, we noticed that everyone was carrying some sticks/plants to “shoo” them away. We quickly did the same and proceeded to hike and try to kill beetles at the same time. Apparently these bugs are very common in the summer in the lakes region and should like instantly disappear in the next week of two. Simply put, they were annoying (but pretty harmless).
After finishing the hike (and quickly getting into the car without any beetles), we went and got lunch at a “festival” that we passed on the way to Las Cascadas. It looked like a standard street festival with tents and shops except it was in a field next to a beach with a lovely volcano in the background (Volcan Osorno). We jumped around a couple of the food stations and got some meat on a stick, some empanadas, and a beer. We went down to the beach and walked around there for a little bit and just continued to soak in the weather and the views. It was glorious.
We had already seen a lot, but the day was just getting started. We continued deeper into the Lakes Region, seeking out Saltos de Petrohué. The drive from Las Cascadas to there was about 30 minutes and absolutely gorgeous. We were basically driving around the Osorno Volcano on winding roads near the lake. I had a hard time focusing on the road because I just wanted to look around at the scenery. We got to Saltos de Petrohué, which was a tourist attraction to see some salt baths and rushing water with the volcano in the background. It was pretty crowded, which is understandable given the views. We hung around that area for a little while and then continued to move along our Saturday adventure.
Our last stop for the day was to drive to Lago Todos los Santos, which is connected to Saltos de Petrohué, but is a separate late, where the water is as blue as Saltos de Petrohué. We encountered some gravel road (of course) but made our way to the lake and a nice quiet beach. We found a spot on the beach and relaxed as some boats took people on little tours around the lake. Honestly, I had wished that we had our camping equipment because I just wanted to stay there the rest of the night. The area was so beautiful (like everything else we had seen yesterday and today).
We stayed there for about 90 minutes and then make the drive back to Osorno for the night. We had driven away from Osorno most of the day, so had about 2 hours to get back home (via a more direct route). We dropped off Juan Manuel and Mily and then went back to our Airbnb before heading to dinner (just the two of us) at Aqua y Campo, which was a recommendation from our friend, Carly. The place was great. It looked like a cabin from the inside, was pretty empty (as we got there around 10 p.m.), and the food/wine was delicious. Sarah and I hadn’t really “dined out” just the two of us in a while (well, besides the awesome burgers at Beakers in Temuco). We enjoyed it!
We drove back to Temuco on Sunday morning, which was about 3 hours from Osorno. We were happy to get back to Temuco pretty early in the afternoon to relax and get prepared for another big week at Chol-Chol. It was an awesome weekend and we are lucky that we’ve had some awesome local guides in Juan Manuel and Mily. I know I listed lots of locations from this weekend, and honestly, we spent a lot of time driving. But that’s what you get with Chile, it’s really really long and things are far away from each other. See below for what I believe to be our route over about a 48-hour period. Needless to say, we’ve put Lemmy to work, but he’s performing beautifully.