Coyhaique, Chile to Puerto Guadal, Chile
Distance: 300 km (mostly gravel)
Time: 6 hours
After a good night’s sleep, we hit La Carretera Austral and headed south towards Hotel Haciendas Tres Lagos in Puerto Guadal for what was a relatively easy and unpredictable day. We experienced all three seasons in one day. Four, if you consider a heated van ‘summer’.
The Aysen Region is surrounded by green fields, ravines and plenty of waterfalls! It was a beautiful sunny autumn day when we left our hotel and drove up to the view point for a final look at Coyhaique. The scenery interchanged between vast lush fields and rocky terrains embroidered by waterfalls. A while later, we meandered up the mountains and enjoyed panoramic views of snow capped peaks that were powdered with fresh snow. We stopped for photos and rushed back in the car as snow flurries began falling. Oh my Winter! The farther away and south we drove, the fiercer the winds became until the narrow road opened up to a spectacular panoramic view of heavenly green hills lined by streams, rivers and waterfalls. We detoured into Cerro Castillo natural reserve and stopped by Puerto Rio Tranquilo for lunch.
It was spring already. We were driving into a dreamy vista outlined by the emotional General Carrerra Lake in high tide, shared by Argentina and Chile. In Argentina, they call it Lago Buenos Aires. Surrounded by the Andes, the lake was originally a glacier with a compelling geological history attached to it, I am in NO position to explain. However, what I CAN tell you is that the mesmerizing color of the lake has something to do with 6,000 years ago. Marble Caves (Cavernas de Marmol) started forming on the lake as the glaciers slowly moved and melted while waves carved out the caves and tunnels, weighing 5 billions tons! So we drove down to the lake shore, hopped on a private speed boat we paid a fortune for in Patagonia standards (USD20 each) and rode through choppy waves towards the marble peninsula, which includes tiny islets of marble caves, marble chapel and marble cathedral surrounded by azure waters shimmering on the structures. We slowed down, passed through the tunnels and at one point got off and stepped on these babies! *GAWK*
After an hour long boat ride, we headed towards our secluded five star ranch with rustic interiors nestled smack dab in the wilderness. It takes at least 6 hours to get to Hotel Haciendas Los Trios from anywhere, so I suggest staying at least 5 days to experience the true value of Haciendas Los Trios which includes spa facilities, a game room and excellent service. We gobbled down chicken breast on the delicious dinner set menu while fierce cold winds were pealing in winter.