Day Three of Travel Agent’s Trip to Chile

Day three of Travel Agent’s trip to Chile as part of the USTOA 2010: Out of Country Meeting in Chile was perhaps the most exciting and most strenuous so far.

I awoke at 8:30 a.m. for a two-hour hike up the Queulat National Park rainforest, located about a five-minute bus ride and five-minute boat ride away from our hotel, the Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa.

The excursion is included in the hotel’s rate and requires a guest to be in pretty good shape as it involves a good hour of uphill climbing, including some winding turns and a good chunk of stairs along the way. There is also a shorter option, but the views at the top of the mountain aren’t nearly as rewarding as the longer one.

The hotel provides all of the necessities, such as hiking boots since there is an ample amount of mud as it rains pretty much nonstop the whole time (and ponchos for the same reason). Make sure you wear some water-resistant pants, which can be purchased at the hotel. Jeans aren’t recommended since you can’t move as well in them when they are completely drenched.

When you reach the top of the mountain, you are treated to some pretty fantastic views of a massive glacier, although weather usually obstructs a good chunk of the view. The day we reached the top, a heavy coat of fog kept us from seeing the full glacier but the waterfalls, mountains and lagoon accompanying it make the hike well worth the journey.

I would suggest bringing your own hiking boots. Just make sure they are strong enough to withstand some mud or else you’ll be hiking shoeless as the mud it strong enough to hank them off and swallow them. The boots the hotel provided get the job done but, since they are made of some pretty stiff rubber, could deliver a pretty good beating on your feet.

Following the hike, our hosts at the hotel took us on a short, five-minute boat ride to another part of the island where we took part in a traditional Chilean barbecue, eating every kind of meat from pork to chicken to sausage and washing it all down with either white or red wine, or the local beer, Cristal.

Then it was time for some kayaking. The guides at the hotel will take you on kayaks that leave right from the hotel. We took about a 45-minute journey around the island and saw some beautiful views of Chile, including snow-covered mountains. There was no current or waves so pretty basic kayaking skills and moderate balance is all that’s required.

Then, when you feel like you’ve gotten your adventure fix, take advantage of the many hot springs available at the resort. I plunged into several hot springs to reward my beat-up body for a job well done before heading to dinner and then a well-earned deep sleep.

Keep visiting for more updates from our trip in Chile.