This is Ensenada, said the busdriver, as he kindly tried to get me off the bus. At first glance it felt like I was in the middle of no-where. Only a couple of buildings, a long black beach and dense forest beyond.
I can't really describe Ensenada. I had this weird feeling of a remote beach in Ko Samet (Thailand), mixed with Norwegian lakes and forest and finally topped with a volcano like Mount Fuji. Ensenada is like a coctail I have never tasted before.
First of all. There is no town centre in Ensenada. It can best be described as a long 2 km road with some few buildings along it (usually at a 200 metres frequency). It was pure luck that the busdriver dropped me off close to Camping Trauca, one of few listings in Lonely Planet. Since I arrived pretty early, I had a lot of available sites to select between. I ended up close to the beach, and it was unbelievable cheap, only 4000 pesos (7 USD) a night.
I spent the first day "sightseeing" along the earlier mentioned 2 km stretch of road. To my surprise I discovered 3 supermarkets tucked along the road. Well, mini-market is probably a much better term. None of them were self-service, thus very old-style indeed. When you want an item, you first need the attention of the shop-keeper, who will then pick the item(s) from the shelves behind him. Not very efficient, and very anoying when there are many customers in the shop. One of the shop-keepers even used pen and paper (actually it was tissue!!!) to do the maths and calculate the total.
Volcan Osorno - not a good idea
Later I visited a couple of adventure companies, to get the latest updates about Volcan Osorno. Difficult conditions and very hard ice (50-55 degrees inclination) they told me. Add the multiple crevasses, and it's not a wise place to travel alone and unroped. Besides, Conaf (the rangers) will refuse any solo climbers access to the mountain. Instead I was offered a guided service (125.000 pesos), but I was not interested and thus declined. Unless I stumbled upon some independent climbers in Ensenada, I would have to find something else to do the next day. A trip to Petrohue was probably as well interesting as doing "yet-another" volcano climb.
It was a gorgeus and sunny morning with Lake Llanquihue only few metres away from my tent. What more natural can there be than taking a morning bath in the lake. Well, the temperature was not very tempting, but I forced my self into the water.
At breakfast I wondered how to get to Petrohue. Public transportation is, according to Lonely Planet, very limited in this part of the region. Instead I rented a bi-cycle and started on the 16 km to Petrohue. Halfway I visited the spectacular riverfall at Saltos del Petrohue. The entrance-fee is 1200 pesos, but worth every pesos. It can get very crowded though.
The last 6 km to Petrohue was on a dirtroad and the heavy tourist traffic kept me in a constant cloud of dust. The hardship of travel, however, is often followed by a good experience. And Petrohue with Lake Todos Los Santos was one of those unforgetable, and beautiful places one ever can imagine.
Tomorrow (Feb 17) I go to Valdivia, the most beautiful city in Lake District. I will stay there for a couple of days before I have to return to Santiago and my flight back home (Feb 20).