Vacaciones en la Carretera Austral, final de los 420km en bicicleta: Lago Yelcho, Termas el Amarillo y Chaitén / Holidays in Chile's Carretera Austral, end of 420 km of mountainbiking: Lago Yelcho, Termas el Amarillo and Chaitén


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South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral
January 15th 2010
Published: September 16th 2012
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Este es un blog en español e inglés. / This is a blog in Spanish and English (the English version is at the bottom).



De Villa Vanguardia partimos al Lago Yelcho. Ese día pasamos por Villa Santa Lucía y paramos ahí para almorzar. Compramos algunas cosas en un minimarket, dimos una vuelta por el pueblo y después almorzamos (sandwiches) cerca de la plaza.

Después del descanso seguimos pedaleando y nos tocaba subir la "Cuesta Moraga", otro de los sectores difíciles de la Carretera Austral. Como ya habíamos pasado la Cuesta Queulat, esta nos pareció bastante más fácil y sin darnos cuenta, llegamos a la cima. Después, la mejor parte de la cuesta; la bajada.

Y seguimos pedaleando hasta llegar al Lago Yelcho. Ahí hay un camping de lujo, a orillas del lago. Hay un hotel, cabañas (por $92.000 la noche) y un camping. Nosotros optamos por el camping, a $6.000 cada uno. Aparte de nosotros, había una sola persona acampando, por lo cual estábamos casi solos. Los baños de los campings eran realmente espectaculares; los mejores que tuvimos en todo el viaje. Baños limpios y amplios y duchas calientes con un buen chorro de agua. De todas maneras valió la pena quedarse ahí (http://www.yelcho.cl/sitemap.htm)



Esa noche, cocinamos con la cocinilla que andábamos trayendo, pero complementamos la comida con cervezas que compramos en el hotel.

En la mañana teníamos una vista espectacular del lago y nos tomamos nuestro tiempo para tomar desayuno. Ese día teníamos que llegar al pueblo el Amarillo, penúltimo destino antes de llegar a Chaitén, en donde tomaríamos una barcaza para llegar de vuelta a Puerto Montt.

Llegamos al pueblo El Amarillo en la tarde y fuimos a preguntar por alojamiento. Estuvimos a puntode quedarnos en el pueblo, pero nos enteramos que a 5km de ahí, en medio del parque Pumalín, había un sector con aguas termales, las termas "El Amarillo". Para allá partimos. Fueron 5km de casi pura subida, pero el esfuerzo valió la pena.

Efectivamente, habían piscinas termales y un camping, pero quedaba un solo sitio disponible y no era muy bueno. Al lado de las termas había un Bed & Breakfast bastante particular: ahí vivía el dueño, solo y tenía una pieza para arrendar, por 60.000 la noche. El lugar eso sí era espectacular, con una piscna termal en su interior y la pieza era grande, con tres camas dobles separadas entre sí, baño privado, estufa a leña, muebles y una excelente vista a un río que pasaba por fuera de la casa. Decidimos pagar los $20.000 cada uno y quedarnos ahí, pasando cómodamente la última noche en la carretera.

Aprovechamos de estar un par de horas en las piscinas termales del camping y cuando cerraron, todavía podíamos usar la de la casa. En la noche el dueño (no me acuerdo cómo se llamaba), nos dijo que podíamos sacar lo que quisiéramos de los 3 refrigeradores que tenía en la cocina y nos acompañó mientras comíamos.

Al parecer le caímos bien y abrió una botella de vino y depués una de pisco. Era un tipo de Viña del Mar (la misma ciudad en la que vivíamos los 3) que se había ido a vivir Al Amarillo hace algún tiempo. Era bueno para la conversa y nos reímos harto (él tenía una risa aguda muy divertida y particular). Encontró interesante que estuviésemos recorriendo en bicicleta y nos contó que no había tenido huéspedes que estuvieran haciendo lo mismo. En general los ciclistas andan más apretados de plata y por lo general sólo acampan.

Pasamos una excelente noche en ese lugar.

El último día de pedaleo: debíamos llegar a Chaitén, que estaba a unos 30km de las termas. Nos hicimos sandwiches para el almuerzo y nos despedimos del dueño del B&B.

A medida que nos acercábamos a Chaitén, todavía se podían ver los vestigios de las cenizas producto de la erupción del volcán Chaitén en Mayo del 2008. Al llegar al pueblo, nos encontramos con un pueblo fantasma. El gobierno había intentado crear la "Nueva Chaitén", pero muchos de sus pobladores se negaban a evacuar el pueblo y se mantenían ahí, aún sin servicios básicos como electricidad. Agua potable creo que había en ciertos sectores. Después de recorrer y sacar fotos, nos dirigimos a la Capitanía de Puerto de la Armada. Ahí habían dos funcionarios y después de identificarnos Víctor y yo (ambos oficiales de la armada), nos dejaron pasar y utilizamos el baño e hicimos hora mientras esperábamos la barcaza "Pincoya", que zarpaba a Puerto Montt a las 20:00. Ese día habían elecciones presidenciales y aprovechamos de ver los avances de las elecciones.

A las 19:30 partimos al muelle para embarcar, subimos las bicicletas y después nos acomodamos en los asientos tipo butaca de la barcaza, para quedarnos dormidos viendo películas piratas que pasaron en el canal de circuito cerrado.

Llegamos a Puerto Montt el 18 de Enero a las 8:00. habiendo finalizado oficialmente nuestro recorrido por la carretera austral. Nos dirigimos a la base naval en donde habíamos dejado el auto, tomamos desayuno y nos duchamos ahí y depués fuimos a carabineros a dejar constancia por no haber votado el día anterior, ya que estábamos a más de 200km de las mesas de votación.

Una vez terminado el trámite, partimos de vuelta a Viña del Mar. Como a 1 hora antes de llegar, pasamos al "Sesamo Sandwich", una excelente sandwichería que queda entre Santiago y Viña del Mar y qué mejor para dar fin a una de las mejores vacaciones que hemos tenido.



Descansando en la Carretera Austral





Subiendo la Cuesta Moraga





Downhill Cuesta Moraga





Camping en el Lago Yelcho





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From Villa Vanguardia we rode our bikes to the Yelcho lake. Along the way we passed a small village, Villa Santa Lucía and we stopped there to have lunch. We bought some things in a small store, we took a quick tour of the village and went to the square to make sandwiches for lunch.

After a short break, we had the "Cuesta Moraga", another long uphill ride, but not nearly as difficult as the "Cuesta Queulat" which we had done some days before. The "Cuesta Queulat" made the "Cuesta Moraga" seem like a walk in the park. Without even noticing, we made it to the summit. From there we had a nice ride downhill of several kilometers.

And we continued pedaling until we got to the Yelcho lake. There's a very good camping site there that has a hotel, cabins for about 90.000 CHP (that was out of our price range anyway) and a good camping site for 6.000 CHP each, which we opted for. Besides the three of us, there was only one other person camping there. The site had very good bathrooms, big and clean, with probably the best showers we had in the whole 4 weeks. The place is totally worth staying at. The view of the lake is also spectacular (http://www.yelcho.cl/sitemap.htm).

That night we cooked a simple dinner with our camping gear, but to go with it, we bought beers in the hotel.

When we woke up the next morning, we took our time to have breakfast while we enjoyed the magnificent view of the lake. That day we had to get to a small town called "El Amarillo", where we would spend our last night in the Carretera Austral.

We arrived in El Amarillo in the afternoon and started asking about places to stay in. We were almost about to get a room in a small hostel, but we found out about a camping site with thermal baths about 5km from there, in the middle of the "Pumalín" Park, so there we went ("Termas El Amarillo"). It was about 5km of almost all riding uphill, but it was totally worth the final effort.

In efect, we found the camping site with the thermal pools. There was only one camping spot remaining and we didn't really like the site. Just beside the pools, there was a Bed and Breakfast that belonged to another person. He had only one room to rent, but it was huge; with a nice fireplace, excellent view, private bathroom and 3 kingsize beds, with ample space and furniture included. There was also a small indoor thermal water tub. All for $60.000 a night, which we split between the 3 of us. It was nice spending the last night in such accommodations. Right after settling in, we went to the thermal water pools and stayed there until they closed them and then we could still use the indoor one in the B&B.

The owner (I can't remember his name) said that we were welcome to take whatever we wanted from the 3 refrigerators he had in the kitchen. He joined us while we cooked and had dinner.

Apparently he liked us and the trip we were doing and he opened a bottle of wine and after dinner, a bottle of pisco. He was a guy from our same city, who had gone there to live by himself and from time to time had visits from his kids. He was very talkative and had a very funny particular laugh. He found it interesting that we were doing the Carretera Austral by bike and that we were spending the night there. He said most bikers were usually on a budget and just camped anywhere, so he hadn't had guests like us before. We spent an excellent night in that place.

The last day of pedaling: we had to do the last 30km to Chaitén. We made sabdwiches for the way and said goodbye to the owner of the B&B.

When we were aproaching Chaitén, we started seeing the vestiges of the destruction caused by the Chaitén volcano, which erupted in May of 2008. When we arrived in the town, we encountered an almost uninhabited place, very much destroyed. The government had tried to build a new town, "New Chaitén", about 10km from there, but some people refused to leave, staying there without basic services. There were a few places that had potable water and generators for electricity.

After walking along the remains of the town and taking photos, we went to a Navy office where there were two people working there. Víctor and I identified ourselves (we're both navy officers) and we asked to use the bathroom and stay there while we killed time before embarking on the barge "Pincoya" that would take us to Puerto Mont and that was due to leave at 8pm. That day it was presidential elections day, so we followed the news of that day on TV.

At around 7:30 we went to the small harbor, got the bikes in and we sat down in the comfortable armchairs and fell asleep watching movies that they played in the TV closed-circuit.

We arrived to Puerto Montt at 8am the next day, having officially finalized or Carretera Austral trip. We went to the naval base where we had left our car, had a shower and breakfast there and the went to a police station to leave notice of why we hadn't voted the previous day (in Chile people can only vote in their designated areas and if they're further than 200km away from the voting place, it's a valid reason not to vote). If you don't explain why you didn't show up to vote, it's considered a law offense and you can get fined.

After having done that, we drove back to Viña del Mar (about a 14 hour drive). Víctor and I took 4 hour turns to drive. About an hour before finally arriving, we passed by a sandwich restaurant called "Sésamo" in route 68, where we had one last good meal to end one of the most memorable holidays we've ever had.


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