One of the most interesting crossings that we did during our stay in Valdivia was visiting the Chaihuin Community, famous because of the very little knew Chaihuin Fangs and I say little because I never listened of them before.
It was a cold June morning, I was willing to get of the bed and to face my first challenge of that day that was to move my beautiful Natha away from morpheus arms, there were about 4 hours left to the sun rising, basically it was coming up at nine in the morning, so nothing more easy that waking up about five in the morning with almost five degrees outside the window, possibly less than that.
After a couple of minutes, already woke up and dressed we started our usual walk of five kilometers at about six in the morning when possibly in Valdivia were about three people, four dogs and two venezuelan Nomads walking the streets at that very moment.
Already at the center of Valdivia at about a few blocks to the fluvial market, we took the bus to Niebla, it was the first bus we took in Valdivia, but it has sense to be because it was a 30 minutes travel on it for about 600 chilean pesos, fare that we would pay if we wouldn’t pass our stop, it turns out we should have warned the driver that we were going to take the ferry to the Corral Island, I told him of course after crossing the ferry, the boats, the houses and when we were almost arriving to Niebla, where we were left and been told something basic “cross the street and wait for the bus to go back”.
When we arrived the ferry, obviously after taking the bus back, we had the luck of missing it and we had to wait for a few hours for the next one and I say luck because people there at the local told us that if we wish to travel the quickest way possible, we should walk a few meters down hill and we’ll find some boats that also go to Corral and with more frequency and also cheaper.
View from the hill where you take the ferry
At this time of the story, by habit every time I heard that a boat was taking me from Niebla and Corral I swear it was a “peñero”.
When we were walking to the place where they sail, I just could picture myself the disastrous story about a “peñero” with ten people at about eight in the morning and without sun because we already had two hours left for it to reach to the mountains, at the end it turned out to be a pretty decent and wide boat it was the little sea bus above the sea, it turns out that everybody who works at Corral take it every second and it cost about a dollar each.
The boats traveling between El Corral and Niebla every day
View of Dock del Corral
Already at Corral after a short trip on the sea, we were looking for the place to take the bus to Chaihuin, from monday to thursday this bus has only four parting hours all day and the first parts at 10:30am, this is the answer to all our race to get up early, to take a bus at seven in the morning and take a boat before the sunrises.
After the tourism office informed us that we must look for the Corral terminal because the bus was parting from there. We walked a few blocks to the place where the terminal suppose to be and we didn’t found it, we asked again to the locals and they pointed to us the exact same place and we still didn’t spot the terminal of this town, it wasn’t until the third time that we asked when we realized that we possibly were ignoring something on the same street we had cross three times, after thinking for a second at the half of the road and look around, we saw a tiny yellow box that Natha named a container with a roof, and was basically that, it turned out to be the Corral Terminal, inside we could drink a coffee and warm our souls while we wait the bus that was bigger than the terminal and as it was normal in all Chile it arrived a few minutes before the time and it parted on time.
Corral terminal, Natha named a “Container with a roof”
School in El Corral, along the pillar, the pillar arrow indicates the maximum height reached by the sea in The Tsunami of May 22, 1960 at 15:20 hours, about 10 Mtrs.
There were 30 kilometers skirting the coast until we arrived to Chaihuin, the bus left us right at the tourism office, so basically it is the only representative structure at the area that helps you to know you came to the right place.
At the tourism office I made my usual question that if I could watch whales to the guide, and he say it wasn’t the season, but if you are lucky you can see them close to the coast, then we made the less interesting questions, like what I could visit there at Chaihuin to kill time until the last bus to Corral came up at 4:00pm.
Our options were simple we could go to see the Chaihuin Fangs or we could follow the paths that go to the mountains and search for viewpoints, at the end we decided to start by the Fangs that were the main attraction we went there to visit.
There was only a route to get to the fangs and the guide just told us to cross the bridge to Huiro and find a sign that points to the entry to the paths, great the bridge was close and already in 15 minutes we had already crossed it, but after cross it we went to a mental conflict because there was no sign that said this is the way to the paths of Chaihuin Fangs or to Huiro, there was only a sign that pointed to some houses on the left of the road, we were there ten minutes discussing between the two of us on what to do and at the end we just start walking the dirt road that was in front of us without knowing for sure where it went.
At half of the way we could watch something that was getting close to us, a creature, I was basically asking to Natha if it was going to attack us every 20 seconds, while we were getting close to it I wasn’t sure it was an ox, a bull or if the horses may have udders, at the end it was a cow, all soak, with some mud and it was as sceptical as I was because when it saw us walking it stopped for a moment to ask itself if we were squirrels, monkeys or if camels walks in two legs.
When we past our first confrontation with the animal nature, we found the well known sign that points to the path, it is at about 3km away the bridge, already there it’s about 120 meters to the Paths of the Chaihuin Fangs.
Sign pointing the location of the paths to observe Chaihuin tusks, about three kilometers Bridge Chaihuin
Arriving to the paths you are very welcomed by a map and a sign that makes you feel you might have WiFi in some places of that area, the path is a different world, made entirely of wood and surrounded by wildlife, it takes about an hour to walk it completely, not so long but it’s worth it and at every point you’ll have information of the wildlife of the place and all this to get to the viewpoint where you can watch the Chaihuin Fangs and big part of the coast, a magnificent place.
Paths leading to the Fangs viewpoint Chaihuin
When you are finished with the viewpoint you can keep walking the path to the other way or go back to the place you came, the other way took us to the beach we could see from the viewpoint, at that time we didn’t knew but if you walk around the beach a bit you get to some dunes, from the beach we didn’t saw beyond the cows and we turn around to continue the path and get away from it.
Then we went to the tourism office and begin to walk the other path that got us into the mountains, after walking for awhile we arrived to the first sign that announced to us we had come to the National Park Alerce Costero, here we found more signs that pointed to different viewpoints and all with the distance you’ll have to walk, we followed the shortest way because we were tired and there were almost four o’clock at the afternoon.
Here we went to the classic dirt paths surrounded by wildlife, after 15 minutes walking we found a viewpoint that didn’t have a very welcoming view of the place, but from it we could see closer the wooden tower that you can see on your walk up hill, obviously we took our legs to the tower.
On this exact poit of my life, I realized that I have never climbed an structure entirely made of wood before, except maybe a sixflags roller coaster ten years before today and I just can say that I have never felt so unsure on an structure, every second I spend on it my mind told me it has started to tremble and we’ll fall, whilst Natha was very relaxed already sitting on a bench on the tower, she wasn’t drinking tea because we didn’t bring some.
Wooden structure, I described as unstable
After a while we took some really splendid photos, I was a bit more relaxed and we stayed a while observing the place because it had a perfect view of Chaihuin and its surroundings before walking again to the tourism office.
View from the wooden tower
At the office we just had left to wait to 4:00pm so the bus will appear by magic and leave on time as usual.
Again at Corral we made a try of going to see the bahía Fort that was just aside the tourism office, at the entry we knew it has a ticket office and we had to pay for coming in, we said no to pay for watch some “stacked stones” so we turn around and walked to the dock.
Then we took our boat back to Niebla, then the bus to Valdivia, we bought a pair of alfajores and we went home.
We found us five days away our end of our adventure in Valdivia and we didn’t have yet the tickets to Villarrica so we had our first assignment of the day and as usual we walked to the terminal, the tickets wasn’t really expensive because Villarrica is about three hours away from Valdivia so we paid like 4500 chilean pesos each, which is like eight dollars.
Walking off the terminal we took ourselves for the second time to enter the famous museums of Valdivia, so we took the way around the costanera that we didn’t knew yet and it would take us to the fluvial market and to the bridge that would take us to Isla Teja, always with the Calle Calle river to our right.
Walking along the Costanera
The museums are closer than the gardens and you can see them from the fluvial market at the other side of the river.
The Museum of Exploration, The Historical and Anthropological Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art are found together on a yard on Isla Teja and I just can say to you we didn’t enter any of them, for two special reasons, we aren’t fans of them and we had to pay to enter, if this factor exist then we do not enter unless there is something so attractive and really interesting to us inside it.
This took us to a really short adventure of we walking to the Museum of Exploration that was a lovely facade that resembles a tea house or some place from Alice in Wonderland.
The Musseums of Exploration
After this we went to the Historical and Anthropological Museum Maurice Van De Maele that is a house declared an historical monument and museum with the Valdivia walk, surrounded by a garden and with a dock that gives to you an spectacular view of Valdivia.
Historical and Anthropological Museum Maurice Van De Maele
View of Valdivia from the Historical and Anthropological Museum Maurice Van De Maele
Our path ends with the third museum, the MAC (Contemporary Art Museum, MAC because its acronym in spanish), ironically a little hard to find it can be the biggest of the three, to the naked eye the place looks completely abandoned and we stumbled upon some closed doors before finding the entrance, the structure is the former Andwanter Brewery built in 1851, actually the structure is really attractive on the inside because it is very airy and because of the picture windows from which you can see the fluvial market and it filled with light the entire two storages room, we founded there some artistic expressions from national and international artists.
MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art)
In this picture we just looks awesome in the MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art)
Finishing our visit to the museums we returned to our accommodation but before we bought again alfajores on the road and at this point of the story we realized we didn’t have more adventures in Valdivia with the trip to Villarrica so close, and we were really mistaken.
After our tour to the museums we went to adventure in Valdivia, something we didn’t have planned really, specially when our plan was to be sedentary and work until the day we’d travel to Villarrica.
Truly it wasn’t our call, we decided to cook our famous burgers of our not so long recipe book to our hosts, after a while talking of Valdivia and eating, drinking wine and Pisco Sour, our hosts decide that we should really visit Niebla because the truth is we just knew the dock that leaded us to Corral, so we rode their car and they took us to another new adventure.
The road to Niebla and in Niebla is basically one street, our first stop was at a lake from which we didn’t knew the name, they didn’t knew the name either and google maps called it lake, it was basically a hiding place that we arrived detouring the main way for a moment, a beautiful and humid place, with a charm I don’t know how to express.
Neither Google recognizes this lake
Returning to the route, we followed our way until stopping at the edge of a cliff next to the street, here we visit Playa Grande and the Playa los Enamorados.
I have to say that day we’d just have lunch at the house and we wouldn’t do anything else so I decided to use my converse shoes because I haven’t use them in awhile, I never thought that I’d go out and any less that I’d to walk on the next surfaces that I will show.
My first achievement was to get of the car and walk three steps, I buried my shoe in the mud on a very fashion way.
My foot after walk three steps
After this to reach to Playa Grande we’d have to go down some stone stairs that were humid and me with converse shoes that are so smooth, you can picture the show.
Then we arrived to Playa Grande and done our tourist rol we walked to Playa los Enamorados that has this name (Love Beach) because it’s a beach somehow hidden and hard to reach as to you have to cross a path full of wet rocks and me with converse shoes, yes I suffered a lot that’s why my insistence with naming my poor selection of shoes.
“Path” to reach Playa Enamorados from Playa Grande
Then we arrived to Playa los Enamorados and we went back again over the so delightful path on my case, we would be again on our way to meet Niebla.
Playa de los Enamorados
We reached to a point where you could see less people, streets were made of stones and we stopped nearly in the middle of nowhere over a mountain in the middle of the road.
Walking a few steps turning back I saw there was a door in the middle of the trees that faced to the cliff, we arrived to our destination, I called the “Restaurant at the end of the World”, it was a wooden restaurant pretty big that was placed at the edge and it was actually called “Terrazas de Centilla” with a slogan that was perfectly paired with the place that said “El Lugar Diferente…”, obviously the restaurant possessed a pretty nice balcony well located which we came at the perfect time to see the sunset that says goodbye to it everyday and that you just could join with the best salmon empanadas that I have eat, today I still miss them.
Gate of the Restaurant in the End of the World
Restaurant in the End of the World hidden in the vegetation
Best salmon empanadas in the universe, every time we see this photo we crying with happiness
Back to the car it was time to go back, we were really exhausted and we almost didn’t talked on the trip and to break the ice they should they decide to put whatever was on the player to play, and it was El Puma and we laughed a lot over the curious music at the time.
There was just a way to end this adventure and Valdivia in general and it happens that at this time of the trip we didn’t visit the Kunstmann bar yet, if there is something that has Valdivia besides the everyday wine, is the beer and obviously the Kunstmann that is brewed in Valdivia.
To our surprise it turned out the Kunstmann wasn’t just a bar, it is also a familiar restaurant and it has a beer museum, all this in a very pretty architecture and with good music.
We aren’t that lovers of museums, but this one is free and it is really a room with the history of the place, and this place had a showcase that really amazed us because of the variety of beers included Venezuelan beers.
Obviously we couldn’t retire ourselves without tasting the variety of beers the place offered, so we order the twelve of them, yes we tasted the twelve tipe of beers that Kunstmann offered to us, in a chart of tiny glasses with its description and sincerely the chocolate beer isn’t my thing.
Twelve samples Kunstmann beers
Here ended the adventure of that day and I can not be more grateful with our hosts for taking us to such beautiful places.
It is time now for us to leave to our next town and I just can say that I carry so many memories of Valdivia from the kindness of its people to the excellent cuisine and the pisco sour of our host, this city is full of charms and magic, a city that I would visit again maybe in summer to watch its other colors, but I wouldn’t complain at all of coming back in winter, its weather and its streets are unforgettable.
If you come to Chile do not forget to visit the south that here in Valdivia an adventure waits for you and for us the adventure at the south doesn’t stop so see you later Valdivia and welcome to Villarrica.