13.03.2012 - 14.03.2012 25 °C
A gorgeous day on the road heading north on the Careterra Austral, surrounded by lush green hillsides and waterfalls as we drove down the middle of the valley. We stopped off in small isolated towns along the way to stretch our legs and get some food, as it was about a 12hr drive along the single lane windy gravel road. It was a great day full of fantastic scenery, and as we were sharing our mini bus with 5 local men and we felt a long way away from any other tourists!
When we pulled into Chaiten we were surrounded by shells of houses and ash strewn across the town, remnants of the ash eruption in 2008 which reached as far as Buenos Aires. The dominating Volcano Chaiten sat on the horizon, threatening its plume of ash and steam above the town. We stayed at one of 2 options, which was also the only restaurant in this ghost town! We did make it to the volcano about 20kms away from town, and undertook the couple of hours uphill clambering to view the lava dome over the top of the volcano which emits ash and steam, and we had a great view back across the valley.
The return trip back to town wasn´t easy due to there being no transport options! It involved waving madly at the one bus passing along the road that evening, which luckily stopped to let us two dust covered gringos on! With a sigh of relief we made it back into town just in time to jump on the cargo ferry to Puerto Montt...and saw a great sunset over the calm water as we sailed away from Chaiten!