The Trip, Day 18: Exploring Chile

Alberto Rey is a longtime Upstate New York steelhead guide, 2021 Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide of the Year, and a Distinguished Professor for Research and Creative Activity at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He and his wife have embarked on a round-the-world trip, and they have generously agreed to share occasional updates from their travels.

The heavy rains and winds today made dry-fly fishing a bit unrealistic, but it provided an opportunity to organize photos, artwork, videos, and time to consider how fortunate we are to be on this adventure. We still have a long way to go on our travels around the world, but it’s not an endurance race. Perhaps that will change as transportation between locations becomes more taxing, but for now, it is all manageable and the destinations have been joyful. We have put together some stats at the end of this little update to give you an overview of what we have encountered. 

The fishing for brown trout at Magic Waters was exceptional.
All photos/art by Alberto Rey

After leaving the Galapagos, we stayed a couple of days in the Quito, Ecuador which is one of the first two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A 6-hour tour of historical center was barely enough time to get a brief overview of its importance. At 9350-foot elevation, I was just getting used to the lack of oxygen when we left Quito for a flight to Santiago, Chile to meet our son, Diego, who was joining us for the next month. 

After Santiago, we flew two hours to our first fly fishing destination, Magic Waters Patagonia. I had met Eduardo and his wife, Consuelo, the lodge owners, a few months before at an Orvis partners meeting. We hit it off, but that was not unusual since everyone seemed to love the friendly couple. We met again at the small airport in Barmeceda, and after an hour drive, we were at the lodge where the staff was waiting for with hors d’oeuvres and frozen Pisco sours, my new favorite cocktail. Pisco is fermented grape juice originally created by Spanish settlers in the 16th century. The high octane and tasty liquor is supplemented with lemons and simple syrup for a refreshing beverage. The staff and the guides throughout the week made us feel like family and we could not have been happier.

The quality of fishing was matched only by the scenic beauty of the rivers.  My wife, who rarely fly fishes and who wondered if needed to include as much fly fishing into the itinerary, admitted that this was a very good addition to “The Trip.” She enjoys a good book or a hike as much as a day of fishing, but I have seen her as excited as when she landed her first Patagonian trout on a dry fly. The week was filled with new experiences and new water, and it is not likely that we will forget this any time soon. 

Day 18 Stats

Countries Visited: Ecuador and Chile

Stops: Quito, Ecuador; Puerto Ayora (Galapagos)’  Puerto Villamil (Galapagos)’  Santiago, Chile; and Magic Waters Patagonia Outfitters (Chile).

Transportation: 7 flights, 6 buses, 6 ferries, two high speed inter-island ferries, 13 taxis, 6 charter boats, 4 water taxis, 6 inflatable motorized zodiac boats, 8 cars, one van, two drift boats, 2 horses, and one jet raft. 

A stunning valley viewed from horseback on the way to the Upper Magote River.

Favorite Outdoor Experience: Horseback ride to fish the Upper Magote River, where we ate roasted lamb on its banks.

Favorite drink: Frozen Pisco Sour.

Favorite Lodging: Magic Waters Patagonia, Coyhaique, Chile 

Favorite Fly: Black Beetle.

Previous Dispatches

  1. The Trip: Around the World in 5 Months

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