Posted by: paulgilders | March 7, 2012

Tortel and back

Since my last post we have cycled south to Tortel and returned back to Cochrane. We decided to make Tortel our southernmost Chilean destination. We did not to proceed further south due to the factors of time, reducing temperature and the “end of the season” -which means that accommodation and tourism support (for us that is primarily restaurants) are significantly curtailed. The other significant factor is the worsening of relationships between local protestors and the government, which has seen the stalling of negotiations and continuation and increasingly stringent roadblocks at all major towns. The roadblocks themselves do not stop cyclist like ourselves, but fuel availability is now getting difficult and shop supplies are continually reducing.

We took three days of cycling to get to Tortel, but have stopped off both ways at a wonderful farm camp by the Rio Barrancoso where we have found homemade cheese, bread, jam, milk, eggs, apples and salad vegetables. Of course there are also plenty of animals for additional amusement.

Tortel itself is amazing, since the extensive coastal town is completely linked up by raised wooden pathways in order to preserve the fragile boggy soil and vegetation that sits on the granite hill. However, the town itself was dead with activity and we experienced 2 days of heavy rainfall. The rain itself didn’t trouble us too badly sitting in our warm cabin, but whilst riding out of Tortel we observed a massive rise in river water levels, waterfalls that seemed to spring up every few hundred yards and the mountains dusted with the first snow of the year.

The plan from here is to head over the border to Argentina. This will likely take about 4 days of riding from Cochrane. Once over the border we will cycle to the nearest major town on route 40 and catch a bus (with bikes) north to Bariloche. From there we will ride north in Argentina and the re-cross the border to avoid the roadblocks throughout the province of Aysén.


























  1. What an amazing place with the wooden walk ways everywhere. Not so great for bikes with all the steps but beautiful to spend some time there. And now off to Argentina… You will shudder to hear our story. Went to Manly on our bikes and went so far up the coast path that by the time we turned around to come home the wooden walk way across the wetlands area was covered by the tide. So what do we do on our fancy road bikes … road straight through the rising tide! The water was above our pedals and we could see little fish swimming between our spokes! The question is why did we not just pick up our bikes and walk through carrying our bikes above the sea water? Hummm – next time…. So when we got home we spent ages cleaning the bikes all up and re greasing the cogs and chain etc… except we did not have your expert advise. So – take some advise from me – if you come across a rising tide just pick your stuff all up and walk through. Trailer, paniers and all. Easy. Enjoy.

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