Another quick post about travels to the southern Chile… There are just so many beautiful places to see!
We entered on the Futrono side and rented a kayak for a very reasonable couple thousand pesos (1,000 pesos ≈ 2.00 dollars). Meanwhile, my mother-in-law and her sister enjoyed pretending to be mermaids.
Niebla and the Ruta del Mar
Niebla is a coastal town in Chile’s Los Ríos Region. This town of two to three thousand people hosts many visitorsand tourists that clamor to see its beautiful beaches, eat exquisite seafood at its local folk markets, and explore the somewhat recent “Ruta del Mar” – Route of the Sea. Our stay in Niebla itself was short—we were there just long enough to walk along the beach and head to the marketplace, where we were greeted with live folk music (what up, cueca!), assorted empanadas, and some fresh chicha de manzana (which is a softly fermented apple cider).
Once we had eaten our fill of empanadas, we took a long drive along the coastline. I have to admit that I was not completely gung-ho about the drive—something about the incredibly narrow dirt roads with belligerent cows that hardly allowed any space to pass… something about how our little truck kept climbing, smugly sniffing at the plunging cliffs that proved to be the only barrier between its four wheels and the ocean below… yeah, something about that made me uneasy. But as you can see (in the video below), it was worth it. Because we didn’t die.
If you have the chance to check out the Ruta del Mar, it is a great way to get to know this region and some of the things that makes Chile special. For example, 6 out of 10 Valdivian species are endemic. How cool is that? The route includes paths from Valdivia to Niebla and some of the coastal islands. Signs along the path give you more information about the area and are written in Spanish, English, and braille. The route and its connection to the Alerce National Park constitute about three hundred square miles of the Valdivian forest.
Saltos del Laja
This is one tourist spot that I wasn’t thrilled about and could even suggest that you skip. Apparently, it’s very touristy and iconic; some call it the gate to tourism in southern Chile. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t so excited about it: it was basically a bunch of tourists taking pictures in front of a waterfall. There is also a lot of sun involved. Here’s the expectation:
Don’t we look thrilled?