Chilean Lakes and Volcanoes

Part 2 of our final two weeks in South America, as we hot foot it back to Santiago from the deep south with a plane to catch that we`re keen not to to alter for a third time….

Lakes and Volcanoes 

We’re up early on our fourth and final morning aboard ‘Evangelista’, to pack, have a final breakfast, disembark and get a taxi to the Croatia Apart Hotel, Puerto Montt. We have had a fabulous time cruising the Chilean Fjords on the Navimag ferry.

Patricio, the friendly taxi driver who takes us agrees to come back in an hour to take us for a tour around Llanquihue Lake (the second biggest lake in South America) Petrohue falls & Calbuco Volcano, and visit some German villages – we shower up quickly and head off. We have great day with him even though the weather is rubbish! He is a super guide and by day’s end we feel we have another lifelong friend! We see waterfalls dropping over volcanic rock just 144 yrs old, go up the volcano Calbuco as far as the snow for a snowball fight and pick up some volcanic rock samples!


day of adventure around Puerto Montt

A day of adventure around Puerto Montt


A Chile Easter and Chile`s Fjords

Map of Chile from CIA World Factbook. Category...

Map of Chile  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, the last instalments of our nine months in South America are ready to share, as we hot foot it back to Santiago from the deep south. With around 3000km to travel two thirds of the length of the most slender country in the world through fjords, volcanoes, lakes and national parks flanked by the Pacific and the Andes, and with a plane to catch in just over two weeks that we`re keen not to to alter for a third time!

This is Part One – in which we bus overland from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales then cruise on the Navimag ferry through the Chilean fjords to Puerto Montt…..

We arrive back from the Falklands to Punta Arenas in Chile’s deep south Patagonia on the day before Easter. The children would have loved the flight to have been cancelled again as it was on the way out as we would have got `stuck` in the Falklands for Easter Sunday, but it wasn’t to be! .

Views from Navimag, day 2, cruising through the Chilean fjords

Views from Navimag, day 2, cruising through the Chilean fjords


Pacific island ‘hopping’ – Easter island

Easter Island sunset

Easter Island sunset

We arrive in Easter island from Santiago on our first of many hops (well leaps) across the Pacific on our way to Australia and Asia. 3700km off mainland Chile, a 6 hour flight, part of Chile, Spanish name Isla de Pascua, indigenous name Rapa Nui, the same name given to the indigenous Polynesian population and local language.The population of 6700 live in the one peaceful, pretty town of Hanga Nui – with one main street and a handful of shops and cafes, mostly Rapa Nui people, though an increasing number of mainland Chilean people have settled here too. .


My five year old first family gap year!

[Lara was four and a half when we started travelling – she’s spent a year on the road. When we get back to the UK next summer, she’ll be six and a half and will have been travelling for almost a third of her life. Will she remember home? How will she adjust back to a settled life? She’s an adaptable and resilient young lady who takes pretty much everything in her stride with the exception of trying too many new foods without a lot of bribery and corruption!

Lara's travels

Lara’s travels

We decided it was high time for an interview with Lara so we could see what she thinks and share her views on our family gap year(s) ………]


Flat Stanley at Iguazu Falls

I loved Iguazu Falls. It was one of my favourite places in South America. I thought it was going to be like the waterfall in the film UP because in that film the old man has a dream of going to some waterfalls in South America but Iguazu is much bigger.

Me, Ben, Lara and Flat Stanley

Me, Ben, Lara and Flat Stanley

I took Flat Stanley to see Iguazu. More

Nine months, nine countries – South America in photos and stats!

11th April 2013. Nine months today since our family of five touched down in Rio de Janeiro on a BA flight from Heathrow, London to begin our Family Gap Year travelling around the world.

Our journey so far…

We’ve almost done a (kind of squashed) figure of 8 around the continent, flown or boated to islands in the Pacific and Atlantic and are now in Santiago, enjoying our last days before flying to Easter Island (part of Chile) and then on to Tahiti in French Polynesia.

Nine months, Nine countries. Our Family Gap Year journey so far...

Nine months, Nine countries. Our Family Gap Year journey so far…

We’ve been to More

Flat Stanley’s Andes Adventure

Flat Stanley has travelled with me in South America for eight months now…..

We said goodbye to Miss Jane, Mrs M and Miss Place at the end of year 2, last July, spent our summer hopping around in Brazil , journeyed the length of the Amazon to Columbia, Peru and the Napo River to Ecuador!

We took a bus way up into the Andes Mountains to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where we learned Spanish and then flew out to the Galápagos Islands.

Quito and Waterfall near Otavalo, Ecuador

You might remember these photos in Quito and at a waterfall near Otavalo, Ecuador


Me Gusto Mucho Papas Fritas! (or ‘Chippies vs Chillies’)

Being four and three quarters and the one child in the family who inherited her Mum’s fussy streak instead of her Dad’s more adventurous, gluttonous one, it was interesting to get her thinking about her favourite foods in our first three months and four countries in South America!

Mo’s cousin Val is a head teacher and the children at her school have been hearing about our adventures in their assemblies. They sent us some questions and Lara’s was about her favourite foods, so we decided to do a Lara interview to try to answer this one!

Mum : So Lara, what’s been your favourite food on our journey so far?

Lara : Fizzy Orange! You can’t get fizzy drinks in England can you?

Mum : of course you can but we don’t have them very often and you’ve had a lot more whilst we’ve been travelling !!

Lara : Yep – I’ve had coke and fizzy orange (that’s my favourite) and Inca Cola in Peru which was bright yellow and Guarana in Brazil.

And I learned how to ask for a straw in Portuguese  – it’s a ‘Canudo’ – and now I have to ask for it in Spanish and its a ‘Popote’

Happiness is drinking through a canudo!


Get Jealous

I happened upon the blog of another family gap year on the travel blogging site Get Jealous today. The Bremners have an 8 and a 9 year old, are starting in Africa and will be heading to South America as well. Very impressed with their morning PE, looks a lot more strenuous than our aqua-gymnastics earlier today.

I have been wowed with Mo keeping up her running, barefoot on the beach most of the time. I am thinking I need to use or lose my running shoes (luxury item!). That said I beat Mo in our Heart Olympics on the beach this afternoon much to Mo’s surprise, I’ll probably need a week to recover. Our running track was pretty cool with MMBZL branding even if the construction was accidental.

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Get Jealous, what a great name for a web site! I may have to read to get some ideas?!?

Drowned Rats – Boipeba to Morro de Sao Paulo

We expected our gap year to feature some excitement but as so often with these things it can come at unexpected times. Super relaxed after a week on peaceful Boipeba staying at what could easily be the best pousada in Brazil and looking forward to our next stop in Morro de Sao Paulo we boarded our speedboat and waved goodbye.

Waving goodbye to Boipeba

Bye Bye Boipeba

The weather was overcast but this often clears quickly and we were impressed with the speedboat. Bigger than the normal motor launches it looked the business and we were sure Charles was right and it was the most comfortable boat around and at R$200 a bargain as they were picking up more guests in Morro!

On the way down to Boipeba we took the route through the mangroves from Valenca and expected to go this way again as most boats arrive this way. It is lovely and calm but about twice as long as the sea route if you look at the map. As often is the case ‘assume’ makes an ass out of you and me and our skipper headed straight out to sea. More

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