105. Argentina, Atlantic Coast

From the Chilean border (Chile Chico) we took a fairly straight line to the Atlantic coast, for a couple of long and boring days. It was pretty uneventful throughout arid, dry, oil fields.

When we arrived at the coast, Caleta Olivia (also not an exciting place) we realised that the last time we saw the Atlantic was nearly 2.5 years ago when we shipped Burt from England to Canada. It made quite nostalgic…

From here we headed up north by the coast to Comodoro, a huge city with the option of stocking up on essentials and change our dollars to ARG pesos. It took hours to find a guy who was willing to change dollars at a blue market rate and when all was done, we decided to drive further north not on the paved highway (still rocking donkeys, pretty boring) but on the dirt coastal road in the desert which was far more entertaining.

Spent a night in a dry riverbed in the desert surrounded by rheas (very similar looking big birds to Emu) and Guanacos but the real deal was the night sky and at one point we saw the biggest, most brightest meteor-fall which took absolute loooong seconds and lit up blue and purple flames as it was crossing the dark sky above us. It was extraordinary.

The next day we headed on but (quite disorganised as we are) needed water. In the desert. A 20-30 something km on our way we knew there was a village -or at least we thought it was a village, and planned to ask for water there. As we turned off from the main dirt road towards this little town Bahia Bustamente we approached to a gate. This must’ve marked the edge of the village, according to our map. It read on the gate in English that “Mortorhomes are welcome”. That was reassuring so we opened the gate and entered.

We found ourselves in a village looking place with a few larger tin buildings and many smaller cookie-cutter type houses, then a sign saying “Reception” arrow this way, and “Restaurant” arrow that way. In front of the restaurant there were a handful of Northern American tourists with their super high-end cameras and big lenses climbing in to a Land Rover with a German guy saying goodbye to them. As we approached and stopped the engine the German guy asked the driver to wait and turned to us asking if we wanted to join them? Eer… this was unexpected and we asked what this was about. He said they are going on boat trip to the nearby islands to watch sea birds and the sea-lion puppies, then he added that we can stay for the night or as many days as we wanted and we don’t have to worry about paying for this boat trip and we should just go because it is very special. Then he said goodbye to us as he was going away for a couple of weeks right then and assured us that we will be taken care of by his assistant.

We didn’t think twice, said thanks to this mysterious nice guy and followed the Land Rover. We had a spectacular afternoon with some very interesting people. 3 lovely couples were there (one guy worked for NASA the other guy was a photographer film maker worked for National Geographic and so on) And these were only the guests. In the boat with us was a marine biologist, our guide who was very passionate about his subject. It, indeed was very special.

On our return, we were a bit confused and not sure who we need to talk to, we entered the restaurant/bar which was so cool and sort of rustic chic and stylish. Very unexpected. In there was a delightful lovely young lady who knew we were coming and reassured us that his boss filled her in about our situation and offered us to stay wherever we wanted as long as we wanted. Then she said that we can take water as much as we needed and that it was spring water coming from the nearby mountain. Wow! This all was very nice. However we knew that the stay will be very expensive so we thought we will just stay one night and move on tomorrow. After we filled up with the water and we found our spot we asked for the price for the camp. She said that the camping is free and we are welcome to use the shower and facilities if we needed.

Wow. We were very happy and grateful for this amazing place and their generosity. At this point we felt we want to pay something and booked dinner at their restaurant. It was all very lovely and formal that we felt we should dress up neat and nice for the dinner. This was literally the first time in 3 years that we were eating in a nice restaurant with white table cloth and everything. Now this was something. We found out that for every season they hire a fantastic and talented young chef to take care of the restaurant. We were in for a treat.

The mystery guy we met earlier was the grandson of Don Lorenzo Soriano the funder of Bahia Bustamente who came here in the 1950’s looking for seaweed which he did find here and begun to harvest with his family. When the seaweed business went huge over the years and decades, the family built the town with school, church, police station, and houses for the over 400 employees. By the end of the century the family eased off from the seaweed business and replaced it with sheep farming, plus they have decided to offer a wide range of tourism activities such as hikes, horse riding, boat tours, trips to the million year old petrified forest or to a huge canyon and so on. Now it is a private village, a very special and intimate place. They thank their quiet but high profile reputation to a New York Times journalist who visited the place about 10 years ago and printed a very attractive article about it. And the place and its people live up to all expectations until today.

BAHIA BUSTAMENTE http://www.bahiabustamante.com/home-en.html

Needless to say we spent 4 days here, taking hikes and a couple of tours (we paid for those of course) and spent every evening in the restaurant enjoying the fantastic 3 course meal (where somehow somewhere there were a little seaweed smuggled into) with gorgeous wine and great company.

From here we headed to the Peninsula Valdez to meet our friend, Laura (the daughter of the family we spent 3 weeks in El Bolson) When we left the family a month and a half ago Laura said she would catch up with us when we get to Peninsula Valdez. And here we were and there she was coming.

She surprised us with bringing her friend and the 4 of us spent a very fun few days together. They came with their pickup with a pop-up tent at the back so camping was possible. We found ourselves a fantastic and quiet spot on top of the cliffs and spent the days walking around, chatting and eating well.

Peninsula Valdez Argentina

Peninsula Valdez


A few days later they had to head back home but John and I decided to stay for a day or two. We haven’t even seen the killer whales yet. One evening we went for a little walk along the cliffs and found another beach. There we bumped into a US couple who were also overland travelling with their Ford motorhome for about 2 years. We asked them if they fancied to camp on the other side where we were so we can have a glass of wine and chat. We had an absolute ball with them, Erica and Sam for about 4 more days and not just finished all our beer, wine supply but we even opened the world’s cheapest, worst most undrinkable rum we bought in Venezuela a year ago and finished that as well. During the day, with the two vehicles we drove to the north side of the peninsula in the hope to see the whales.


Here a motorbike couple Michele and Brian joined us as well for a couple of days and had a great time. It was super windy so the bikers’ nights in their tent were a bit more eventful but they stayed with us for 3 days.


Well, every fun comes to the end and after many days at this fantastic spot we all said goodbye and one by one we left the peninsula heading different directions.

John and I were in contact (through the workaway website) with a family for a couple of weeks now, who were seeking help on their farm in Cordoba. We decided to drive up and have a look at this place and work away a little bit.

Next, Cordoba, Argentina.






104. Chile, Patagonia

It’s been almost 5 months since I last posted anything due to simple laziness. Though the past few months weren’t uneventful I just couldn’t pull my finger out, sit down and write about it.

Since February we’ve been to Chile, back to Argentina where we did a few weeks work on a family farm, then said goodbye to our friends in Uruguay, travelled up north on the coast of Brazil to Sao Paulo where I flew out from to Europe for 3 weeks to see my family and back to Brazil. SO loads to catch up on…

CHILE:  After our glorious month in El Bolson we finally piled ourselves away from the warmth of the loving family and headed to Chile. Despite our lack of research we, by chance crossed the border at a great place, Futaleufu where we ended up staying for a week. A very sweet and charming little village full of outdoorsy opportunities. Here we had a chance to hike and walk a little each day and as Futaleufu has few of the World’s best rivers we took on for a day rafting tour which was absolutely excellent fun. NOTE: if you consider doing the same, please use these guys (much better value than other companies, highly skilled English/Spanish speaking guides, lots of fun and their office also a study centre for environmental research for keeping the rivers clean -fascinating conversation with the first-a-bit-grumply-then-very-friendly and very enthusiastic scientist) Please support them if you can:  http://www.exchile.com/

Apart from the well needed exercise and good air, we of course visited each bar and tasted all types of beer in town, besides as it is a little touristy place it has a good mix of nationalities -ex-pats, travellers, holidaymakers we met a few good eggs so no wonder we forgot to leave for a week.

Futaleufu, Chile February 2015

Futaleufu, Chile
February 2015

After we left we had a couple of weeks of Patagonian boondocking heaven. We found the best places to camp mostly by crystal clear rivers and lakes throughout as we were travelling south on the Carretera Austral.

As the “highway” mostly wash board dirt road we had a bracket cracked and needed a good welding place just by the time we got to Coyhaique, a reasonably large town with shops, banks and cafés. This was also handy as this town will be our last town  until we get back to Argentina so besides the welding job we could stock up here with food and essentials but most importantly change money for Argentina. *Those who are not familiar with the situation in Argentina: The best have dollars -physically, and change on the blue-market with a much better rate than sticking your credit card in to an ATM and pull out ARG pesos at a very bad rate. So in Chile we have been taking large amount of Chilean cash everyday with an intention of change it to Dollars before we cross the border. This town seemed our best bet to change our Chilean pesos to US dollars as they had proper banks with reasonably good exchange rate.

Spent a few days in this town and once the welding and shopping was done we were ready to leave, only had to pop in to the bank to change the cash. That’s when the crap hit the fan for us. We were robbed. In the bank. By the cashier guy! This was a proper “first world” bank with standard equipments, security cameras, white shirted polite bank assistants and so on. We handed the large amount of pesos which was about 2.5 inches thick batch of bank notes (counted out the exact correct amount we wanted) The guy took the batch, stepped aside (out of sight) for 40 sec and on his return he counted US$1000 (worth of pesos) cash less that we handed to him less then a minute ago.  You know, first you just think he made a mistake so asked him to put the notes back in to the counter machine and count it again. (He had the wooden face of a cold blooded criminal that some of the excellent Hollywood actors can imitate so well in those Blockbusters)  Then very quickly it dawned on us that we undoubtedly just have been fucked. From this moment it was our words against his. We did everything we could -made a scene, asked for the manager, insist to look at the cameras, went to the police and so on. But we knew… the money was gone.

We played the scene over and over again in our heads, we analysed it inside and out, we looked at it from a thousand point of views but what we have been left with was a stinging, stomach-sinking feeling that we knew time will fade. My only “positive” view on it was that if we had to loose this money, I’m glad it didn’t happen at a gunpoint in Venezuela or somewhere like that.

As soon as we realised that there’s nothing anyone can do about this, we pack up and got out of there. We headed south with the intention to cross back in to Argentina in the next day or two.

We reached Lago Gral. Carrera and for our surprise we spent a week around this beautiful lake choosing different locations each night. As much as we wanted to leave Chile asap, we found this area and the people quite soothing and friendly. I guess we just had to go with this natural timing of process.

Puerto Guadal near Chile Chico Chile February 2015

Puerto Guadal near Chile Chico
February 2015

Chile Chico February 2015

Chile Chico
February 2015

Next, Argentina, Atlantic Coast….