Our First Experiences Hitchhiking… Valdivia, Chile



Making our way to Valdivia was quite the experience! We finally did something that we have been talking about since getting into Chile. It was time to stick our thumbs out and take the initiative to save some money on transportation, challenge our Spanish with locals, and add one more adventure to our list. We were going to hitchhike!


Hitching To Valdivia

We began our hitchhiking in Pucon, and literally after only five minutes of standing on the road, and Argentinean picked us up. Jason was standing with his thumb out, while Heather was making a sign, and then we heard honking behind us. Jay ran over to the car to find out the guy was willing to give us a ride to the town of Villarica. This was only about 20 minutes away, but hey, that put us 20 minutes closer to our destination. We walked to the supermarket grabbed some stuff to make sandwiches, then sat like bums in the parking lot enjoying lunch out of a shopping cart, before seeking out the best spot to find a ride out of town.



After 15 minutes a guy and daughter picked us up and took us only about 15 kms down the road, still not a major ride, but again it got us even closer to Valdivia. They dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. Literally at the end of a driveway with cars just flying by us. We didn’t think we would ever get a ride there. But, 10 minutes later a guy in a Ford Transit picked us up with two other girls inside who were hitchhiking as well. We all crammed in the car and got dropped at a gas station on Route 5.


{Traveler’s Tip.. If you’re hitching.. Try and position yourself at places people are stopping or at least slowing down. Gas stations, on/off ramps, and places with a shoulder make for great spots. Try to aviod hitching on the middle of up or down hills, and places without a safe spot for drivers to pull over.} 


This guy surely had picked up hitchhikers before. He knew exactly where the best location was for us to get our next hitch. Sure enough, only 5 minutes later a girl in a truck that was heading to Puerto Montt picked us up and took us to the Valdivia exit. Here we waited out our longest time before getting a hitch. After multiple cars passing, a man pulling over when he thought it was just Heather hitching, then continuing to drive once he realized there was a guy with her, (oh, the joys of hitchhiking!!)  Thirty minutes later a guy picked us up and took us just two kilometers to a small town called San Jose. Again, two kilometers was better than nothing, especially since at this point we were thinking we would be walking the rest of the way to Valdivia.


We stood in one spot for 30 minutes and decided that we needed to go to the other side of town to be more successful. 15 minutes later, an auto mechanic picked us up and took us the rest of the distance to Valdivia, clearly moving to a new location was a good idea! This guy was a crazy driver. He took us on two random dirt roads to “avoid road construction” and we kept thinking he was taking us somewhere to rob us. He sped and swerved all over the place the entire ride, got mad when we talked when he didn’t want us to, and was not so happy we couldn’t hold a perfect conversation with him in Spanish. In the end, we made it to Valdivia, chalking up this experience as our craziest hitching experience, a fun one if nothing else!!


We Made It To Valdivia!!

Upon arriving to the city, we were starving. We stopped on the side of the road and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which to our surprise caused lots of weird looks. Then we walked a short mile to our hostel. At this point, we were so ecstatic to be getting to our hostel. Hitchhiking was so much fun, but it was an extremely long day!


After getting settled in, we ventured over to a restaurant that was recommended to us by the AiresBuenas Hostel. We were missing the bohemian style and craft beer from back home and this restaurant (La Ultima Frontera) hit the spot.


{Traveler’s Tip… Head to Ultima Frontera for dinner and great beer. Although the second and third time we went there weren’t as good as our first night, the food and atmosphere were both great!}



It was a really good night, it reminded us of having a date night back home!  Although we literally spend every waking minute of the day together and are able to talk freely all the time, having a little date night like this was very special. Being care free and totally relaxed, not thinking about where we should go next or how we should get there, but just focusing on each other! We went back to the hostel and were so excited to be heading back to La Ultima Frontera the next night.


{Traveler’s Tip… When you’re traveling, you sometimes need a vacation from it. Even if this “vacation” is a relaxed evening out, take the time to not worry about where you’re going next and just enjoy the moment!}


The next day, we woke up and had an amazing breakfast!! This hostel provided some of the best breakfast food. Freshly cut fruit with granola and yogurt accompanied by whole grain bread! Yum.. my mouth’s watering just writing about it! After breakfast, we made our way over to the coast to get our feet wet in the Pacific Ocean again.


{Traveler’s Tip… Stay at BuenasAires, if for nothing else, then just for the great breakfast! They have a great outdoor kitchen and are extremely eco-friendly.}



We took the local bus (600 CHP or 1 USD) to the coast.  We know.. big spenders over here!!  The ride was gorgeous.  The bus stop is at the feria, a local place that is only open during high season that serves amazing food. This little group of restaurants has every sea food that one could imagine and usually has a band or live performance of some kind going on in the center of all the food stalls. Here we had amazing Curanto, a local dish pictured below. It was actually quite tasty and so much food!


{Traveler’s Tip.. Go to Niebla. The beach is pretty and when the feria is running, the food you can get there is great!! You can take the bus to get there (600 CHP), or cross over the first bridge and from there hitchhike out to the coast.}



We definitely felt the need to walk off what we just ate.  After lunch, we made our way up the hill to an amazing lookout and then walked down to the beach and enjoyed yet again another super relaxing time sitting on the rocks watching the waves roll in. We talked and talked about how blessed we have been on this journey. It seems like the Lord has orchestrated perfect places at perfect times for us to sit back and reflect on what He is doing in our lives and to talk about the desires He is putting on our hearts.



Kunstmann Brewery

We wanted to visit the Kunstmann Brewery on the way back to Valdivia, so we decided to try and hitchhike there.  No more than a minute after sticking our thumbs out did a nice family pick us up and dropped us right in front of the brewery.


{Traveler’s TIp... If you want to go to the brewery, we suggest hitchhiking there. For whatever reason, taking the bus is more expensive than it should be, and the drivers don’t like stopping at the brewery.} 


The brewery tour was a bit expensive, so we decided to try some of the beers in the restaurant. Get this, our waitress ended up being from Oregon too!! How crazy is that!! We were able to talk all about our home state and sample loads of beer!



Back in Valdivia

The rest of our time in Valdivia was super relaxed and low key. We went back to the same restaurant two more times, however, were disappointed both times by cold food and not so great drinks. Heather ordered a malted milkshake and was daydreaming of one from The Pharmacy back home, but was heartbroken when they brought her out a milkshake with malt beer instead. hah.. The joys of a different culture! We walked around the local fish market, the artesian craft fair, botanical gardens, and enjoyed trying to replicate some of the dishes Heather learned from working with Senora Benita in the kitchen. After spending five nights in Valdivia we were ready to embark on our second hitchhiking experience to get us down to Chiloe, Chile.



…Where We Are Now And Where We Are Heading (February 2015)…

Since Valdivia, we had an awesome couple hitches that actually rerouted us to Puerto Varas before heading into Chiloe. We stayed in Puerto Varas for a night before hitching down to the island of Chiloe. We have now been in Chiloe for about two weeks, and are heading off to finally get into Patagonia today. Yes.. two weeks was an extremely long time to be on a small island, but we could only get a ferry off the island for today.

Our ferry leaves at 2:00 am and we should be into Patagonia by early afternoon tomorrow! From there we will be heading south through the Chilean side of Patagonia, before crossing over to Argentina to see some of the marvels in the Argentinean side of Patagonia. Then we’ll jump back into Chile to see Torres Del Paine, and other great sites!! We will keep you posted when we can. However, we plan to camp through Patagonia, so we aren’t too sure we will have internet access often.

…Prayer Requests…

*Pray for safety in our hitchhiking down through Patagonia. And that we can bless those who pick us up in some way.

*Pray for our health. Jason needs continual prayer for stomach. And Heather burnt her throat last week while eating pasta and it’s still bothering her.

*Praise God for the insights He has given us and the ways He continues to guide our path.

*At the same time, pray that we clearly see where the Lord has us and wants us heading!

*Again pray for our friends back home that are pregnant. One of our friends just had her baby.. Praise God both are healthy! And continue to pray for easy pregnancies for the rest of our pregger friends!!

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