Evening flight from the United States to Santiago, Chile.
Arriving in Santiago this morning, you transfer (in the same airport) to your flight south to Puerto Montt. Reaching Puerto Montt in the late morning you take a taxi (30 min.) to the Hotel Cumbres Patagonicas in the quaint Chilean town of Puerto Varas. With panoramic views of Lago Llanquilhue and snowcapped Volcano Osorno rising from it's eastern shore, Puerto Varas is one of the most picturesque towns in all of South America. The Hotel has sweeping views of the lake and volcano from it's expansive lawns and is a welcome reprieve from the long trip down. There is wonderful shopping in the town for hand-made woolen goods like sweaters and hats. That evening we meet our guide, Maria, in the Hotel lobby for a trip orientation and welcome dinner out on the town.
Important note: For those people who can not commit to taking off the extra day and are only able to leave Friday evening, there is the option of arriving a day later, skipping the Puerto Varas day/hotel and meeting us directly at the Paloma Airport in Puerto Montt at 11:00 AM. Saturday morning. There are a number of international flight that arrive early enough into Santiago to make this itinerary possible.
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, Maria escorts us by can to the commuter flight to Chaiten. The half hour flight is spectacular. Following the rugged coastline of Pumalin Park, wild rivers flow into deep fiords framed by verdant rain forest wilds that stretch upwards into the rugged snow-capped Patagonia Andes. Just before landing, we get a bird's eye view of the still smoldering Chaiten Volcanoe which three years ago buried 90% of the town. The cement like ash, deposited by swollen rivers, froze time, cars, houses and shops in pompaiiesque fashion. Since the initial eruption, a number of the residents have came back to salvage what was left of their homes and lives despite repeated government safety warnings. We arriving in Chaiten at mid day and board the bus for the river. The gorgeous 3 hour drive passes through a deep, glaciated valley with roaring rivers, giant lakes, glaciers and snow-capped peaks. We reach the Terminator Camp trailhead in the early afternoon and hike one mile into camp. (bags are transported by ox cart). (See "day by day" in itinerary menu for the rest of the intinerary and camp descriptions.)
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