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locations people travel

cerro castillo

We continued as a group of three after Kevin had left Coyhaique before us, as he has only two weeks of holiday, and Ariel got a flight back to Santiago. First stop was at the CONAF camping sixty kilometers south of Coyhaique.

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One more pass and we entered the valley of the rio Ibañez. Flo on the descent to the pueblo of Cerro Castillo, while the mountain with the same name is seen on the right, half hidden by clouds.

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Just along the main road when you enter the village, our first stop was this nice café which consisted of two old buses joined together. The menu consists mostly of burgers, which are huge, and they made quite an effort for the vegetarian version, which turned out to be the most delicious looking on our table.

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After checking out different campsites with either no person present or a lack of shade, we booked ourselves into the one closest to and with the best view of Cerro Castillo. The next day we started the trek.

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At the beginning most of the path was leading through forest. The horseflies kept us company, especially once out in the open, which luckily ended more or less at the point where the guided tours left their horses because it was getting too steep and slippery. The views were nice throughout the trek…

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the weather superb, as surprisingly during most of our time on the carretera, and there are great views of the mountain with its lagoon at the end of the trek.

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A great place to have a picnic with galletas and frutas.

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A perfect day trip, not too taxing even after some days on the bike. For me this was as well an endpoint. This was as far as i would be following the carretera to the south. The next day i said my goodbyes to Florian and Samuel, who would continue together to Villa O’Higgings and the end of the carretera austral whereas i would retrace my steps a bit and then continue to Puerto Ibañez from where the ferry over the Lago Carrera towards Chile Chico leaves.

 

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equipment locations people

carretera austral

Arriving in Santa Lucia at the Carretera Austral, i was somewhat taken aback when there was a perfect asphalt road starting just a few hundred meters out of the village. I’m not a dirt road fanatic in the sense that i grumble at any sign of asphalt, but in my mind the carretera austral was like patagonia, wild and rough around the edges. Recently a lot of stretches were paved and in others, works were in progress. Sometimes with explosives to make room for two lanes, and so some parts of the road are closed at certain hours. At least the second half towards Puyihuapi were dirt and i arrived somewhat relieved that at least some parts remained untamed.

At the plaza, i met Boris from the casa del ciclista in Coyhaique. Some minutes later Samuel from Spain, and since two years a resident of Santiago, arrived and we had a cyclists’s chat.

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There is a hostel next to the lake which also offers camping. After dinner we were presented with this view.

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Back at the hostel i met Flo from Germany who was travelling with Ariel from Santiago. They both had participated in the race in Futaleufu the day i was passing through. The next morning they started early but we made plans to catch up later as we all in to intended to make a stop at the hanging glacier in the Queulat National Park.

There is a campground at the side of the road which was already packed with other cyclists and an old bus who now served as common room and sleeping quarters. In the afternoon we first walked to the mirador which is a two hour walk uphill.

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When we got down again we found out that the fifteen minute walk to the lagoon at the bottom is not only shorter, less streneous but also offers views just as good.

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We thought about taking a swim and the colour of the water looked inviting, but after wetting our feet we were content to leave the rest of our bodies unfrozen.

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In some parts the influence of which part of the globe the people came to settle here is obvious. Not only the name giver to this bridge but also to one of the many local beers or cerveza artesanal.

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The paved part towards Puerto Aisén doesn’t see a lot of traffic and for the better part of it, we could cycle side by side occupying one lane while chatting. Here with Flo and Sam, who took the photo.

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In one of the villages we met Kevin from San Francisco and continued as a group of five. Only some kilometers from town we found a nice camping next to Lago Las Torres. We had a swim and relaxed at the shore until it was time for dinner. Here with Kevin, myself, Ariel, Samuel and Flo.

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We had our share of bike problems: broken racks, punctures, a snapped spoke and trouble with the brakes. While working on Flo’s broken rack,

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Ariel preferred to have a siesta.

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Water is plenty around here. If you are not seeing a waterfall on the side of the road…

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you’re likely to follow a lake or a river.

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When arriving in Coyhaique, we first had a hearty lunch in a restaurant before making our way to the casa del ciclista and occupied the last remaining space in the garden with our tents.

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Boris was still on his way to Puerto Montt but his friend Paulina took care of the place. Such a lovely person and such a great group of people we had to pleasure to meet during our stay.