The overnight stop in Coyhaique was a bit of a blur with everyone working on RIP to get it ready for the next day. We had hoped to look up the couple we met in Puerto Varas, Asha and Arijit, who are architects working in Coyhaique. They had told us that the town along with several others in the south of Chile have been designated as free-trade zones with no taxes on many items to encourage regional growth. Pity we didn’t have more time to look around but thanks to Giesella and her kitchen staff who started very early we were off at 7 am in the expectation of a very long day with a border crossing into Argentina.
The first 100 km were covered quickly on smooth concrete roads but then turned to fairly ordinary gravel roads through more magnificent scenery for the remaining 300 km. For more than 200 km we hugged the shoreline of Lago General Carreras which became Lago Buenos Aires across the border.
Towards the end of the drive around the lake there were some seriously corrugated sections around steep uphill and downhill hairpin bends which challenged everyone, especially Mike whose car is still cutting out. Thanks to one of his blog responders we learnt there is a fix – spring loaded needles, pity they are on the other side of the world and he needs them now!
The border crossing at Chile Chico was a breeze, very helpful immigration and customs people who were patient with our poor Spanish so we made it to our accommodation in Los Antiguos with time to relax for at least five minutes before going out to dinner. We’re all feeling seriously deprived of vegetables and if our first experience of Argentinian meals is any guide we could be suffering from scurvy within weeks.
We have a rest day in Los Antiguos to catch up with car maintenance and other stuff and then back on the road southwards on Tuesday. Not sure where the next internet will be so there could be a bit of a blackout. All going well for now.