From Cerro Castillo we drove on to Coyhaique.. The only city in that entire area with an ATM. Yay. Also, apparently, the city with the capability to steal your credit card data. bleh. I got lucky in the sense that my bank blocked the card at the first attempt and no money was withdrawn, while a friend didn’t get so lucky. But we left the town unaware of what was set in motion there. (My bank blocked my card but didn’t think it necessary to inform me of anything.. I only found out a few days later when I tried to pay with it.)
From Coyhaique we drove on to Puyuhuapi.. The origin of the name of the town is unclear. In most restaurants one can find the poster above which can be summarised as: the name could come from a plant or a fish or something else.
My guide made it sound like Coyhaique and Puyuhuapi were both major hubs in the area. So we were a bit surprised when the bus kicked us out in the middle of the street about a kilometer from the town. We’d later find out that a) Puyuhuapi is barely large enough to be a village and b) that its three streets are currently under construction, preventing larger vehicles from entering it.
The location of the village is picturesque, however. We reached it in the early evening. At the very end of a long fjord, it crests on the shore. A layer of smoke hovers over the wood-paneled houses as most people here cook and heat with wood. The place emits a vibe of absolut peace and serenity.
Unfortunately our hostel made every effort to sour the stay. From the fact that foreigners do not seem to get eggs at breakfast to the cook that didn’t feel like making us anything but chicken when we enquired, we quickly realised we were considered a nuisance. In addition the land lady, after assuring us that the credit machine worked, ended up telling us that the 5 credit cards we tried must all be broken, because it certainly wasn’t her machine that was wonky. She basically walked away with all our hard earned cash… 300km from the closest ATM. We were a bit mad.
Luckily everyone else turned out to be absolutely charming and the grocery shop and the bus company mostly accepted credit cards (which worked there.. wonder oh wonder).
We also had an amazing day at the local hot springs: terma del ventisquero. Lying in the baking sun, with the hot springs completely to ourselves and even direct access to the sea. A great day spent doing absolutely nothing (but getting a sunburn, of course.. This is not optional for me if I spend a day in the sun)