LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 69
Pags. 108 - 111
Text & Photos: Soledad Gil
WINTER IN PUYUHUAPI
The Pacific Ocean honours its name here on the coast where the water is completely still. No waves or wind, although it is cold. But that's the whole point of staying at this magnificent hotelspa, Termas de Puyuhuapi, built by Eberhard Kossman in 1989 on the Dorita bay in the Seno Ventisquero, 240km north of Coyhaique in Chile.
Mother nature bestowed this spot with thermal waters, that combined with the cold seawater have made this place a great success. There is nothing like having a dip in the outdoor swimming pool which temperature is 38° and then plunge into the sea below 10°-, then repeating the process until your circulation really gets going. In addition to the various pools Termas offers a fully equipped gymnasium, products imported from Bretagne, massage sessions, and wonderful Mercedes, whose yoga lessons make you feel brand new.
But that's not all, there is also Armando's brilliant cooking. He offers a wide variety of choices ranging from very healthy low calorie salads to very fattening chocolate pastry puffs... all fresh and tasty. Fish, seafood and wines are to die for in Chile.
The frequent rain showers are compensated by the intense green tones of the vegetation, that shiny varnish-like coat on the ferns and rocks, the lovely paths that lead from the hotel to the jetty, the foamy surface of the sea, the rainbows that appear and disappear like magic.
This is the utmost expression of the Chilean Patagonia, with its fjords, islands, wooden houses and the enormous "nalca" leaves.
The ideal minimum time at Termas is three nights, which will allow you also to visit the town of Puyuhuapi and its amazing carpet factory and an unforgettable cruise to the glaciers and the San Rafael Lake. Kossman's company provides transfers, and has recently incorporated a 28 metre catamaran, the Patagonia Express, with room for 56 passengers on deck and 38 in the bar-restaurant.
It drops you off at Puerto Chacabuco from where you can continue to the airport.
Other alter-natives include a visit to the cold jungle in Parque Nacional Queulat and the Ventisquero Colgante (the hanging glacier), kayaking in the nearby canals, fly fishing, the Bosque Encantado (enchanted forest) or simply staying at the hotel, nice and warm while sipping a glass of Montes Alpha or Caballo Loco and watching the rain fall down.