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Biking & Baking in Las Alpujarras

We've been in Spain for over 4 years now - plus 4 motorbikes - and a horse - join us for the ride!

More thoughts on Patagonia travelling
05 March 2013 @ 00:02

I've had time to start reflecting on our trip and to focus on the best elements..and what information anyone else might find useful if they went in that direction.  First of all, our itinerary was as follows (geographically):

Getting there: Granada - Madrid - Buenos Aires - San Carlos de Bariloche.  All very smooth, with at least 3 hours in each airport which allowed for transfers to different terminals, collecting the suitcase etc.  We used Iberia inside Spain (great new Nostrum planes, delightful staff) and Aerolineas Argentina for the rest (not too bad except for dreadful 'soothing' music at take-off and landing and somewhat indifferent food, plus a long time to be sedentary...).

We had 1 night in Bariloche (Hotel Tyrol was excellent)  then took a bus down the lakeside, caught a day boat tour to the end of Lago Nahuel Huapi and walked for 2 days mostly through forests via the Paso de las Nubes through to Pampa Linda and Mount Tronador.  We slept that middle night in our bivi's after a long day's hiking and were most glad of a) mosquito nets for our heads and b) Steve's brew of tea. We spent about 3 days at Pampa Linda on a wonderful but simple campsite (you can stay in the hotel or a refugio).  The weather was great, we went riding and walking and ate some reasonably good food (the hotel does the best breakfasts).

Then we took buses via Esquel and El Bolson to get to Futaleufu in Chile and eventually Palena.  A taxi from Palena got us to 'the end of the road' and we then walked for about 4 hours, including crossing the Rio Tigre in bare feet, to reach Alto Palena and the ranch.  The link for this is and you can walk, climb, ride, fish and amble about in the most gorgeous surroundings.  There's also a lot of river kyaking and rafting around Futaleufu and I swam there in the river.

Our next destination was Alto Mapucho but I can't recall which buses we took back into Argentina...we certainly ended up on a private boat across Lago Puelo and then a 2 day walk back across into Chile (heavy rain) and then an hour in another boat all the way down Lago Azul to the homestead of Giraldo and Azalea...their lovely horses and more fishing!  They have cabanas you can stay in and will also cook meals etc.  Take some mite/flea powder though because something 'got' us whilst there which we never completely got rid of until we got back to Spain...itch, itch...

Eventually we ended up in Puerto Varas and took a 6 hour bus ride back to Bariloche, then a flight to Buenos Aires (more on that next time).  The buses are excellent although the  bigger distance ones have  to be booked in advance at one of the fairly numerous ticket offices; local ones you pay as you get on or off.  Prices are low (15 euros pp for that 6 hr return trip) and there are coffee/toilet facilities on board.  Chilean roads are almost all unsurfaced so don't expect luxury, just enjoy the people and the roads!  If no bus comes, stick your thumb out and hitch a ride...we did and met some lovely people from Santiago de Chile who spoke excellent English.

We could have spent less on B&Bs and done more camping, we could have skipped the boats and gone the longer routes using more buses, but in the 20 days we had, it was the longer stop-overs that counted the most.  And the deep, mysterious, lush forests...high snow-covered peaks rumbling with the sound of collapsing glacier blocks...eagles, condors, river birds...amazing mosses, wild fuschia bushes, semi-wild pigs and cows...and so many horses...

More next time!




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