Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

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confusedtraveller
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Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by confusedtraveller » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:37 am

Hello!

I have planned to come to Chile to do the south and north since August, I would appreciate it if the forumers / expats could give me some tips / perspective on the current situation now, and what you expect in the next month.

I also want to thank you for the interesting insights and perspectives of where Chile is and how Chile works - I have been reading the recent threads and got a lot out of this forum.

A bit about me: solo traveler, early 50s, from Canada, been to many places backpacking over the years around the world, not a stranger to South America, but it will be a first time in Chile. Probably the movie Cielo last year shot in the Atacama desert with the skies and Atacama Giant shots inspired me, though always wanted to see the wild ruggedness of the south since forever. Immersive traveler, curious about everything, like to hike, adventurous and not timid yet have judgement. Intermediate Spanish.

Specifics questions:
1. So what is the situation in Puerto Montt? I am still seeing disturbances on youtube from Nov 7. Original plan is that this will be my first stop right from Canada (after hours of flying) and where I pick up the car and likely to be very tired (aka most vulnerable).
2. What about along the way on the Carretera Austral? Original plan to get to Villa O'Higgins and then back, hiking in the rainforests, glaciers along the way. I have read about previous protests in Aysén something like 2012. Still additional specific grievances to vent along with the national discontent, or no worse than usual? CONAF parks seem to be operating - any reason to worry hiking alone?
3. Temuco. Originally on the return, planned to go to Temuco (probably along more foothill roads) to see Mapuche museum and read about some Mapuche restaurant before returning to Puerto Montt to drop car off. Still good idea given situation?
4. What about North? Idea was to fly from Puerto Montt to Antofagasta, then do the far north thing (San Pedro, Oficinas, Geoglyphs...) with rental car and then return to Angofagasta. Then bus it to La Serena and head into Elqui Valley with the telescopes and all that. I am aware of some protests, but seems like things are functioning reasonably. Further details?
5. Also, I have yet to book any internal flights / cars / hotels - was about to do that mid-Oct, and well.... I know I need to be even more flexible than usual, but any rules of thumb as to how far should I think about booking in advance that would be customary in Chile (prices, availability...)?

I know no one can predict the future precisely, but your insights and perspectives can help me figure out probabilities a bit better.

I have been watching 24horas .cl (and others) from here, and have seen the rather tone-deaf, belated responses and lacklustre public performance, so that, plus some of what I read here, is not giving me much of a warm and fuzzy by the time I would be there.

I am trying not to bail out just yet and am still trying to make this work, so any additional insights and perspective would help immensely!

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admin
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Re: Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by admin » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:39 am

outside the urban areas, I would not expect much in terms of disruptions. perhaps the occasional cut of route 5 for various protests, just pay attention to the news and you should be fine.
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From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.

confusedtraveller
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Re: Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by confusedtraveller » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:14 am

Thanks very much for the advice.

I think I will head to Puerto Varas on the first night instead of Puerto Montt, and then make my way south down Carretera Austral and carry on from there. I am getting the impression that Puerto Montt is a more rough port town than I had expected, judging from the continuing incidents after the general strike on Tuesday I am reading in the Chilean news.

I am expecting this to be a "long strange trip". While I am not unfamiliar with going to places with all sorts of political tensions, and I have seen some protests, stone throwing and tear gas in South America, I haven't been to a place in the midst of a full-blown nationwide political crisis such as this, even if most of the places I intend to go to tend to be in wilderness / countryside areas which don't seem to be the main focus of the action (e.g., not countryside guerilla activity).

Hasta la llegada en Chile en apenas dos semanas.

vamoschile
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Re: Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by vamoschile » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:41 am

I would agree with Admin you biggest disturbance will be the ruta 5 sur blockades where the protests might light tires/pallets on fire. If there is a blockade and they stop your car just dance with them so they will let you proceed. Depending how far south you go on the carretera austral if becomes very remote so just keep that in mind as you travel because I doubt emergency responders are quick to respond in the current conditions.

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Re: Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by admin » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:17 am

all our contacts down in the patagonia are reporting nothing going on.

most of those towns they would have to include the sheep to have sufficient warm bodies to form a proper protest.
Spencer Global Chile: Legal, relocation, and Investment assistance in Chile.
For more information visit: https://www.spencerglobal.com

From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.

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Re: Puerto Montt / Carretera Austral + North Dec 2019 - Situation

Post by admin » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:19 am

puerto montt is a dump on a nice day. the protesters are just doing some remodeling to the downtown. It really was never much of a tourist attraction.
Spencer Global Chile: Legal, relocation, and Investment assistance in Chile.
For more information visit: https://www.spencerglobal.com

From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.

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