Day 13 – Puyuhuapi to Chaitén

Monday, January 13th

Distance – 197km, 80% ripio

Unlike yesterday, we got a pretty quick start out of Puyuhuapi after an unusual breakfast. The cabana made a porridge of barley an apples along with homemade bread and the ever present coffee.

We made our way north along the Carretera Austral retracing our steps past La Junta where we had spent an night on the way south. A little north of La Junta, Martyn stopped an pulled over. He then turned around and went 300 meters back down the road, stopped, put down his side stand, stood on his pegs and looked out of the hedge. Inquisitive beings that we are, we all turn around to see what was going on. I was hoping for the pudu deer, turned out be just another hanging glacier.

Hanging glacier north of La Junta

We took a quick trip of road to see if we could get closer but the official parking lot was just off the road so we turned around and headed back north. We soon reached the point where we had joined the Carretera Austral on our way south, Villa Santa Lucia.

Classy picnic spot

We stopped for a quick drink at the same store we had on the way in from Futaleufu and the Argentinian border. It was definitely gritty and matched our attire after 4 hours in the dust.


A little way north, we hit tarmac which ran until we turned off on the road for Chaitén, where we turned west to head towards to the coast. Chaitén is an interesting place. It was overcome by its namesake volcano in 2008 and covered with ash in a similar fashion to Pompeii. At one time it had a population of 1000s; today it is in the 100s.

Buried minivan

Walking around town you see some amazing sights like this half buried minivan.

Buried house

Nearby was this abandoned house, itself half-buried in ash from the volcano. Only one person died in the aftermath of the eruption as they were being transported on a ferry evacuation.

Dumping ground for ash

The beach goes out a lot further than it used to do. It was covered in ash and also became the dumping ground for ash from the town.

The still smoking culprit

The volcano is still active and you can see the emissions from the town today. The volcano erupted again in 2009 and set pyroclastic flows down the mountainside and destroying the forests. We saw some of the results north of town as we headed out.

The liberators street.

In every town, there is a street named after Bernado O’Higgins. I just love the Irishness of the Chilean liberator.

Small bathtub

After a long day of riding it is nice to soak in a tub. Unfortunately, I’m quite a bit bigger by the average Chilano.