Saturday, June 4, 2016

Cruce de Los Lagos- Argentina to Chile by Boat

Andean volcano - covered in clouds
Chilean Andean volcano - covered in clouds

Nahuel Huapi Lake
Nahuel Huapi Lake (back in Argentina)
Two options: A bus for $40 around and over the Andes (5 hours) to get into Chile or the $230 Cruce de Los Lagos combining multiple boat and bus rides (9 hours,) supposedly far prettier. The one thing I am willing to pay a little more for is an experience, and clearly the bus will give me more to write about ... No, wait, opposite.
First bus ride to the dock at Nahuel Huapi Lake where we pay a tax to board onto the boat. There are numerous of these "small taxes" in less developed regions in the world, most of the time the majority of the money (if not all of it) ends up in the pockets of local politicians. "More caviar, mistress?"

Nahuel Huapi Lake as well
a river feeding the lake
Now, on the other side, I become absolutely taken by the color of the water feeding into the larger lake. So, so, so clear, and so blue.
super eerie but beautiful blue color- very clear water
super eerie but beautiful blue color- very clear water

Video: Eerily Colored Clear Blue Water in a River
gorgeous mountains
the surrounding area
Lake Aguas Frias was next, and while the whole trip was spectacular, the beauty of this lake was easily the highlight. The emerald green, clear water glistens in the sun, the surrounding fall foliage adding flavor to the glassy surface. 
I was absolutely mesmerized not only by the lake, but also by a Brazalian couple who must have taken 500 pictures of each other in the 20 minutes it took to cross the lake. I realize that I'm in rarified air here, I am witnessing the Louvre of Narcissism. They would leave 23 year old Hollywood wannabe starlets numb and in disbelief. That said, I wish someone was there to take my picture. 
ready to board at Lago Aguas Friasready to board at Lago Aguas Frias- PS- that is ALL my baggage
 Lake Aguas Frias- the stunning, ethereal green color of the water
Lake Aguas Frias- the stunning, ethereal green color of the water 
 Lake Aguas Frias- the stunning, ethereal green color of the water
20 minutes across by boat- sheer awe
gorgeous water-

video: stunning waters and surroundings of Aguas Frias
Lake Aguas Frias- the stunning, ethereal green color of the water
we don't have H2O in LA- much less vistas and water like this
Lake Aguas Frias- the stunning, ethereal green color of the water
the other side of of Lake Aguas Frias
We leave the boat and the stunning Aguas Frias, and make our way through Argentinian customs. A fox watches over our activities, to make sure no "fowl" play is taking place.
foxy-loxy guards the Chilean border
We drive uphill and cross over into Chile. 
sign on the Chilean/ Argentinian border
my first steps into the country of Chile
Chilean side of Mount Tronador
behind the clouds is the Chilean side of Mount Tronador
The area gets a tremendous amount of rain. It's one of the few locations on the globe with temperate rain forests, defined as getting over 80 inches of rain a year. It makes for huge lakes, and lush lush fauna, but in recent years snowfall and precipitation levels have fallen, while the glaciers recede. It worries local residents greatly, but hey, keep driving your one-man SUV you Dick Cheney types.
We stop at a Chilean hotel in the national park for a few minutes before continuing to Lago Todo Los Santos (All Saints Lake.)
crossing Lago Todo los Santos
crossing Lago Todo los Santos
All Saints Lake- Chile
All Saints Lake- Chile

video: Lago Todos los Santos

Probably the most interesting moment for me was watching how the local villagers get across this gigantic, hour across in a multi-million dollar catamaran, lake. 
Once spotted, and they only cross each way once a day, a man will hustle, grab someone in need of a ride, and sprint them to the larger ship. In this case the boat driver, once he got his first couple of passengers aboard, sprinted to where he could address the captain, and begged him to allow him to return with more people. 
The captain acquiesced, slowing the boat considerably, allowing him to go back and return with, in this case children with their school backpacks, who boarded with a great thank you. My guess this is a daily occurrence. Mr. Brightside says at least the villagers get to breath cleanest air on the planet ... 
video: villagers hitch ride on big boat

the volcano on the other side of the lake

All in all, the beauty of the trip, made it more than worth it. Hello Chile!

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