Day 171: All Change

Overland miles: 8358 Bus hours: 265.25 Empanadar: 26

Every so often, the best laid plans have to be changed and so is the case with our trip. After many hours of deliberation, cogitation and digestion (the latter especially in Jovian’s case), we’ve decided to make a pretty drastic change to our planned route…

After more than a few soakings in Colombia, small weather warning bells had started going off in our minds. Some hurried internet research revealed our fears were true. Based on the speed we were travelling we would be reaching the Andes and attempting to climb Macchu Pichu during the rainy season, then following the bad weather all the way down the continent, potentially missing the summer in Patagonia altogether.

Obviously, a big part of our plan had been about travelling from north to south using just buses and boats – no planes. So we were faced with a tough decision:

  1. Stick to the plan and struggle through torrential rains and impassable roads (apparently whole parts of Bolivia are unreachable during its rainy season), or
  2. bite the bullet and take a flight to the far south of Patagonia and reverse the second section of the trip, travelling south to north, and therefore avoiding the worst of the weather.
Another normal day in the Bolivian rainy season

Another normal day in the Bolivian rainy season

Whilst we can cope with a bit of rain (we’re English after all) the kind of weather that renders travel virtually impossible isn’t what we came to this part of the world for. What should we do?

Needless to say, the flight eventually won out, but it was a tough decision. No one likes to admit that his or her plans haven’t worked out but ultimately a big part of travelling is being flexible. If we had stuck to our original plans we would never have travelled Mexico’s Copper Canyon in a creaking trainsailed between El Salvador and Nicaragua on a local’s lancha, or experienced the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. All of which have been big highlights of our trip so far.

So, big changes are afoot. We have a flight booked from Lima to Punta Arenas, via Santiago, that will take the best part of 12 hours (yes folks, it’s a long way south). And then it’s on to Isla Navarino, the most southernly inhabited island in the world. Despite this being their summertime, the temperature when we land will be 10 degrees at best. (In Lima it’s been in the blissful high twenties). We’re going to be digging out our thermals (which have been festering at the bottom of our rucksacks for the last five and a half months) and donning our finest Craghopper chic to join proper trekkers to hike some of the most face-melting terrains on this planet.

And whilst we’re there we’ll be hanging out with penguins and flamingos (I hope), eating obscene amounts of Patagonic seafood (Jovian hopes) and visiting a country – Chile – where a glass of wine won’t be four times the price of a bottle of beer. Woo-hoo!

So stick around readers while we take you on a voyage to the end of the world.

We'll be going from this...

We’ll be going from this…

…to this

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