Adventures in Patagonia

The Earth does not need me, but I need it in a way that I cannot even fully conceive of yet. — Shephali Patel, in the book ‘Spiritual Ecology’

The moment I pull the brand new inca hat with pink accents over my ears, my hol­i­day has start­ed. We have tak­en a break from the work to explore a bit of Patag­o­nia for a cou­ple of days. In Coy­haique the rain is pour­ing down, but soon we are high and dry in a car that is dri­ving to the south.

The road to Puer­to Río Tran­qui­lo (see the map below) winds its way through the val­ley; every bend holds a new view. The fresh­ly fall­en snow is like icing sug­ar on the moun­tains. High­er up it forms white plains that light up when the sun shines on them. We see a lot of for­est with lenga, a native tree species, as well as pine trees plant­ed in places where the for­est has been felled or burned in the past. Low hang­ing clouds glide like a thin veil along the hill­tops. A fast-flow­ing stream is mak­ing its way next to the road.

Lago Gen­er­al Car­rero, at Puer­to Río Tran­qui­lo (© Freddy)

It turns out that hitch­hik­ing is an excel­lent way to trav­el in this area. How­ev­er few cars pass by on some roads, we nev­er have to wait long for a ride. At Puer­to Río Tran­qui­lo we vis­it the two attrac­tions: The mar­ble caves and the glac­i­er. On the way we see par­rots, con­dors and hummingbirds.

Then we trav­el back and stay for a few days at Vil­la Cer­ra Castil­lo. We’ve asked around for a cheap hos­tel and have found the hospeda­je of seño­ra Yenifer. To all appear­ances it looks like a shed made from cor­ru­gat­ed iron, but it appears to be a com­plete­ly self-suf­fi­cient hol­i­day home with a stove, a fast Inter­net con­nec­tion and the best show­er we have had so far in Chile.

Hospeda­je Yenifer (© Freddy)

Fred­dy makes a day trip into the moun­tains. We also vis­it 3000 year old hand prints made with red paint on the rock. Such draw­ings have been found at many dif­fer­ent sites in this val­ley (Valle Ibañez). The muse­um explains that peo­ple moved from the pam­pas to the val­ley prob­a­bly 6000 years ago. Up to now, the pur­pose of these paint­ings is not clear. It could be part of a rit­u­al, for exam­ple the rite of pas­sage to adult­hood. There are too many of them for it to have been just a ran­dom hobby.

Hand prints from 3000 years ago.

A final lift from a lady who makes a detour espe­cial­ly for us, brings us back at the farm. The impres­sion that stays with me is the wild and unspoiled nature, with the majes­tic moun­tains tow­er­ing over the land­scape. As a human being I imme­di­ate­ly feel part of a pow­er­ful whole that I can­not dom­i­nate but that is my home. I can imag­ine how the peo­ple who left their hand­prints attrib­uted per­son­al­i­ties to the rocks, the riv­er and the forest.

Next week we will say good­bye to Patag­o­nia and make our way to the next des­ti­na­tion: The island of Chiloé. We will keep you informed!


  1. Hi Maaike it is so nice to read your blog. Great to hear about your adven­ture! I am real­ly glad for you; it looks like you are hav­ing an amaz­ing time!! X

  2. Hi Maaike,
    Thank you for the won­der­ful update. Your writ­ing is beau­ti­ful and I enjoy read­ing it.
    I hope your next des­ti­na­tion is as beau­ti­ful and fun as the this one, if not better. 

    Best wish­es for both of you.

  3. Keep blog­ging, I am enjoy­ing read­ing about your trav­els :) Patag­o­nia looks AMAZING :) xx

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