Fundo Panguilemu is just a 20 minute drive from Coyhaique, Chile. Stepping into your booked yurt is settling into surprisingly luxurious accommodation overlooking the renowned Simpson River – famous for waters rich with trout and perfect for fly fishing. and quiet. Peace and quiet with dark skies and stars like diamonds.
Relax and get away from it all, fly fish, go for a hike, sign up for horse trekking, or just enjoy being on a working farm complete with sheep, cattle, chickens, and horses. Owners José and Elizabeth are dedicated to regenerating their beautiful property to an even higher level of productivity and beauty through proper management of resources and they are happy to share their knowledge with anyone interested in such endeavors.
Follow along on Fundo Panguilemu Facebook page. There is good reason to plan your Chilean trip around this outstanding experience.
Can i just giggle? will i sound like an insane person? you’ll forgive me when you see the photos of the horse trekking our Savory Journey group took this morning at Fundo Panguilemu. Much to Jose’s frustration, the sheep were out, but we all enjoyed mustering them back to their proper paddock — On horseback! Have trailed cattle on foot in Kenya and Argentina, and now mustered sheep on horseback in Chile. I am blessed.
After a great supper followed by a good night’s sleep and enjoying a delicious breakfast next morning, we loaded in our vehicles and headed for the Argentinian border. Crossing the border here is just part of the experience. There are two windows and agents to visit with at each border with a driving space of about 7 kilometers between the two. Getting out, showing and studying paperwork (for vehicles and people), stamping, questions, get loaded back up. It took our small tour of about ten people, 2 hours to navigate this labyrinth. The return was somewhat quicker – still a few bumps and luggage needed to be opened but only a cursory examination, more paperwork. If you don’t have your paperwork in order, chances are good, you will not cross.
But the effort was worth it once we arrived at Numancia Estacion. First greeted with open warm hospitality and then seated informally for a traditional Argentinian meal. We did have to wait about an hour for the rain to stop before we began our now shortened farm walk. Pablo shared details of his Hereford cattle program and Merino sheep scheme. Then we went out to examine how his 10-year implementation of managed grazing has improved forage quality and yield.
Back to Coyhaique for supper at Hotel El Reloj (awesome) then to Raices Bed and Breakfastjust before they closed the doors for the night! Finally to be in bed by midnight – scheduled departure is at 5:15a to meet a family business to take us to see the condors on a cliff side.
So, the short story is that an awesomely talented and accomplished woman, Mimi Hillenbrand, has for some years owned and managed the 777 Bison Ranch in South Dakota in a holistic manner vis-à-vis that which is promoted by the Savory Institute or Holistic Management International. Bison on an open ranch of thousands of acres requires a bit different approach to grazing pressure and rest to improve the soil health and forage quality/quantity. It was very interesting to hear how she handles the animals.
These past few years, she purchased a smaller property in Chile she named 45 South to not only improve the pastures, (though using cattle this time) but also just to really enjoy the beautiful scenery and to live in a completely different culture –at least part time.
I cannot do justice to the sweet hospitality of this young family. Our Savory Institute journey group is here to learn about the improvements they have experienced using the holistic management techniques. The grass is thick, lush, and tender – rested paddocks are ready for consuming.
Early morning flight on LATAM airlines from Santiago to Balmaceda went without a hitch. Met up with Trey, our tour director and lovely local girl as guide and found ourselves staying in a beautiful private lodge 1 1/2 hours outside Balmaceda. Met our other tour members later that afternoon at the lodge. Family style dinner provided was enjoyed by all as well as freshly made Pisco Sours traditional Chilean drink.
Next day is a drive through Patagonia to Coyhaique.
With a long layover in Santiago, Chile, (established by Spanish Conquistadors in 1541), my traveling mate had booked a private walking city tour with Larisa who is listed with Tours by Locals. Larisa was such a pleasure, making sure we were comfortable on a bit of a warm day and answered all our questions! She is very knowledgeable on the history of this city of 7 million which spreads as far as the eye can see from the top of Cerro San Cristobal. Our 5 hour bespoke and private tour just right.
Driven back to our Holiday Inn right at the airport by expert driver, Christopher, i ended up sleeping right through supper after a shower. Trying to get onto the new time. Chile is 3 hours earlier than central time. So while it is only 8p at home, it’s now 11p here. Early morning flight is aided by simply walking across the street to the airport.