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Going around the General Carrera

 Estimated reading time: 1 min. Texts Photos Karina Jozami Texts Photos Karina Jozami
Tour around Lake General Carrera and Puerto Guadal

Our tour began along the road bordering Lake General Carrera, discovering small settlements and sceneries of lush beauty.

Marcia and I had left Chile Chico very early because we wanted to have enough time to border Lake General Carrera towards the west, until we reached our first stop: Puerto Guadal. The afternoon was glowing over the water mirror and, as we advanced along the road, we would be more and more captivated by the scenery at every bend.

We had set everything ready for a pleasant and quiet trip: mate, cookies, music and our photograph cameras. We first stopped at the Verde Lagoon vantage point, a jade green water mirror fed by the waters thawing from the glacier. On the top of the cliff in front of us, we could make out the entrance to the Fachinal gold mine, today part of the Mount Bayo mining project.

We continued the tour passing by the town of Fachinal and then we entered the Las Llaves Pass, which borders the shores of the General Carrera and spreads from this community up to Mallín Grande. After going up and losing sight of the lake, we went down until we got very close to the coastline, surrounded by a huge rocky wall that rises beside the road. It was in that very place where our car broke down. With no signal in our cell phone and without the slightest idea about car mechanics, we resolved to walk up to the next village in order to ask for help. But, fortunately, before leaving, we spotted some cars approaching us.

Some Chilean families heading for Cochrane helped us and after the diagnosis, we decided to leave the car and keep on until the Terra Luna Lodge, where we were expected.
Tour around Lake General Carrera and Puerto Guadal
The night began to fall and the winding road would get worse and worse under the persistent rain. However, we reached Terra Luna safe and sound. Once there, we were welcomed by Lea, Marina and her sister, who were awaiting us with some exquisite hot soup which made us feel at home.

The Pearl of the Lake

The day broke with rain and it was hard for us to leave the cozy cabin. But when we got to the dining-room and had breakfast while beholding the lake and Mount San Valentín (4,058 meters) opposite, we learnt that not even the weather was going to prevent us from enjoying the day.

While Marcia rushed to rescue the car along with the mechanic from Puerto Guadal, Lea and I went to visit the Escondida Mine, a copper and zinc deposit that had been abandoned in 1986 because its exploitation had been used up. When the mining company left, all the facilities remained and a great deal of machinery was left behind.

From the heights, we could appreciate the bay sheltering the lodge and the Guadal hamlet immersed in the extraordinary wild scenery of the lake and the mountains molded by glacial erosion.
Tour around Lake General Carrera and Puerto Guadal
Once back and with some hours to spare until our car was repaired, we decided to tour the small town which lodges a little more than 600 inhabitants. The temperature of its waters, the sandy beaches and the micro weather have given origin to the nickname “the pearl of the lake”. Puerto Guadal is the entrance to the Valley of the Baker River, the most plentiful course in Chile and, until very recently, its only lake connection.

When we returned, Marina had prepared a very special hot bath for us: a wooden bath tub by the lake with steaming water, ideal to relax and watch the sunset.

We would have stayed there forever, but the car was ready and the road was awaiting us to go on discovering other marvelous nooks as we completed our tour around the General Carrera.
Useful Data
How to get here
Travel 115km along Route CH-265 from Chile Chico up to Puerto Guadal. One kilometer before entering town, stands the lodge.
Terra Luna is open all year round. It is a good point of reference to visit Lake Carrera and perform various activities ranging from kayaking to mountaineering.
Terra Luna Lodge
Km. 1.5 - Carretera Austral - Pto. Guadal (6050000) Chile Chico / Lago G. Carrera - XI Región - Chile
Tel: +56 67 243-1263  Fax: +56 67 243-1264  
Inter Patagonia

Tour Kind
Useful Data Useful Data


The Detail

Lake General Carrera is a huge 224,000-hectare water mirror, 136,000 of which are on the Chilean side and 88,000 on the other side of the mountain range, where it is called Buenos Aires. The second largest lake in South America, following the Titicaca, it has a depth of approximately 590 meters. The incredible blue of its waters captivates visitors in a mountain range frame of primitive beauty sprinkled with glaciers.

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