From Los Antiguos we wanted to cross into Chile. I’d been told that there’s no bus going, but hitch hiking should be easy. Well… it’s really not. We ended up walking the 5km in the no man’s land between the Argentinian and Chilean border control. Once through customs we asked the custom officer to call us a taxi for the next 10km. It wasn’t our lucky day.
Arriving in Chile Chico, we were informed that a) there’s no ATM, so retrieving money won’t be an option and b) there’s no bus in the afternoon. Only in the mornings. Another day ‘lost’, spent lying in the sun and enjoying the view of the Lago General Carrera. Second largest lake in South America and over 600m deep. The next morning we took a mini-van to Puert Rio Tranquilo. We got lucky, with the weather, the view and the driver. A proud Chilean who enjoyed very much stopping at the big view points and even pointed out the one prehistoric guanako drawn on a rock on the side of a road. She even had a heavily used magazine on dinosaurs ready to show us the article about the dinosaur discovered in that area two years ago. The drive was along the lake for a few hundred kilometers. The deep blue of the lake, the mountains and the sky flowing into each other. It was just incredibly pretty. Probably the most beautiful stretch of road we’ve done.
Arriving in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, we found that the village is a lot smaller than Chile Chico. However, it’s quite well set up in tourist attraction. It therefore, of course, has a cerveceria offering self-brewed beer and some nice places to eat. In addition the main attractions are the Exploradores glacier, the marble caves and the laguna San Rafael. What it doesn’t have is an ATM and we were running seriously low on cash. Another thing it doesn’t have is an understandable bus system. We arrived and where told buses to Coyhaique leave every morning at 9 and 10. That’s it. Simple enough. But it’s 3pm, and there’s a bus indicating it’s going to Coyhaique right in front of us. When we ask what that bus is, we’re told “Oh, that’s the transfer”. What’s a transfer you may ask? It’s a bus going from Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Coyhaique, transferring people. But, for some reason, it apparently isn’t a bus. So with this newly gained information that there’s a bus at 9,10 and around 4pm we decided to visit the marble caves in the morning, then catch the bus in direction of Coyhaique.
In the morning, during the check out our land lady asks us if we’re planning on taking the 10 o’clock or the 11:30 bus. A bit confused, we look at each other. Apparently there’s another bus, that’s not a bus and not a transfer going at 11:30. At that point we just gave up and decided to simply stand at the exit of the village once we’re back from the caves and catch the first bus that would take us. It turned out to be the 10am one. I understand now why people usually hitchhike in this area.