Hua Hum International Pass is highly recommended due to its picturesque solitary nooks. It just takes a little bit longer to cross than the others.
Any of the options to leave Argentina towards Chile
involve some gravel road stretch. In the case of Hua Hum International Pass, this is compensated for by a bonus track: sailing across a striking glacial lake, namely, the Pirehueico.
We ourselves set out at the downtown of San Martín de los Andes
heading for Hua Hum along a gravel road that changed its physiognomy as we rode on.
Eight kilometers ahead, we made out Trompul Rock amidst a vast “pampa”
area, in the territory of one of the local Mapuche communities. According to tradition, strong thunder is heard in its surroundings when it is about to rain or snow.
From this point onwards, the road features countless bends and deep slopes that challenge the skills of every driver. Our first stop was Yuco Beach. Farther ahead, we discovered Nonthué
primitive campsite in an open area sheltered from the wind on the shores of the same lake.
Later on, we spotted Hua Hum Inn and drove on towards the Argentinian Customs Border Post, where we carried out all the necessary procedures. The milestone that indicates the border between both countries showed us a Christ of Peace made in raulí
wood by woodcarvers from Easter Island. A little ahead, we came across the Chilean carabineros
post, where we completed the entrance to the country. The thick vegetation of the Valdivian rainforest confirmed the scenery common to both countries.
It was then when the best moment came: the ferry was expecting us at Lake Pirehueico. The raft can carry a few cars and its movement is barely perceived. We prepared some mate and felt flabbergasted by the silence in the Chilean natural scene. We leaned on the rails, in the open air, wearing warm clothes because the breeze was quite cool.
A Soft Breeze Stroke our Cheeks
After a little more than one hour, we were welcomed by Puerto Fuy, a small Chilean district with very few modest houses. We stopped there to have a look at our maps.
Several roads start at this spot. The most popular is paved and leads to the City of Panguipulli, about 55 kilometers away.
Another alternative is to take the so-called “wood road”. It borders Lake Neltume and then forks towards two very famous hot spring resorts: Liquiñe and Coñaripe. In turn, Villarrica and Pucón, greatly coveted tourist destinations for both Argentinian and Chilean travelers, may be accessed from Coñaripe.
A denizen told us: “If you are driving a high vehicle or a 4WD, ask about the famous Añiques Slope and do not miss the panoramic views of Lake Pellaifa and the Villarrica Volcano”.
Pirehueico, which stands for “snow pond” in the Mapuche tongue, was the magical word that enticed us to cross the border onto Chile through that lake surrounded by lush vegetation.
Opening hours: The pass is open year round. It is important to check with the authorities of the Customs National Administration office in San Martín de los Andes that you have all the necessary documentation for the entire family and the car, which should be in good condition. Fresh food and vegetables cannot be carried across the border.
The ferry has different timetables according to season and weather. Reservations are made by phone.
How to get here: Follow Route 234 towards Junín de los Andes. After 3 kilometers, turn left into the roundabout and take National Route 48. Hua Hum lies 45 kilometers away. Pay attention to the straight gravel stretches as the pebbles tend to be too loose. Avoid speeding or passing other vehicles.
Bear in mind: Remember that there is usually one hour difference between Argentina and Chile, according to season.
Hua – Hum
(5210000) Panguipulli - X Región – Chile
Te: +56 63 28-2742 / 28-2714 / Reservations to 0056-02-3672600, from 9am to 12pm.