27.01.2017 - 14.02.2017
One road, one town, one intersection, one wrong turn. Twice: in Puerto Bertrand and Cochrane. We’re fast becoming experts at losing our way where there is really only one way to go.
Other than that, this was a relatively easy day of a little over 200 kilometres of mostly bearable bumping through and past some wonderful scenery, including the Rio Baker, at the mouth of which Caleta Tortel is situated. This protected village is a wood-based culture without roads or stone buildings. You park outside on top of a cliff (the 23-kilometre track from the Carretera Austral to the parking lot was completed as late as 2003) and then walk: first down a stairway, at sea level over boardwalks, and to reach hotels and restaurant you climb up stairs again. We counted 171 steps up to our hotel.
In the 1950s, this started as a military outpost, and it leisurely developed over the decades, with everything being constructed from cypress wood. The government condemned it to death in 1982, stating that the village was both “unnatural” and without future, but that never materialized. There are no banks or ATMs. Until 1975, no money changed hands the inhabitants used a type of vouchers that they received in return for the wood that they shipped to other towns.