Category Archives: Travel – Chile

Ultimate Glamping

Fundo Panguilemu is just a 20 minute drive from Coyhaique, Chile.  Stepping into your booked yurt is settling into surprisingly luxurious accommodation overlooking the renowned Simpson River – famous for waters rich with trout and perfect for fly fishing.  and quiet.  Peace and quiet with dark skies and stars like diamonds.

Relax and get away from it all, fly fish, go for a hike, sign up for horse trekking, or just enjoy being on a working farm complete with sheep, cattle, chickens, and horses.  Owners José and Elizabeth are dedicated to regenerating their beautiful property to an even higher level of productivity and beauty through proper management of resources and they are happy to share their knowledge with anyone interested in such endeavors.

Follow along on Fundo Panguilemu Facebook page.  There is good reason to plan your Chilean trip around this outstanding experience.

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Walking towards one of three yurts available for booking.

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There are two other yurts available.  you can see both here along with the larger one to the left of the photo which is the commons area where meals are provided (kitchen in the silver shed in back)
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Your hosts, José and Elizabeth.

 

The view from one of the yurts.

Trekking and Mustering

Can i just giggle?  will i sound like an insane person?  you’ll forgive me when you see the photos of the horse trekking our Savory Journey group took this morning at Fundo Panguilemu.  Much to Jose’s frustration, the sheep were out, but we all enjoyed mustering them back to their proper paddock — On horseback!  Have trailed cattle on foot in Kenya and Argentina, and now mustered sheep on horseback in Chile.  I am blessed.

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Getting ready to ride!
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Incredible experience and scenery horse trekking at Fundo Panguilemo.  Book ahead – this is a popular activity.
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Simpson River, Coyhaique, Chile.  Famous for outstanding trout fishing.  This long stretch is easily accessible by booking a yurt at Fundo Panguilemu.
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Our wonderful hosts serving us Pisco Sours on the banks of the Simpson River.

Across Country-Across the Borders

After a great supper followed by a good night’s sleep and enjoying a delicious breakfast next morning, we loaded in our vehicles and headed for the Argentinian border.  Crossing the border here is just part of the experience.  There are two windows and agents to visit with at each border with a driving space of about 7 kilometers between the two.  Getting out, showing and studying paperwork (for vehicles and people), stamping, questions, get loaded back up.  It took our small tour of about ten people, 2 hours to navigate this labyrinth.  The return was somewhat quicker – still a few bumps and luggage needed to be opened but only a cursory examination, more paperwork.  If you don’t have your paperwork in order, chances are good, you will not cross.

But the effort was worth it once we arrived at Numancia Estacion.  First greeted with open warm hospitality and then seated informally for a traditional Argentinian meal.  We did have to wait about an hour for the rain to stop before we began our now shortened farm walk.  Pablo shared details of his Hereford cattle program and Merino sheep scheme.  Then we went out to examine how his 10-year implementation of managed grazing has improved forage quality and yield.

Back to Coyhaique for supper at Hotel El Reloj (awesome) then to Raices Bed and Breakfastjust before they closed the doors for the night!  Finally to be in bed by midnight – scheduled departure is at 5:15a to meet a family business to take us to see the condors on a cliff side.

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Now this is just a fun group.  On the left front, Mimi Hillenbrand, owner of 777 Bison Ranch in South Dakota, as well as recent owner of a small property in Chili and on the right front, Elizabeth, owner of Fundo Panguilemu.  Photo taken just before supper at Cabañas El Diamante
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El Diamante’s owner (on the right) is assisting the builder with sprucing up the lovely accommodation and meals served business in Chile.  Stihl chainsaws all over the world!

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Traditionally roasted lamb.
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Our host slicing off slabs of tender juicy lamb to serve to his guests.  
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Pablo explaining his pasture improvement methods.
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Yes, we got to walk these quiet Hereford pairs into another lot.
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This and several other Merino rams being graded for quality by an inspector for a composite which tries to improve both wool and meat quality.
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And back to Chile.

 

777 Bison Ranch

So, the short story is that an awesomely talented and accomplished woman, Mimi Hillenbrand, has for some years owned and managed the 777 Bison Ranch in South Dakota in a holistic manner vis-à-vis that which is promoted by the Savory Institute or Holistic Management International.  Bison on an open ranch of thousands of acres requires a bit different approach to grazing pressure and rest to improve the soil health and forage quality/quantity.  It was very interesting to hear how she handles the animals.

These past few years, she purchased a smaller property in Chile she named 45 South to not only improve the pastures, (though using cattle this time) but also just to really enjoy the beautiful scenery and to live in a completely different culture –at least part time.

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Mimi provided hand made empanades for lunch!
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A huge tray of them!
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It will take more years, but with managed cattle impact on the land, improvement can already be measured.
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Properly managed livestock impact is critical to healing the land.

Fundo Panguilemu, Coyhaique, Chili

I cannot do justice to the sweet hospitality of this young family.  Our Savory Institute journey group is here to learn about the improvements they have experienced using the holistic management techniques.  The grass is thick, lush, and tender – rested paddocks are ready for consuming.

 

 

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Regenerative farm owner and operator, Jose,  (who is also a holistic management instructor) gave us an excellent overview on how they’ve managed their farm and improved the sward and healed the soil substantially in only 6 years using managed grazing of cattle and sheep.
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No bare soil in this thick sward.
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Thick stand of grass after 45 days rest.
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Elizabeth, also owner of the farm and a holistic management instructor keeps all the balls in the air on this stunning cattle and sheep farm/pastured egg laying/horse trekking/firewood gathering/wildlife viewing/fly fishing/mountain biking/yurt accommodation/HMI training site.  Oh, did i mention she also is raising 2 wonderful little children as well as training interns who show up from around the world to help on the farm?
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How about a unique stay on a working farm?! And talk about a view!  Excellent fly fishing available here on the edge of the Simpson River.  Contact Elizabeth at Fundo Panguilemu.
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Lookout Paddock provides excellent overview of paddock layout.  Note cattle and sheep grazing in lower left paddock.
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For my Missouri friends, you will be surprised to know that many of the grasses and forbes are the same as what we graze.  This is a photo of the rose bush that we also have growing, but no multiflora rose here.

Patagonia, Chili

Early morning flight on LATAM airlines from Santiago to Balmaceda went without a hitch.  Met up with Trey, our tour director and lovely local girl as guide and found ourselves staying in a beautiful private lodge 1 1/2 hours outside Balmaceda.  Met our other tour members later that afternoon at the lodge.  Family style dinner provided was enjoyed by all as well as freshly made Pisco Sours traditional Chilean drink.

Next day is a drive through Patagonia to Coyhaique.

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This lady did an excellent job producing and drying herbs.  I bought some Patagonian yerba mate.

Santiago, Chili

With a long layover in Santiago, Chili, (established by Spanish Conquistadors in 1541), my traveling mate had booked a private walking city tour with Larisa who is listed with Tours by Locals.  Larisa was such a pleasure, making sure we were comfortable on a bit of a warm day and answered all our questions!  She is very knowledgeable on the history of this city of 7 million which spreads as far as the eye can see from the top of Cerro San Cristobal. Our 5 hour bespoke and private tour just right.

Plaza de Armas
Metropolitan Cathedral*
Mercado Central(fish market)
– Supreme Court*
– Paseo Bandera
– La Moneda (the seat of the President)*
– Old banking district
– National Library*
– Santa Lucia Hill
– Lastarria neighborhood

– Cerro San Cristobal

*exterior visit

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Ironworks inside and gates though designed in Chili, were built, and sourced from Glasgow, Scotland and shipped to Santiago. This beautiful Central Marketbuilding, opened in 1872 has undergone modernization, but has not lost its character.
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The fresh fish market is well known though a smaller portion of the offerings inside the Market which is now mostly cafes with an array of dishes prepared with the many ocean sourced meats.
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Be sure to refresh with a traditional and local drink made with rehydrated peaches, homemade syrup poured atop steamed wheat.  Yummy!
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Plaza de Armas (1541)  is the main central square of Santiago, anchored by the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago.  Few older buildings have survived the multiple earthquakes shaking Santiago thought the centuries. 
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Four services per day in the Santiago Cathedral keep this place of worship an important part of the community.
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A green respite in the midst of the city – the old living with the modern.  Santa Lucia Hill.
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Santa Lucia Hill
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We finished our tour with a drive to the Cerro San Cristobal – the second highest point in Santiago, offering stunning views of a vast city.  We took the funicular to the second level (the first platform exits into the city zoo), then climbed the steps to the top.

Driven back to our Holiday Inn right at the airport by expert driver, Christopher, i ended up sleeping right through supper after a shower.  Trying to get onto the new time.  Chili is 3 hours earlier than central time.  So while it is only 8p at home, it’s now 11p here.  Early morning flight is aided by simply walking across the street to the airport.

Buenas Noches!