Chile and Puyehue

March 10, 2008

From Villa la Angostura it is only 40 km to the Chilean border, so we figured we’d give it a look. We drove around the lake a bit more and then headed toward a low pass in the mountains. I had this vision that we’d be getting high into the Andes by crossing the border–and the range–but we stayed below tree line the whole time. None the less, it was beautiful and the high peaks made a stunning back drop.

We went through customs leaving Argentina, then drove another 17km to go through Chilean customs. More than anything, they seemed concerned that we had the correct paperwork for our rental car. Also, they are pretty strict about bringing any fresh food into Chile. So, we had our papers in order and Anders ate the last banana as we awaited the border crossing. That kid would be happy eating only bananas all day long.

Argentine border

The Argentine border crossing.
Argentine border again

Looking the other way at the Argentine border. We had a little time to spare here, but it went fairly quickly.

The Chilean side of the Andes was much more lush and heavily vegetated–as you would expect the west side of the range to be. The rivers were bigger and more ferns lined the road.

cone sign

This sign describes the basalt cone you are about to see…
cone

The basalt cone, but wait there is more!
cone close

…the basalt cone up close!
chile

Crossing into Chile.
rotary sign

For Big H.

About 30 minutes into Chile we arrived at Termas Puyehue–Chile’s only 5 star resort. I kind of want to move in there. We got the day pass (the cheap rooms run around $300 a night) to use the hot spring pools. Our pass also included a fabulous lunch buffet and tea service. Apparently, we could have taken advantage of the activities and other amenities since it is all inclusive.

swimming

Anders and I swimming at Puyhue. He loved the bubbles.
Henry and Anders in the indoor pool.

Henry and Anders in the indoor pool.
indoor pool

Another view of the indoor pool.
middle pool

The middle pool–for lap swimming. We didn’t try out this pool as it was a little cool for lounging and soaking.
outside pool

The outdoor pool with the lodge in the background and a European man in short shorts in the middle ground.
Lodge entrance

Entrance to the lodge.
Garden

One of the gardens.
pampas

Pampas grass grows all over Southern California as an invasive. Here it is seen in its natural habitat (Chile and Argentina–not a parking lot).

As we soaked in the pools I dreamed of staying there a few nights, getting a massage, hiking the trails that leave from the property, enjoying the gardens, utilizing the babysitting service and generally living the good life.

But, instead we had a great afternoon and left when Anders lost it during tea. When you’re tired, you’re tired.

Salto los Novios

Chilean waterfall–Salto los Novios
Salto los Novios again

Salto los Novios again, but closer.
Andean splendor

Andean splendor as we pass back into Argentina
Andean peak

Andean peak

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