Feb 10, near Ensenada, Chile

When we got up around 10 it was fully overcast, but as we headed out in search of hot springs we saw that it was all clinging to the volcano, and would probably burn off by noonish.

First a stop to see Lago Todos Los Santos, another very pretty lake surrounded by Osorno Volcano, the very pointy and Tolkeinesque Cerro Tronador, the recently-blown Volcano Calbuco, and many other mountains. Very much a tourist spot though (big old resort, couple tour buses in the parking lot, trinkets and postcards for sale, bunch of guys with boats trying to get you to pay for a water tour) so we didn’t stay too long before getting back in the car and heading towards the hot springs we heard about from the lady running the hostel/B&B.

Natural and undeveloped hot springs right next to a brisk clear river? Yes please. Hung out there for an hour and a half around lunchtime, when it the post-lunch crowd started to show up we left in search of snacks and a beer or two.

Empanadas and pale ale, success! We ate on a nice (also pumice-y, but less severe) beach around the corner from where we found the empanadas.

Then we decided to actually check out the waterfall that’s just outside of town. It’s a fifteen or twenty minute walk/clamber from a parking “lot” (more of a clearing in the woods) down a 2-km road from the middle of this little hamlet we’re staying in. The hike out there is pretty fun if you’re not dodging all the other tourists who are heading in or coming back out, but even if it’s busy it’s worth it — the waterfall is a nice trim 60-footer out of a jungle cliff into a perfect little sandy and rocky nook in the woods, and along the facing cliff there’s a gently falling curtain of droplets!

It was perfectly sunny by then so the mist from the waterfall made a pristine rainbow from wherever you looked… And if you walk deeper into the mist (perhaps you’re catching droplets on your tongue like they’re snowflakes?), you’ll find an angle where the rainbow has turned into a full circle!

The sun started to threaten to set, so we prepared by bringing the best (and also most expensive) beers we’ve found to the beach next to the empanada place, and watched the sun paint Osorno Volcano orange and pink. Then we found a lovely spot for dinner closer to Ensenada.


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