March 1, 2018
This post is the first in a series covering a 3 week trip in Chile. This time we are hitting some regions that we missed on previous trips, namely, Chiloé famed for its wooden churches, colorful palafitos and seascapes, the Lake District where deep blue waters and snowy volcano peaks rule and Easter Island, home of the mysterious Moai monolithic stone figures.
The Puerto Montt airport is a convenient stop to pick up a rental car for Patagonia to the south, Chiloé to the southwest and the Lake District to the north. Although we spent the first night in Puerto Montt before heading to Chiloé I would not recommend this as traffic getting in and out of town can be a headache. Rather, if your flight times allow it, head straight to your next destination.
Holiday Inn Express Puerto Montt. If you want something in town this is a nice business style hotel with great sea views. It’s so close to the water you feel like you are on a boat. The hotel is located in a shopping mall, convenient for shopping but a parking nightmare in the afternoon and evening. In the morning, however, the parking lot is dead quiet.
Our room was spacious, comfortable and quiet. We got an ocean view room but the Express Hotels are not as nice as the regular Holiday Inn brand. They also cost less.
Breakfast had a good selection of cold items including cereal, yogurt, whole fruits, bread, cheese, and cold cuts. Hot items included – scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes. Brewed coffee with hot milk was also available.
Dinner at Entre Mar & Pasta
Located about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, the small, colorful dining room had just two tables occupied at just before 8PM on a Thursday (They open at 7:30) and they never completely filled while we were there.
We started with Pisco sours to celebrate Don’s first evening in Chile (Really, while in Chile, any excuse will do.) They make very good, tart ones here.
We started with a very fresh ceviche with a variety of fish topped with beautiful, fresh, sliced avocado.
For mains Don ordered the seafood pappardelle – well done but too cheesy and creamy for our tastes –
and I tried the chipirones en su tinta, squid served in a black squid ink sauce. One of my favorite dishes that I’ve never seen served in the States. This version was good but again too cheesy for my tastes. The cheese masks the great sea flavor of the squid ink. Service is efficient and friendly.
Flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt
The Sky Airline check-in counter had a long queue, 45 minutes, at 11:30AM. It wasn’t nearly this crowded when Camille and I checked in for the 9AM flight to Puerto Montt and on to Punta Arenas 3 weeks earlier.
There were also long lines at security but they went pretty quickly.
In Puerto Montt we got our bags fairly quickly but there was a slow queue at the Avis rental car desk. Once we got to the counter the transaction went smoothly and efficiently although you do have to then wait for the parking lot attendant to take you to your car to check out the vehicle.
We left the small Puerto Montt airport around 5PM with heavy traffic heading into town. Before heading to Chiloé we were only planning on spending the night in town as Don had just flown in from the States that morning. As I mentioned, if I had known about the traffic I might of skipped the hotel in town or skipped Puerto Montt altogether.