Latin America 2011-2012: The Lake Districts of Chile & Argentina, Costa Rica

In North America's 2011-2012 winter I find myself going again to the South American summer. For a first time, however, I don't find myself trying to escape the cold per se. That's because I've moved to a new city for the first time in a record number of years. I'm back to a place where winter again means winter, something of an advantage found in living against mountains. Snow, I knew ye well - and now again.

I thus find myself traveling (in part) to avoid the doldrums of working on my new house-in-progress. Wisely I take a pass on the misery of doing construction in the cold, a lack of insulation (and thus essentially no heat) sounding unappealing. Besides, there's the desire to just take a break from the process for a few months, taking a pause in THINKING about the task in addition to not DOING IT every day.

So it's THAT which finds me hazily wandering back through a region where I've racked up more than two years of visits. The idea this time? To fill in some of the gaps missed over the years. But, as these things have a way of growing their own legs - and wine bellies - over the course of a few months the trip's focus doesn't seem to be able to move beyond Chile and Argentina. Apparently the chicken buses, cold showers, and missing toilet seats of the northern Andes aren't appealing enough this time around. Go figure. Then, just before all the hoopla is over, I decide on a beach and a change of scenery after all - and Costa Rica enters the mix. Done!

The Stew Brews... and Boils Into Action via
Flying (overnight) Into Santiago, Chile (1+1 nights)
Valdivia, Chile (8 nights)
Puerto Varas, Chile (5 nights)
Bariloche, Argentina (10 nights)
El Bolsón, Argentina (6 nights)
Bariloche, Argentina Redux (10 nights)
El Bolsón, Argentina Redux (19 nights)
Trevelin, Argentina & Futaleufú, Chile (3,5 nights)
Castro & Ancud, Isla Chiloé, Chile (3,5 nights)
Puerto Octay & Panguipulli, Chile (4,2 nights)
San Martin de los Andes, Argentina (8+1 nights)
Mendoza, Argentina and flying from Santiago, Chile (6+1 nights)
Montezuma, Costa Rica (1+11 nights)
Monteverde, Costa Rica (5 nights)
Puerto Viejo (de Limon), Costa Rica (11+1 nights)

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