So we check in with the boat people first to drop our bags off. We have a few hours to kill and obviously had our day planned out already so we knew we were on a tight schedule. We walk around the town for a little to try to find a store that would carry camera cases because we had purchased a Nikon the day before. We’re poop out of luck and we need to start heading to the bus that would take us to Laguna Esmeralda. BUT there is one issue – I AM HANGRY. The thing is, when I am hungry and haven’t eaten in a few hours things can get ugly. We can’t find a quick place to eat, we're running late, and as you can imagine, tensions are running high, real high ahhh… Finally, we see this little café off a side street EXCELLENT. We get muffins and what not and run to find the bus stop. Both frantic, tension still up there, we cannot find the bus stop. Now we're running around like a bunch of loons up and down the steep hilly streets. We try and use our freshly learned Spanish to communicate with a native and barely get by but we found the place.
All is well, everyone is fully back in good spirits, and we arrive at the Laguna Esmeralda Trailhead.
It’s a beautiful hike to the lake. The landscape was really a dream. The trail takes you through such diverse habitats; forests, beaver dams, tundra, lakes. Gorgeous mountains with snow peaks, beautiful forest greens, and lovely streams. I loved the dry, greyish trees with the moss all over. Word of advice: always walk on the moss!! So fun!
Nuggy (what I call my boyfriend) was having a field day with the new camera. As we’re finally approaching the Lake area, it starts drizzling but no biggie, we got our GoPro handy (obvs). Nuggy is already framing the shot for our Instagram pic (I always like to have one money shot of the places we go to represent our time there AND I'm just psychotically serious about my insta travel pics). Now the best thing about the GoPro, for those of you that don’t know, is the fish-eye lens, a really really wide angle shot so you can capture the whole landscape behind you. So were positioned and ready to go, I try to turn on the GoPro and…nothing! It’s dead!! OMG was all I was thinking. Nuggy didn’t know what to do with himself I felt terrible. It was such a perfect shot for the GoPro too, with the beautiful mountains and stuff in the back. I get desperate to salvage the moment and see a couple of girls with their own GoPro. I approach them and try to explain them our debacle. They were Israeli so I try and whip out some Hebrew but it just got intermingled with the Spanish and it was weird. I basically make them switch batteries with me, in the rain and very high winds mind you (hey you gotta do what ya gotta do) and we come to another dead end – different batteries! BLAH so we ended up self-timing the Nikon on a rock and did what we had to. Needless to say, it was still a great shot, just not exactly what we had pictured.
Other than that little hiccup, the day was truly wonderful and the lands were magical. The lake was so pretty, so picturesque. It’s this beautiful milky green lake, with beautiful greens going up half the mountain, and snow on top. We couldn’t have started this Patagonia trip any better especially with the limited time we had. So for all of you that have a few hours to kill I highly recommend this!
AND FOR THE RECORD: I did charge the GoPro the day before! It actually happened a couple of times after that. We think it just turned on in bag by mistake.
From the tourist information building by the port (has a large lowercase “I” can’t miss it), walk two very short blocks down the main street where there’s a bunch of white Linea Regular "Transporte" vans parked waiting. (shared parking lot with gas station)
Some people do hitchhike from the port to the Trailhead but obvs it's whatever you're comfortable with
80 pesos round trip, the ride is 15-20 minutes long
There are 2 entrances
La Valle De Los Lobos: have to pay 10 pesos & register just in case you don’t come back
Laguna Esmeralda Trailhead: Free, little road just a couple of meters before Valle de Lobos – this one is longer
It can get muddy and there's some weird terrain so wear HIKING SHOES!
Weather is bipolar so windbreaker/rain jacket
Bring water and a snack!
There is a bathroom and a cafeteria at Valle de lobos but non at the trailhead
Each way is about 1.5-2 hours, depending on your pace and photo-ops