Pachamama refers to mother earth or the Incan mythological goddess of fertile harvesting. This is also the name of the bus company that provides tours of northern and southern Chile. Northern Chile has a good deal of desert area and southern Chile features the lake district. We were interested in southern Chile, but the country is so long that we just didn't want to try exploring it all on our own.
Pachamama offers a one week tour of the lake district. You can hop off the bus at any scheduled stop and pick up another one in a week or two, or even longer if you want. It's a great concept. They only allow 17 travelers and it's always less because they need to make sure there is room if someone schedules a pickup along the way. This would allow us to see major points of interest (and some less known ones as well) and take our time if we wanted to jump off. This also provides us the opportunity meet new people (which could be a blessing or a curse on a lengthy bus ride).
We booked the tour just over a week prior to our departure and scheduled our pickup at our apartment in Santiago. They were an hour late....not a good start. We weren't notified until we were already out of the apartment and no longer had wifi. So we sat outside by the building's entrance and waited. At least there was another stray dog to entertain Liam.
We were the last pickup and there were five others on the bus. This was nice and gave us some room. We were the only Americans/Canadians (there were three French women, one German guy about 30, and a man about 50 who spoke five languages so I have no idea where he was originally from), but everyone spoke English.
Our first rest stop was in a small town called Pomaire. Pomaire means Cave of Refugees in the Quechua language. The people here specialize in clay handicrafts. We weren't going to buy any clay objects, so we walked around for a few minutes and bought some empanadas for a snack.
It was a short break, so we headed off to our next rest break at the Rapel Dam. There were a ton of fish on one side of the dam.
Our destination for the night was a small town called Pichilemu, which means small forest. Once it was 'honored' by having Chile's first casino. Now it is known internationally by surfers. It has a great beach and offers other activities like horseback riding.
We settled in our hostel for the night. It was nothing special and had a kind of funky, mildew smell. After that, we set out to check out the beach. It was nice to be near the water again. It was windy and not the ideal beach day. It was still spring time here (late October) but that didn't stop the hard core surfers. We enjoyed a lovely, long walk on the beach. It is smooth for a long while, then it got rocky as you reach the end. Ironically, that is where the surfers go. There were some decent waves, but it could get quite dangerous with the rocks.
After the walk on the beach, we had dinner. It was about 5:30, so that's crazy early for here. No one was in the restaurant. We had to be done by 7 because there was a trip planned to Punta de Lobos. It's about six kilometers from here by car and it's the other side of that rocky peninsula on the beach we saw earlier.
We arrived just before sunset. It was a gorgeous night. The waves were crashing on the jagged coastline. I took so many pictures. I'll include some, but the coastline was about the same so they begin to look similar just with the waves crashing in different places.
Sadly, the beautiful evening had to come to an end. We only had one night in Pichelemu and we had a very long travel day ahead of us.