Posted on 24th Feb 2016
Photo: Waiting for the ferry to cross the Rio Palena to Raúl Marín Balmaceda.
We watched the sun rise over the Michinmahuida volcano as we ate breakfast then packed up our tent and walked the 3 km's down the gravel road back to the car. On leaving the park at El Amarillo we first stopped at the park info centre that was closed when we entered the park, there wasn't much info available buy we just purchased a map. We called into the local shop and bough some fresh bread and enjoyed a second breakfast.
Heading south we enjoyed sections of tarmac road interspersed with sections of gravel before arriving at the small town on La Junta. We filled the car up with petrol (the most expensive so the entire Carretera Austral) then headed east to Raul Marín Balmaceda a small fishing village of about 500 inhabitants on the coast. It's recommended in our guidebook as one of the best detours from the main Carretera Austral. The road to the village was incredible, there is nothing but mountains and forest in this part of the world. In the 75kms from La Junta, we only passed 5 cars in the entire 2 hour journey along the well graded gravel road and in the final 50km there was not a single dwelling. There was a river crossing on a small ferry capable of carrying 6 vehicles at a time just before we arrived at our destination, a service subsidised by the Chile government.
Apart from the twice weekly (9 hour) ferry service from the Chiloe island, this is the only way to access the village. The village itself wasn't as interesting as the route there, but we rented a small basic cabin (with a toilet that rocked when you sat on it!) and settled in with a hot shower, WiFi and a log fire....