The long drive...

Frutilla Travel Blog

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Beach front in Frutilla

I decided to take the Navimag boat from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. In order that I could see some of the coast line of Chile rather than fly and miss it all.

My journey has started off rather easy as my dad has volunteered to drive down to Puerto Montt with me so that I can catch the boat. Since Tuesday we have been gradually working our way down the route 5 road that joins Santiago to Puerto Montt.

A note about driving this way is that on route 5 you have to pay lots and lots of tolls. The roads are fantastic because of this but each one is approx $2.000 CLP, not too expensive on its own but after 10-15 of these it starts to add up. I see why lots of Chileans and tourists now take the bus down avoiding these charges.

On Tuesday we covered the bulk of the journey driving for around 9 hours from Vina del Mar to Temuco. We arrived late in the town so quickly booked into the first hotel we saw ��" which was a Holiday Inn. Not really the sort of place for a backpacker but my dad was with me. The hotel was nice and clean but not very atmospheric. Rates were fairly steep ($80 US dollars) but with little choice we decided to stay none the less.

The town of Temuco is not really a tourist destination so we found little to do here but we did eat at a nice restaurant called Lola’s (Thiers 898). They did really nice food and had a killer Pisco Sour. The staff obviously love Bob Marley in the place as they played the album 3 times.

On Wednesday we drove from Temuco to Valdivia but with a detour past Villarrica and Pucon. Both of these towns are situated on the lake Villarica. Unfortunately for us it was raining all day when we visited these two towns so we couldn’t get a good view of the lake and volcano. Although the trip wasn’t a waste as enjoyed wandering round the town of Pucon.

After our visit to the lake Villarica we drove back along the route 5 to Valdivia. We struggled to find a reasonable hotel here as it was pitch black when we arrived. However we finally found one called Hotel Melillanca. The hotel was nothing special at all and we felt overpriced in comparison ($56.000 CLP) to other four star hotels. The room we got was a good size, but I got lumbered with the bed next to the mini bar. That quickly got unplugged!

Villarica is a really buzzing town and I felt that if we had more time it would be nice to explore the area. If anyone else goes make sure you go and visit the fish market and look over the edge...greedy sealions are sitting there waiting for handouts!

Thursday we drove from Villarica to Frutilla via Osorno. Osorno was much like Temuco, we felt that there wasn’t much to do here. We tried to find a restaurant for lunch but after no luck decided to eat in the supermarket cafeteria. Frutilla is very different, it’s a really beautiful small town by lake Llanquihue.

We found a cute little hotel right on the lake front called Hotel Ayacara. Staff are lovely and speak fantastic English. Hotel rooms are comfortable, clean with large window facing the lake. Rates for the room were reasonable as well ($60 US Dollars).

The town has a very distinct German feel and there are lots of indicators of this. Hotels, street name and beers all show the links their German heritage. We ended up eating in a small restaurant called Guten Appetit! Steak was really delicious.

Next stage of the journey is to go to Puerto Montt  and onto Puerto Natales by boat!
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Beach front in Frutilla
Beach front in Frutilla
photo by: JenBUK