With La Chanchita to the End of the World in Patagonia !
We have good news for all of you who are interested in skiing, hiking, climbing and all things nature in Patagonia. If you have not yet considered visiting you might change your mind after reading this article.
At the refugio Frey we met Taylor and Manu, an American and French couple that settled down in Bariloche. This day changed our journey and enabled us to visit places that would have been out of reach without the knowledge and quiver of fun gear that Manu afforded us.
With Manu’s help we were able to climb in Valle Encantado and Villa Llanquin. The crossing of a magnificent river by paddle board (gear that one cannot easily bring as a traveler) was a nice adventure in itself that allowed us to visit the stellar climbing area Valle Encantado that is rarely frequented by tourists. A refreshing swim in the river, climbing on amazing rock and the return across the river during a full moon made for a most memorable outing. The next day, thanks to Manu’s 4×4 vehicle, we were able to visit the sector Chacay close to Villa Llangquin. This climbing crag is located in a very remote desert area with hundreds of boulders, cracks and towers that are waiting to be discovered. We took the oppurtinity to ascend one of the nicest towers in pure trad style and without any information on whether it has been climbed before or not. It was a grand adventure and wonderful to get all four of us to the summit.
These two extraordinary days were only the beginning of our Patagonian discoveries thanks to our trip in La Chanchita to Piedra Parada. La Chanchita is Manu’s camper van. It is not just a normal bus, but a vehicle that has been equipped by Manu for countles hours and now calls itself a motor home. It is a hotel on wheels with a driver who knows all the interesting places in Patagonia. As you might imagine, it couldn’t be any better for mountain and nature fanatics like ourselves.
During two weeks at Piedra Parada we got to know all the secrets and advantages that La Chanchita had to show us. Huge and confortable beds, a well equipped kitchen (including a big stove) and a lot of space (even Michel with 186 cm can walk upright without any problems) for moving around. Toilettes and showers with hot water were also available. And she’s not just functional, she is also quite stylish with a very pleasing wooden design and LEDs lighting. It is the comfort that combines ideally with the possibility to spend time at very remote places.
The van is really ideal for Patagonia with its limited availability of public transport in the region. Apart from the bigger touristic places like Bariloche, El Chalten, and El Calafate there are a lot of places that one still can’t (or only rarely) reach with public transportation. The van offers great flexibility to move around and visit magnificent places that are rarely explored. Plus, there is a lot of space within Chanchita to move around and store large amounts of luggage without any problem. In fact, now that we are travelling without Chanchita we sometimes struggle to hitchhike given the 35 kg of baggage per person we are carrying.
Travelling with the Chanchita is not that expensive because it allows you to save cash that you would otherwise be spending for nights in hotels, meals in restaurants and transportation costs which are not trivial in Argentina and Chile. The bus has the advantage of beeing much more comfortable than the tent, especially given the rough weather conditions that often exist in Patagonia. It is safe to say that most other climbers we encountered were a bit jealous when their tent was shaking in the wind, while we sipped mate in La Chanchita. For rest days you have everything you might need like a hammock, slackline, comfortable places to curl up and read and even a screen projector for watching the latest ski and climbing movie.
Our experience simply scratched the surface of what a trip with Manu and La Chanchita is like because his offerings are actually quite involved. Manu was a professional skier for the brand Faction and his van was used for the production of various skiing movies. Given his deep experience you can visit and ski the most impressive volcanoes in Argentina and Chile in La Chanchita and explore the most remote places. As we visited Patagonia in the austral summer, you’d better believe we will be back soon for another adventure with La Chanchita in winter.
To get back to the promised good news… we can give you Manu’s contact info and you can be the next one to start the journey and discover the gorgeous places of Patagonia, the ones who are not accessible with the public transports and that are far from tourists and everything comes with the super friendly guide Manu who is fluid in french, english and spanish ! Manu’s service offers on-demand trips. It is up to you and your imagination to decide what kind of journey (volcanoes and lakes in Chile, climbing in Argentina’s desert, traversing Patagonia from Bariloche to Ushuaia to give you some ideas) and the sport (skiing, hiking, climbing, cycling, kayaking, etc) you would like to chose. Manu will be there to join and guide you during this adventure.
More informations below :
Instagram : @chanchitabus
Whatsapp : +54 9 294 492-8979
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org