Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 2 - Santiago to Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales

Today was yet another travel day from Santiago down to Punta Arenas.  From there we caught a bus that Laura Dittmar had arranged for us to Puerto Natales where she picked us up from the bus top and took us to our first hostel of our trip.  So great to be at the bottom of the world with a long honeymoon of adventure ahead of us!  Click the title to read on...

Took us a while to get through customs and immigration at the Santiago Airport.  When we landed we were told that we had to get our bags at baggage claim before continuing on to Punta Arenas.  This meant paying the $160 reciprocity fee for each of us to enter Chile (good for 10 years) and going through immigration.  We filled out a form on the plane was told we didn't need need to fill out an immigration form but when we got to the agent after a long line we were told we had to go fill one out first.  Then there was some confusion about our flight.  I think they just needed to know what flight we had just gotten off of.  When we made it through customs we had to find our bags in a large crowd that were checked (thankfully they showed up) and then had to bring them through customs again.  Emily was worried about the dried veg/fruit in our mountainhouse meals but the agent said it was all ok.  Once through there we had to go and check in once again for our national flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas.  

It was hard to understand everyone speaking fast and we got confused when one woman told us to go to LAN Airlines booth #67 only to be waved away by a fast speaking woman.  Thankfully, an English speaking LAN employee explained that we just had to put our backpacks in a plastic bag and then come back.  A little odd but ok... From there we just checked our bags again for our final flight and then went to our correct C28 gate to wait for our plane to arrive.  I was a little hungry and Emily's stomach was upset from travel so she didn't get anything but I got a lemon cake a chai from a starbucks in the terminal.  Emily also took out $350,000 Chilean Pesos ($60 USD) just in case we needed it.  We were both glad we had a 3 hour layover in Santiago as it cut down on our stress making it through immigration and customs.  

Our final flight from Santiago via Puerto Montt was on a newer plane and was pretty comfortable.  From the window we could see tall peaks below us and glacier tongues extending down into the valleys.  This lasted for just the first leg and a little bit from Puerto Montt before everything was clouded over.  I tried to get some photos as I could while sipping the first beer that was offered to us on our flights.  Not sure why, maybe we need to specifically ask for wine or free drinks next time?  

Once we got into Punta Arenas and got our bags it was a 3 hour bus ride to Puerto Natales.  At first the bus driver couldn't find our names on his list which was super confusing because we couldn't understand what he was saying to us.   Thankfully he let us on anyway and then 20 minutes later found our names on his list and let us know we were all good.  The bus trip was uneventful and across vast lands barren of any trees.  The windows on the bus fogged up pretty bad so it was tough to see out them anyway.   When we got to the Puerto Natales bus stop at 10:30pm it was still very much light out and Laura from Dittmar was there to meet us and give us a ride to the Erratic Rock II, the first hostel we would stay at.  

A nice girl named Ella who spoke perfect English greeted us at the front desk and showed us to our amazing private room with bath.  She also arranged an 8am breakfast for us.  We then sat with Laura for a bit to talk about our itinerary and how we would get our rental car back and drop our extra bags off with them for pickup after our kayak trip.  Then it was off to a very welcome bed and sleep, although I think it may take a few more nights for me to catch up on sleep after a hellish week of last minute work and very little sleep on our flights.  Tomorrow officially starts our Adventure in Patagonia!

No comments: