Reached ChaitenJanuary 5 in Chile
Finally, around 6:15 pm, we reached Chaiten. Its a small laidback village with one main road and the Carretera Austral passing through. This village was totally evacuated during the 2008 eruption of Chaiten volcano. Most of the village was destroyed by the ash and fires and also the lahars caused due to the melting of the snow caps due to the volcano. The river Rio Blanco changed course causing the sea shore to move about a km further away. This is the reason why the current ferry terminal is almost 2 kms walk outside of the village. In 2011, the mayor of the region declared the place uninhabitable but some of the former residents started coming back in the hope of reviving the village again. Currently, the population is at about 2000 inhabitants, which is almost half of what it was before the eruption but the village has limped back to a place that doesn't show much signs of the destruction before. The village is split into 2 due to the river and one can find places to stay on either side of it (more on the Northern side though).
We were dropped off at the main junction of the Northern part. After we thanked and waved goodbye to the lovely, helpful Dutch couple, Hristo and Maria went to look for a place to stay, Melinda stayed with our bags while I went to a tours kiosk (Chaitur) nearby to get some info about what all we could do from here and what are the possibilities for transportation.
Chaitur turned out to be a tour operator and the bus stop for the village as well. The manager (I think his name was Wilson) was busy jamming up on his Ukulele with a Basque guy playing the guitar. I waited for about 5 min but tgey continued on and on. He plays quite well and it was nice to hear them play but Melinda was waiting outside on the road so I started walking out. That's when Wilson turned and asked me to get my bags etc and that he'll give all the information about the tours etc. I went and returned with our bags. The jam session continued. A German girl sitting inside whispered to me that this might take a while sinve she had already been sitting for almost 2 hours without getting any information from him. I tried to interrupt and informed him that we were in a bit of a hurry and we needed to get a place to stay and book a tour for the next day. That's when he said Patagonia is a place where Einstein actually understood relativity 😄😄
We were there at Chaitur till almost 8 pm. Every few minutes I tried to get more information about the tours and prices but within seconds of starting the answer, Wilson would divert to a totally different topic. Finally, Hristo and Maria came back and informed that they had found a nice place nearby. We left Chaitur with no information about what we could do the next day or what tours were offered. We told Wilson that we would come there around 9 am next day if we wanted to join any tour.Read more