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Alicia’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 Mar 2019

Location: Pucon, Chile

MapWe ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up and got a cab to go pick up our rental car. The car rental lady told us there would be tolls, which we knew, and that the car was equipped with a pass for them. We could use the pass instead of paying the tolls with cash, but they would charge a 15% fee. We had plenty of local currency so we planned on paying ourselves. All the tolls on the highway near Santiago gave you no option to pay manually, and there were a lot of them, the lady did not tell us that part. Once we were on the main highway going south we were able to pay tolls manually.

We made a few stops to get gas, snacks and go to the bathroom. They have really nice gas stations right on the highway with bathrooms cleaner than most gas stations in the U.S. This was a welcome change from Santiago, did I mention a rat ran over Mikeís foot while waiting for a stoplight?

They have gas station attendants who fill up for you, I gave the guy our credit card and he handed me the machine, I was presented with two options: sin cuota or con cuota. I thought it meant with or without tip so it was possible to tip the attendant, but when I tried it, it didnít make sense what came next, so I just payed ďsin cuotaĒ. When we bought snacks we got the same option and then Iím like okay so itís clearly not tip, but then WTF? There happened to be some random customer in the gas station who spoke really good English and he explained that it was asking if we wanted to break up the charge into multiple payments. Apparently you could spread the charge among up to 3 payments for free and up to 10 for a small fee.

We rolled into Pucon around 9:30pm and spent 30 minutes driving around trying to find our hotel because the map pinned it two blocks from its actual location. We finally found it and we were not disappointed, itís a super chic little hotel with tons raw wood and crisp linens. We ventured downtown and I fell in love. This place falls somewhere between Door County and Aspen, clearly catering to tourist but with charming shops and restaurants mixed with high end outdoor apparel stores all with wood carved signage. We stopped at a bar called Mamas & Tapas to add a data point to our pisco sour taste testing. After some initial confusion over ordering (you prepay for drinks at the cashier and they give you a drink ticket to bring to the bar) we were treated to an upscale version of the beverage complete with egg whites and bitters.

Iím so excited to see what the Lake District has to offer, Pucon seems to be much more our scene than Santiago, Iím ready to lace up my Keens and explore!