Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Buying Online and shipping packages

We try to shop as locally as possible and we try to make do with what is available. We try to live like the average Chilean. But what do you do when you really need something that is not available locally? Well, we do have a few options.

1. Buy online here in Chile
This is not always so simple or easy as it is in the US. Many businesses don't have a big online presence. They may have a website but you can't order off of it (?) or they just use Facebook (not!).
So for example, I found out from my friend about a company call Tostaduria Puerto Rico in Santiago. They sell dry bulk items which is great because buying (10) 1-ounce bags of cinnamon is a pain in the neck. So you go to the website which has just lists of their products with no prices or sizes and you email them and tell them what you would like. They send you a price list.Then you find out what the minimum order is and tell them how much you would like of each item. Then they send you a cotizacion or quote of your order with the total amount due. Then you have 2 options - if you have a Chilean bank account (which I don't) you would send them a bank transfer  which takes 5 days to clear or you can go to their bank in the closest city and make a deposit which clears fairly quickly. The next day or so your item will ship from their warehouse by bus to your city of choice. When it arrives the next day you go pay for the package's bus ride and pick up your package. Wow, I feel like it's the 1980's!
Here is what I bought

From top to bottom 
Basmati Rice - 5 kilos for 3,077 pesos per kilo inc. taxes of 19% and shipping
Whole coffee beans from Brazil - 5 kilos for 8,430 per kilo
Polenta or grits if you are from the south - 10 kilos for 903 per kilo
Popcorn - 10 kilos for 1,128 per kilo
These came in 2 boxes and the bus ride was 13,000 pesos but prices above reflect shipping fees.
These prices are good deals as buying an inferior coffee in the grocery store in a 250 g bag runs over 10,000 pesos per kilo.


Here are a few other options for shopping online in Chile.

Mercado Libre is like the ebay of Chile and purchases are free from the 19% IVA tax.


Busca Libre is a search engine for Amazon and Ebay and other US stores plus it has Spanish and Chilean books. If you shop on Amazon through this website, it gives you the prices in Chilean pesos and the shipping accordingly which seems pretty cheap if it is coming from the US. I tried ordering a book and the shipping was only 1,990 pesos. My gripe is the custom regulations. This is the note you see if you try to order a vitamin or supplement. I am seriously bummed out!!

Warning: Due to customs restrictions, we can not import airbag, perfumes, makeup, skin creams, food, food supplements or remediesIf the product you're quoting is none of the above, proceed with the purchase. If the product is one of the above and continue with the purchase, we will refund your money.


Another interesting site for local products sold by locals is the Chilean version of Craig's List called Yapo. Ya is spanish for already but adding po to the end of words is distinctly chilean. Sipo! You can search for an item by region and they sell great things like chickens, rabbits, trucks, tractors, etc.


2. You can order directly from the US. 

Though you do have 2 choices. You can order directly from a company if they ship internationally and you will probably have to pay Chilean taxes on it. We have a friend here who ordered something worth $500 and when it arrived she had to pay another 19% tax on her purchase to the Chilean government. Or you can order it and send it to a friend and have them ship it down. We have a friend who has a shipping box. When we need something we have it sent to her and when the box is full she ships it down to us. Since it is personal, it is usually not subject to the sales tax. We had a 40 lb box one time that cost us almost $200 to mail. yikes! We don't do that much anymore.




This package above had a pressure canner part and cell phone parts for a phone Andrew was fixing so we labeled it replacement parts. It wasn't insured for much and had to have weighed less than a pound but we paid $22 for it and it took about 2 weeks to arrive. It was sent USPS and Correos de Chile (Chile Post Service).




This package only had a replacement part for our Coleman camp stove at 5 oz and $13 for shipping. I have heard Correos de Chile has a problem with items missing after customs inspections. I have never had a problem but my friend has had items stolen from the packages her mom sends.

And when you are worried about getting stuff and whether Chile has as much stuff as the USA remember this quote. A sentiment I am always working towards.


But there are two ways to be rich:
You can earn, inherit, borrow, beg, or steal enough money to meet expensive desires;
or, you can cultivate a simple lifestyle of few desires;
that way you always have more than enough money.

The secret of happiness you see is not found in seeking more
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less”.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

News in Review March 2016



Mounted Carabineros in Santiago
First Quarter economic news

http://www.focus-economics.com/countries/chile

Doug Tompkins was the owner of the largest tract of privately owned land in Chile. As of his death in December, Parque Pumalin, just south of Puerto Montt, will be handed over to the state opening up the lower third of the country for a new road to connect the far flung reaches of Chile. He has been a controversial figure in Chile. Find out why in this article.

http://www.elmostrador.cl/mercados/2015/12/09/por-que-era-tan-polemico-douglas-tompkins-el-millonario-ecologista-que-murio-en-un-accidente-de-kayak-en-chile/

WalMart in Chile

http://www.elmostrador.cl/mercados/2016/03/29/carrera-por-los-activos-de-walmart-en-chile-entra-en-recta-final-y-no-la-ganara-necesariamente-la-mejor-oferta/

The view of the Milky Way from the southern hemisphere is awesome and here is an article on the most comprehensive picture to date taken from an observatory in the Atacama Desert

http://www.thisischile.cl/the-most-detailed-picture-of-the-milky-way-was-take-from-the-atacama-desert/?lang=en

For hikers, new maps of Chile's senderos now available

http://www.thisischile.cl/alternatives-for-exploring-chiles-nature-trails/?lang=en


Salmon farms suffering losses - the hazards of factory farms

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/chiles-salmon-farms-lose-800m-as-algal-bloom-kills-millions-of-fish

The Unbelievable lottery but I wonder where they are getting the money from? I'll let you know if I win!

http://www.biobiochile.cl/2015/12/18/the-unbelievable-lottery-where-absolutely-all-the-chileans-are-going-to-participate.shtml

Marijuana is legal now in Chile but this farm is growing only for medical purposes

http://www.biobiochile.cl/2016/03/23/chile-is-reaping-the-largest-plantation-of-marijuana-in-latin-america.shtml

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lago Todos Los Santos and Petrohue


One of the most beautiful lakes in Chile is located just east of Lago LLanquihue and is surrounded by 3 volcanoes- Osorno, Puntiagudo, and Tronador.


A view of Puntiagudo to the north

A view to the east of Isla de las cabras (Goat Island)



A view to the east and south


Here is the town of Petrohue if you can call it a town. It consists of the Lodge in the upper right corner, the boat/bus terminal with a small snackbar, a post office, a museum, and a few houses. Yeah, I guess that qualifies as a town here!
The beach has beautiful black sand and there is swimming in the cool waters. You can go on a boat ride in one of the boats pictured here for 2-3,000 pesos per person (about 3-4$) 


I was a bit disappointed in the boat ride. It was 1/2 hr long but didn't go anywhere near the island and you could never get a good view of Volcan Tronador on the southeastern end of the lake. But you did get to go out to this cute little floating cabin ....


With great views of Volcan osorno.


Nice panoramic view with 2 volcanoes - Osorno on the left and the tip of Puntiagudo on the right




And here is the Lodge. Quite beautiful and modern. We stopped in for tea and cookies one rainy afternoon and were treated to this spectacular view below.




And here is the link to their website http://www.petrohue.com/

I haven't stayed there but I've seen the rooms and cabins and I would recommend staying and Trip Advisor has some pretty good ratings for it. The Lodge also offer excursions like fishing, hiking, rafting, kayaking, horse back riding, climbing, zip lines, and canyoning (?). Check out the website!


There is also camping if you can't afford the expensive price tag of $200 per night for the Lodge.
The campground is at the entrance of the Sendero Desolacion for the intrepid hiker. See my other post on this. No, I did not go! but my boys did and they loved it!


This is the only ferry on the lake and it goes to the only other town on the lake, Peulla. For 27,000 pesos ($40)for the day you can go over to the other side and spend the day at the Lodge there. Check out this link to see what you can do for the day in Peulla.
http://www.turistour.cl/tour/es/excursiones/lagos-y-volcanes/peulla-dia-detail



And here is a view of the lake from up on the Paso Desolacion on the side of Volcan Osorno.
 Just spectacular!







Thursday, March 10, 2016

Getting a Chilean Driver's License Part 2

He got it!
But it wasn't easy. They call it tramites (trah- me tays) here but I call it traum-ee-tays. These are the procedures usually associated with bureaucracy. The inefficiencies of government and its policies are often tiresome and lengthy but we played the game and followed the rules and were rewarded.



So here is how it went.

Day 1
Jim showed up at 9 AM on Tuesday morning. He waited just a few minutes and then got online for the computerized test in english. You have 45 minutes to complete 35 questions and you can only get 3 wrong. Jim got 4.  Don't ask how it happened. The english test was written by a non-native speaker and was a little awkward in spots, those double negatives were confusing, some questions were just stupid and he overthought them, whatever.... Come back tomorrow at 9 AM.

Day 2

Jim showed up at 9 AM to get behind 20 other people. He waited an hour just to get on the computer. He checked his answers carefully, made a few changes, and he passed with only 2 wrong. OK

Step 2 get in line behind 20 other people to see the eye doctor. Waiting and waiting. Phone goes dead. Waiting and watching mind numbing Chilean TV. Finally gets in - look through here and tell me what you see. BTW, Jim is pretty blind in one eye. Actually it is so bad his eye doctor didn't even give him corrective lenses. But he managed to pass even though a lot of the pictures were very fuzzy.

Step 3 On to the games for reaction times and coordination. The first one is a game where you tap the moving ball with a stick. Jim was a little too violent with this game and the lady told him "tranquilo!" I think he was a bit stressed out by this time. Then on to the coordination test. These tests are hard to describe and we got no pictures since Jim's iphone was dead.
He passed it all about 1 PM and they told him to come back at 3 for the driving test. So we went out for lunch and a few beers while waiting, (just kidding) Though I think he really needed one at that point.

Step 4 We show up at the parking lot for the driving test 30 minutes late because Jim didn't understand the directions. Good grief! Where's that beer? Well, fortunately, the other 20 people were in line in front of us so the instructor didn't notice he was late.  Jim walks over to the instructor between tests. The instructor asks Jim if that is his car? Yes. And you have a license from the US? Yes. I have had one for 30+ years. Ok. No problem. Let me see your RUT card and you can pick up your license tomorrow. Come at 9 AM for the photo. Yes!!

Day 3

Jim showed up at 9 AM for some paperwork and picture and then was back at 3 PM for his new license. It feels good to be legal!

And 30 days before March 8, 2022  Jim has to go in to renew his license with the vision and reaction tests. And you thought the US bureaucracy was inefficient!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Is Chile a Third world country?


Chile - clean and modern

Well, my daughter likes to make fun of me and says I live in a third world country but Chile isn't a third world country. Actually, the terminology does seem a bit dated. It arose after the end of WWII and was used to describe the capitalist countries allied with the United States and they are the first world countries including Western Europe, the UK and their allies. The second world countries are those of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc, China, and Cuba while the third world countries are all the rest, the neutral nonaligned countries. This broad categorization based on social, political, cultural, and economic divisions was a useful tool during its time but today things are different. Most people don't know enough of WWII history to understand this classification and for people today a first world country would be modern and affluent while a third world country would be poor and backwards and second world is somewhere in between.

So where does Chile fall in these categories? For the original meaning, Chile did not participate in WWII. It was a neutral unaligned country meaning a third world country. So says Wikipedia under the heading of "Third World" but under "World War II by Country" it says " initially Chile chose to remain neutral in the war, having close trading links with Germany. Later in the war, however, Chile distanced itself from the Axis powers, and the Chilean government took steps to dismiss pro-German military officers. Relations with Axis countries were broken in 1943, and in 1945, Chile declared war on japan, being the last nation to join the war. As with Argentina, by this time the war was almost over." So it was an ally entering after the attack on Pearl Harbor so that would mean Chile is a first world country according to NATO.

And what about the more modern sense of the word - poor under developed v. rich developed?

Chile is very modern and clean. Most of the poor live in homes with flooring, water and sewer, electricity, cell phones, and direct TV. Education is compulsory and literacy rates are high. The economy is growing and unemployment is low. The government is stable. Health care is modern and affordable. The highway system is modern and well maintained.  What else could you ask for?
Sounds pretty first worldish to me!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

First Day of School

                                Andrew's last first day of school in 12th grade or 4th (cuatro) medio and Thomas's first first day of school in 3rd (tercero) basico or 3rd grade

Yes, friends, my homeschooling days are over! Yoo hoo! and that is a big one after 18 years!
 Samuel will be attending the PreUniversity Pedro de Valdivia in Osorno to study for the PSU which is the Chilean equivalent of the SAT.  And then Thomas and Andrew at the Colegio San Vicente. This is just a school not a college that goes from K-4 to 12th. We decided to end our homeschooling days as living in Chile is just not conducive to that lifestyle and we have access to a free catholic school. In South Carolina, we were part of 2 large and active homeschool co-ops. Now I have one little boy all by himself and no support group with all its activities. And Thomas needs to learn Spanish and make friends here so we decided to put him in while Andrew was still attending. Having big brother upstairs will make the transition easier, we hope! BTW, Thomas speaks little to no spanish so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. And with his dyslexia he can't read english so the special ed teacher will have an interesting challenge to teach a little boy who speaks english and can't read it to speak and read spanish. And I will post more about the Chilean school system as far as I know about it, anyway!
Update on March 10- All is well at school. Thomas loves it and I have noticed a new confidence in him. He is not cowering behind my apron strings anymore. Though it has been only a week, he already has picked up a sore throat. Jim and I are loving the new found freedom and our peaceful days as we just enjoy being together without kids.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Angelmo Fish Market in Puerto Montt

Angelmo is the fish market on the bay in Puerto Montt. It is a colorful fish and artisan market that attracts a lot of tourists for the local seafood and crafts.

              A mix of restaurants, craft stalls, and fish market

                                           The tour boats

                Each dormer on the building is a different restaurant


                           Dinner with a nice view over the bay


            The salmon plate was around 8,000 pesos or about $11 which includes bread but no drink


                 We ate on the second floor at the end at Sra. Vilma's

      I still don't know what these are but one sees them at every feria
       I think they are dried smoked shellfish like clams or mussels

                             Two different types close up.
 I'm willing to try almost anything but these little things don't look to appetizing!



                              Sea urchin, a favorite of the gulls

                                                Kelp used in seafood stews

      I have tried these tasty little critters! It is a picaroco or barnacle and they are as tasty as lobster!


 And here is the crafts section with lots of cheap wood souvenirs and also some nice knitted products with local wool like mantas, sweaters, socks, mittens, etc.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Homesteading in Chile - Part 1 - Finding land


Quiet country road with blueberry farm on the left


Homesteading in Chile has its particular difficulties that may or may not be similar to homesteading in the US but I want to share our version of homesteading Chilean style!

The whole concept of homesteading and living a self sufficient lifestyle is a little foreign to most Chileans as 85% of them live in urban areas. Even out here in the farm country of the south the concept is puzzling to our neighbors after all you can't make your own Coca Cola! (that's what our neighbor said when we told her we were trying to be self sufficient) Many people own farms but live in the city, don't drink the milk they produce on their own dairy farms, kill and toss the bull calves instead of eating them, and rarely have more than a day or two's worth of food in the house. Though many grow a lot of their own food in gardens and greenhouses and live and eat simply, eating simply for Chileans means lots of bread. I'm not meaning to sound condescending, I'm just saying I have a different North American perspective that they don't always understand and that's ok!

Well, the first step in homesteading is to find your land. This in itself is very challenging as the only place with anything close to an MLS is Santiago. Realtors are not regulated and anyone can say they are an "immobiliaria" who knows a few neighbors who want to sell. So often they only know the properties in their own backyard. Finding property is all about who you know.The key here is to get out and meet people, talk to people and spread the word around that you are looking for property. It sure helps to know the language or bring along someone who does. Try to get a feel for the prices because many are quite willing to take advantage of a gringo.

But where in Chile? It is so large and has many different climates. I would suggest some travel to explore the different areas first. North of Santiago, which is centrally located, is very dry and includes the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world.These would be Regions 15 and 1-5. Probably not the best for a small farm because of the lack of water and water rights are a problem in the dry areas.  Just south of Santiago are the agricultural regions 6 & 7 with grape vineyards and lots of fruit trees. The climate is Mediterranean meaning warm to hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Land here is at a premium and you pay more for productive farmland. The 8th region is the home to large tracts of pine trees for the wood industry and the 9th region is Chile's breadbasket grain growing area while the 10th region is dairy country. The climate of the 10th region is temperate with mild dry summers and cool wet winters. I think land in these areas is fertile, productive, and relatively inexpensive. We estimated from all the different land we looked at in the 10th region that a good price would be around $2,500 USD per acre  or $5,700 USD per hectare. The 11th and 12th regions are cold, rugged, and remote and the land is probably cheap!

This eucalyptus grove would provide a lot of firewood

Here are a few tips on what to look for as you are looking at properties.

1. Is it big enough for your needs?
pasture and forest - we wanted a mix - pasture for animals - you need 1.8 acres per cow- forest for privacy and the lumber - you need a 10 acre wood lot to be self sufficient in firewood and firewood is the primary way to heat homes in this area - space for a greenhouse and an orchard

2.  How does the land lay? 
flat areas hopefully in the pasture and some hills for interest - we like a varied landscape and didn't want a pancake flat piece of land - move yourself in and see how workable the place is - where can you put your house and the barn, the vegie garden, chicken coop, orchard, etc.

3. Does the land drain well?
make sure you have good drainage- if the pastures are flat look for signs of wet grass and puddles which indicate a high water table or drainage problems

4. Is the soil fertile?
look at the soil - is it a deep, dark color and loamy? if you are going to live off the land you want it to be fertile- stones, clay or sand may make your life difficult

5. Does the property have good access?
make sure you have access from the road- one property we looked at you had to drive through someone else's farm to get to it and the drive was so rutted and filled with giant puddles that we actually had to drive through the pastures and gates

6. Does it have any running or standing water?
we wanted a year round running river or creek or pond for possible power generation or irrigation water or even drinking water- make sure you have rights to use it - in our water rich area this isn't a consideration but in many areas of Chile you have to be granted the rights to use the water running through your property

7. What utilities are available?
 we have power lines running through our property but the power company wanted $5,000 just to hook up so we went off grid with solar which we wanted to do anyway and we have no water or sewer utilities either which was fine for us as we dug the septic system (no permits needed) and pump our own water from a spring. We had the water tested for drinkability at the local farm supply store - internet is a consideration also- towns usually have high speed internet but not out in the country- dish service can be expensive and sketchy at best- a data plan through your cellular service may be your only option

These Pellin trees are a good sign of fertile farmland
Here are a few links to sites that list properties. I do not know and cannot vouch for either of these sites but it is interesting to see what is available.

http://www.chileproperty.com/

http://www.southernchileproperties.com/




Saturday, February 13, 2016

News in Review - February 13, 2016


Santiago from Cerro San Cristobal


I decided I need to be more aware of the news happening in my own backyard so I thought I would share a weekly or monthly (honestly , I don't know if enough exciting things happen here on a weekly basis :) review of the most interesting news stories in Chile. Though there are several news outlets online in Chile like the Santiago Times the best and latest stories actually come from the UK -the Telegraph and the Guardian.  The Santiago Times english version is outdated.  I love Chile news is a great website written in english but is offline a lot of times and the news is more blogish than news reporting.  Biobiochile.cl is another site with an english version though if you want to get local news you need to use the castellano version and let google translate it for you. And This is Chile website
has some great info about traveling, living, studying, and doing business in Chile plus some news on culture, education, tourism, sports, science, and much more. A really beautiful website.
 Since this is the first time I am posting news stories some will be older than this past week.

Smugglers steal rare albino falcon eggs

Corruption in Bachelet Family

Chilean miners feel cheated


Toilet paper collusion


The largest solar power plant in SA


Giant Waves over turn car in Vina del Mar- video


Chile is one of the best places in the world to do business according to Forbes


First image of a red super giant star from Chilean observatory

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Getting a Chilean Driver's License


The Municipal Building in Osorno
We received our permanent residency about a year ago and by law we should have gotten our Chilean driver's license but you know how life can be and the time just slipped by. Despite the rumors we had heard of expats being taken to jail and fined for not having a Chilean license and despite the fact that we could study and take the test in english (effective in 2015), we just kept procrastinating. We were banking on the idea that the local carabineros don't know much about foreigners and maybe don't know that we should have our chilean license. So we haven't had any problems yet! If you are just visiting Chile, you need a valid US driver's license and the Embassy recommends an International Driver's license which you can get from AAA but when we were pulled over the officer was not at all interested in that just the South Carolina license.
This week we went by the Municipal Building in Osorno to see what we needed to do.

The line was short- no number needed. I think the line is always short- most Chileans don't own a car. only 230 out of every 1,000 according to Wikipedia for 2013 (the US has 809 per 1,000 for comparison). Cars here are expensive and so is fuel and there is an extensive, reliable, and cheap bus system.

But here is what you must have:
1. Your RUN card aka carnet or cedula.This is your national ID card which you should receive when you are approved for temporary residency.
2. A document proving you have received at least an 8th grade education.

For us this was Jim's Bachelor's degree which had been notarized, legalized by the Attorney General of Florida, stamped by the Chilean Consulate of Miami, stamped by the Foreign Relations office in Santiago, and should have been stamped by the Education Ministry also in Santiago but the director of the office gave us a break since we didn't have this stamp and just had the document notarized again! by the local notary office next door.  It didn't matter that Jim has been driving for 40 years including cars, trucks, tractors, airplanes, and submarines. They wouldn't just issue another license. He has to go through the process which includes a written test, driving test, and vision test.
So Jim signed up to take the test on March 1. He will be taking the test for the Class B license for private car owners. Class A is for public transport drivers and Class C is for motorcycles. We paid 29,221 pesos around $40 USD

Check back next month to see if Jim passes his driver's test!
Here are some links of interest
the New Drivers handbook in English
http://www.conaset.cl/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/new-drivers-handbook-7-04.pdf
 a government services website called Chile Atiende - this link goes to the page on driver's license
https://www.chileatiende.gob.cl/fichas/ver/20592


Monday, February 1, 2016

Crime & Safety in Chile


The Carabinero station in Puerto Octay. You can find these offices in almost any small town always in green and white.We personally know several of the carabineros in our town and find them to be friendly and helpful. We heard that in Ecuador the police don't care about crime against gringos but it's not that way here. Our local guys stopped by our farm to welcome us and help us robber proof our farm. And you never try to bribe a carabinero. They pride themselves on honesty and integrity. It's not uncommon to find checkpoints in front of the carabinero station. They pull over every 3rd car and just check your license and to see if you have paid your local car tax. In the US, I always felt that the police were out to get you good or bad but I don't get that feeling here. Speed traps are uncommon and non-existent off the main highway and the carabineros don't engage in high speed chases to catch the bad guy.

Crime, especially theft, is notoriously bad in South America. In the cities, all the houses are behind bars. Pick pocketing and purse snatching as well as car theft are common.

We personally have not been affected by crime in the 2 1/2 years we have lived here. And honestly, I can only remember one instant in which I felt unsafe here. It was night and we were driving through a not so nice area of Santiago. There were parts of Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina we wouldn't dare go through even during the day. Jim had been almost attacked on at least 2 or 3 occasions doing appraisals in dangerous neighborhoods in the US.

Even in public housing here in our little town in the south of Chile, we feel safe. The atmosphere is different. There aren't gangs of kids hanging around with bad attitudes.

I joke that criminals in Chile are the non-confrontational kind. They may want to rob you blind but only behind your back!Violent crime is low and kidnappings and random shootings are almost unheard of.
Here are some statistics for you taken from this government website linked below and wikipedia.

https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=17197

For the year 2012
Murder rate is 3.1 per 100,000 and the USA is 3.8 per 100,000
That totals out to be 550 murders in Chile and 12,253 in the USA
This is the lowest homicide rate in South America.
So if safety is a concern, as it is for most of us, Chile is one of the safest places in South America.



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snakes in Chile ?!?!

Snakes in Chile?
Some city slickers believe there are no snakes in Chile!
Well, guess what?
There are.
Go to this link
https://patagonianaturejournal.wordpress.com/

and find out the real truth about snakes in Chile ....



File:Red milk snake.JPG
Photo borrowed from Wikipedia

Monday, January 25, 2016

Volcan Casablanca

In the Parque Nacional Puyehue are hot springs, a ski resort, and great trails for hiking. You enter this area through the town of Entrelagos. A very nice little town that welcomes Argentinian visitors through the mountain pass.


Heading east on Hwy 215 there are great views of the lake and Volcan Puyehue which erupted about 6 years ago. Here also is Termas de Puyehue, a fancy overpriced resort. You can find them on Trip Advisor with mixed reviews. But behind them is Aguas Calientes. I've done a post on this more affordable option to enjoy the hot springs before. If you continue on the road into the park, you can drive the 18 km on a dirt road up to Antillanca, the ski resort. We were up there in the summer so I'll leave a post about the ski resort for another time. In the off season though, for only 10,000 pesos (about $15) you can drive to the top of Volcan Casablanca and it's crater.

Here is part of the ski lodge and at the right is a gate and a sign that says "Al Crater" 10,000 pesos
To the crater, 10,000 pesos per car




A panorama of the crater



The road looking back towards the ski lodge





Our Toyota Prada  does great off road




The boys being adventurous and energetic as they are hiked out to that point to the left of Andrew in the above photo. And the rest of these pictures were taken from that view point.





This is looking south towards Volcan Puntiagudo and Lago Rupanco




This is such an awesome place! You feel like you are at the top of the world. And the funny thing is no one is ever here! I have never seen it mentioned in any guide books as a tourist attraction. We just found it by chance and the first time we weren't even sure if we were allowed up there as the gate was open and we just drove in.