We left Santiago on Dec. 17th and only drove 100 km/62 miles to a thermal hot springs called Jahuel (www.jahuel.cl) . The roads in Chile were good. We hadn’t made reservations at Jahuel because their posted price per day for the two of us was US$365-ish (including 3 meals a day). That’s way over our budget. In person we were able to get a package that Dimitri had seen on their website which had been available in November. So we stayed for 2 nights at US $170 per day for the 2 of us. We like to stay at places that give us discounts.
Audre sitting by the pool at Jahuel Thermal Hot Springs
It’s a beautiful spot at about 1000m/3280f in the Western Andes, north of where we where when we were skiing in El Colorado last winter, and closer to the Argentine border. There are beautiful cacti, lots of scrub and also eucalyptus trees. After lunch there was a scheduled walk with a staff member, Juan Carlos. He took us hiking for about an hour and, speaking in Spanish, told us about the plants and the area. We saw in the distance a hiking path called the Sendero de Chile. It’s just being created and we decided that the following day we would go biking on the Sendero de Chile.
After the hike we enjoyed the thermal hot springs. You know we travel the world looking for hot springs and this resort is one the best we’ve found. The hotel was well done and the food was pretty good.
Our bike ride with our private guide, Juan Carlos, was terrific. We climbed to the top of the closest hill and came around to the bottom of the valley that is below the resort. Then we crossed a river and came around to the other side of the valley.
Our bike ride on the Sendero de Chile
By then it was getting near the time for our (included) lunch at the resort so we headed back. But Dimitri’s bike got flat tires front and rear. It was great to have Juan Carlos because he used his two-way radio to call for the resort truck to pick us up. While we were waiting we walked to Juan Carlos’ modest house in the valley. His young daughter gave us juice and Juan Carlos changed Dimitri’s inner tubes. We could get used to this kind of service.
Dimitri and I have been unable to find good topographical maps and now we have a solution. Take a local guide!
Dinner didn’t start until about 9 p.m. so we luxuriated in the spa. Our room was large enough to bring in all of our luggage (11 bags) and we repacked so that our winter clothes are all together in one suitcase, freeing up space in the suitcases we will be using everyday during the trip. At night and in the mornings it was pretty cold at Jahuel so we have to keep some warm clothes within easy reach. Dimitri keeps yearning for balmy nights.
We left Jahuel after our (included) lunch at 4 p.m. for Portillo the world famous ski resort founded by Henry Purcell, who we met at the Fiesta del Arte in Santiago.
Henry Purcell with his wife, Ellen, surrounding Kim Fitzgerald Kelly and Dimitri