Coyhaique, Chile
45° 33' S 72° 3' W
Jan 02, 2004 19:54
Distance 112km

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Puerto Rio Tranquilo (2 - 3 January 2004)

We left at 16:00 sharp and at the end of the very small but beautifully situated town the paved road stopped and it was gravel again. Here we go again. As if I had not seen enough gravel the previous day. The road was a bit rougher than the Ruta 40 but the scenery was about 100% different. Today was a mountain drive over a steep, narrow and very winding gravel roads, very high along the extremely blue lake. No safety rail along the cliff edge and we drove with the lake deep down on the right hand side of the road, which means that we had to keep as close to the edge as possible, just in case there would be oncoming traffic. The driver was a bit safer than the one I had on the Ruta 40 but with to say that he was a slow driver is another thing. The weather was perfect. Hardly any clouds, which is unusual between mountains of this height. What a great drive and I started thinking about all the roads I have been on. After a while I gave up as I still could not think of a more beautiful drive than these 179 kilometers. It took us 5 hours, so the average speed tells you a bit more. The Becker family in Santiago was right. The Carretera Austral is an incredibly beautiful and exciting road.

Puerto Rio Tranquilo is a dusty 500 people town situated on the edge of the immense lake which south shore we had followed from Chile Chico. The town was situated on the western shore of the lake and had great views across as the lake was becoming smaller here. The bus stopped at a hostel in town and we got off the bus. The four Israelis stayed there so I decided to stay at the other side of town, about as far away as possible. I can not stand those people and did not want to see, hear or smell them for the rest of the day. Five hours on the bus was five hours too many already. After having checked another place I ended up in Hosteria Costanera, which was still expensive (P6000) but cheaper than the Hostal Los Pinos which charged P7500. I went back to Los Pinos however for a simple dinner, as it seemed to be the only place in town that was open and served dinner at 22:00. The place was quiet, what would you expect in a town like this, and there was only a group of 6 very old Germans who could have fought in WWII. Not very hard I guess otherwise there would not have been four Israelis on my bus, haha.

Photos / videos of "Puerto Rio Tranquilo (2 - 3 January 2004)":

Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Carretera Austral Along the Carretera Austral Tigre, Delta de Parana