Mallín Colorado, una experiencia desde el primer momento
From the Balmaceda Airport
Luego de recibir en el aeropuerto de Balmaceda a los que serán mis pasajeros durante los siguientes cinco días, cargamos el auto y comenzamos nuestra travesía por el sur de la Carretera Austral. Los pasajeros son una pareja entre 50 y 60 años de edad, europeos, no los he visto nunca antes. Ellos reservaron la estadía por Internet hace ya varios meses y hemos conversado mucho por mail.
After receiving at the Balmaceda airport those who will be my passengers for the next five days, we loaded the car and began our journey through the southern Carretera Austral. The passengers are a couple between 50 and 60 years of age, Europeans, I have never seen them before. They booked the stay online several months ago and we have talked a lot by email.
There are also long spaces of silence on the road, of silence between us and of silence outside, long sections of the road where no one lives, no cars pass, we have been alone for a long time.
I begin by explaining that we have a five hour journey south, that after an hour of paving, we will eat something and begin the dirt route to the lodge. A little geographical explanation of where we are, that in this part the Andes Mountain Range moves to the west, it is no longer between Chile and Argentina, but between the sea and the plateau, a brief explanation of the climate that in General Carrera Lake is a temperate and dry microclimate, etc.
Passengers quickly become interested in the history of our family in the area, how long ago we have the lodge, how we got there, how we came up with doing this. And another conversation begins, more personal, more intimate, and long-lasting. There begins for them and for me, a different, unique experience. They want to know details, with an enthusiasm that can only be transmitted by those who carry the Mallin Colorado inside, we delve a little deeper into the motivations of my parents and Eduardo, my brother, to create this place; in the motivations and the experience that we have had as a family receiving tourists from all over the world in our home, in our favorite place. This conversation is nuanced throughout the trip with explanations of the different places through which we pass: mountain ranges, valleys of large rivers, small and isolated towns. We stop at certain points to take pictures, the hours pass and a pleasant conversation follows.
We alternate along the way with what they do, where they come from, where they go next, where they live, how much they travel, what places they know, etc. There are also long spaces of silence on the road, of silence between us and of silence outside, long sections of the road where no one lives, no cars pass, we have been alone for a long time. Little by little, a world of its own is created in the transfer to the lodge. It is clear that this is not a transfer from the airport to the hotel, it is a journey, a journey into the interior of Patagonia in which everything that is left behind is left and we are entering the present. It is an introduction to an experience in the present, in my present, in that of my passengers, in the present of each one.
Rápidamente los pasajeros se interesan por la historia de nuestra familia en la zona, hace cuánto tiempo tenemos el lodge, cómo llegamos, cómo se nos ocurrió hacer esto. Y comienza otra conversación, más personal, más íntima, y de larga duración. Ahí comienza para ellos y para mi, una experiencia distinta, única. Quieren saber detalles, con un entusiasmo que sólo puede transmitir quien lleva el Mallin Colorado por dentro, ahondamos un poco más en las motivaciones de mis padres y Eduardo, mi hermano, para crear este lugar; en las motivaciones y en la experiencia que hemos tenido nosotros como familia recibiendo turistas de todas partes del mundo en nuestra casa, en nuestro lugar preferido. Esta conversación se va matizando durante todo el viaje con explicaciones de los distintos lugares por donde pasamos: cadenas montañosas, valles de grandes ríos, poblados pequeños y aislados. Nos detenemos en ciertos puntos a sacar fotografías, pasan las horas y sigue una amena conversación.
Alternamos en el camino con lo que hacen ellos, de dónde vienen, a dónde van después, dónde viven, cuánto viajan, qué lugares conocen, etc. También hay largos espacios de silencio en el camino, de silencio entre nosotros y de silencio en el exterior, largos tramos del camino en que no vive nadie, no pasan autos, estamos hace rato solos. De a poco se va creando un mundo propio en el traslado hacia el lodge. Queda claro que esto no es un transfer del aeropuerto al hotel, es una travesía, un viaje al interior de la Patagonia en el cual se va dejando todo lo que queda atrás y nos vamos adentrando en el presente. Es una introducción a una experiencia en el presente, en mi presente, en el de mis pasajeros, en el presente de cada uno.
Mira nuestra infografía sobre "Como llegar a Mallín Colorado" haciendo click aquí
There are passengers who scream with excitement when entering their cabin, there are some who say "it is much better than the Internet photo"; others who immediately ask if there are no more nights available.
We arrived at the lodge with stiff legs, with surprise and joy they welcome us and left them with their suitcases in their cabin. There are passengers who scream with excitement when entering their cabin, there are some who say "it is much better than the Internet photo"; others who immediately ask if there are no more nights available, who already want to stay more days than they had booked.
I wait for you at the club house to eat and organize the excursions of the following days. The conversation flows and at the edge of the fire we put together a program according to what they want to do. I invite you immediately to visit the kitchen, to meet the staff who will attend you.
And so the days and activities continue in the area, we visit different places, we are with local people, inhabitants of Patagonia, we climb hills, we kayak, we do rafting, we ride. At some point they ask me for a day off, in their cabin, they want to stay in the lodge, walk, rest. It is that they are relaxed. Extremely relaxed. After a few days in this place, there is nothing more important than being in this place, looking at the lake again and again, in silence, sitting surrounded by the charm of the native forest.
The physical location of the Mallin Colorado cabins, on a large open esplanade towards General Carrera Lake, produces a very special feeling of having the whole view in front of you, but at the same time that nobody sees me. It is the essence of privacy: seeing and not being seen. To be and that it does not seem that I am. It is the essence of exclusivity: knowing that I have everything I need at hand; phone, wi fi, food, heating, service and personalized attention, but finally I want to be sitting looking at the landscape, reading a book, listening to the birds singing.
It is the essence of privacy: seeing and not being seen. To be and that it does not seem that I am. It is the essence of exclusivity
There is no one in Mallin Colorado who does not want to spend a day there, in his cabin, sitting watching the landscape. It is the experience of living in the present, that remote, basic, simple present that brings us back to the essence, back to basic, it is said in English.
We have seen during all these years that it is also the ideal place for the conversation, intimate, true between a father and a son, between a couple, a group of friends, frank and deep, slow conversation, with few words, rather the ideal place of true communication.
It is the ideal place, as many say, to lower revs, disconnect, connect with yourself, get rid of a lot and relieve the backpack. It is a total disconnection from the external and a connection to the internal.
The excursions, the beauty of the landscape, the tourist itinerary, the meals, the conversation and the attention of the staff complement this experience in Patagonia, which is a rest for the soul that leaves no one indifferent who visits it.
What I am saying is not invention nor is it poetry. It is stamped in our guest books that we have been collecting during these 16 years of Mallín Colorado. It is also etched in the life of each member of my family. From time to time we talk at the family table about the experience that customers have shared with us, we remember them with first and last name, not all, of course, but I would say yes to many. It is that for us also each visit that comes to Mallin Colorado is a grain of sand that contributes to our own experience of Patagonia.
On our website you can read several of the comments that customers have left in the lodge's guestbook.
I invite you to review what some have commented on the Tripadvisor site, who has awarded us with a Certificate of Excellence that we show at the lodge.
If after reading this you want to venture into an experience in the south of the world, contact us here.
How to get to Mallín Colorado from Chile Chico
If you come from Argentina, once in the city of Los Antiguos, on the shores of Lake Buenos Aires, you will cross the border and immediately arrive in the Chilean city of Chile Chico. The distance between Chile Chico and Mallín Colorado is 122 kms. And it will take around 2.5 hours.
It is an entire gravel road, which borders the lake with winding curves and huge cliffs, so you must slow down considerably and drive with great care. Narrow curves, high mountains and always the blue lake on your right will accompany this journey. After about an hour you will pass the famous Paso de las Llaves, a series of narrow curves and long climbs on the edge of the lake that will leave you speechless at the vastness of the views towards the Northern Ice Fields and the narrowness of the road on strong cliffs to General Carrera lake.
Take all precautions in this sector. Once on the other side, you will find the small town of Mallín Grande, then comes the El Furioso Sector, and finally, with a more forested path and very close to the imposing Northern Ice Fields, you will reach the city of Puerto Guadal, called the pearl of the lake, for its favorable sunny climate. Leaving Puerto Guadal, you will arrive at the El Maitén junction, where you must take Route 7 (Carretera Austral) north two kilometers. On the left hand side you will see the sign for Mallin Colorado, a sign that you have reached your destination.