I'm jaime, best known in town as "Jimmy", a city chilean that by different means ended up moving from Valparaiso to Chilean Patagonia almost five years ago... have been focusing on repairing a nice old house i bought in a little island called Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda, in northern Aysen, just next to the continent (only separated from it by the big palena river). I have superior studies in business administration, and since i used to live in valparaiso that i had been working in independent projects and entrepreneurship in general, but now, here, our main focus has been sustentable living, permaculture, environmental projects and applied electronics in those areas.
The reasons why i ended up living in Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda i think are too many to be all listed in detail. Ancestors from the family where part of the first settlers in this place, so it could be said that there is a strong blood-bond, but the main reason that we must mention is just because of all the beauty around this place, full of nature, next to the sea, with an amazing beach, where you can see chilean dolphins jumping around, penguins, seals and sea wolves, even whales if you are lucky, also lots of fish and birds. The island's town is very small, with around 200-300 habs depending on the season of the year, so it's a really quiet and calm place, and at the same time, as we live in town, you can have access to a couple of stores, health and other facilities common in bigger urban places, without loosing the touch with nature at all. All the streets are made of sand, so this town really has a special feeling going on. Also it has good connectivity with the north of the country (and the main highway to the north) via ferry to Quellon (Chiloé Island), and also to the south by bus to the bigger town of La Junta, just 70 km away, and by ferry to Puerto Cisne and others, so even if it's an island, it's really well connected (you can cross the Palena river by ferry always for free, the bus goes out 4 times a week and the ferry goes south two times a week and north other two times a week). There is kayaking, trekking, hot springs, boat rides and other stuff to do around and there is even more things to do if you go visiting the places near here.
Where is this place?
As we mention before, this is a very small town in an island, and so, how this is the real Patagonia that we are talking about, there is a lot of misleading information about places here. First of all, you will not be able to find this place on Goggle Earth/Maps by it's actual name (Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda), but you will be able to find the best approximation if you search it by it's old name, Bajo Palena... this is in north of the XI Region of Aysen de Carlos Ibañez del Campo) in the coast, just next to the Palena River's mouth.
How can i get there?
There are two main ways to get here:
- By land there is a road that connects the town to the Carretera Austral (Austral Highway), you can travel via bus that goes out from La Junta Town (La Junta Town is to the north of Puerto Cisnes and to the west of lago Verde, in google maps, if you search for it could be that it shows a place in coyhaique, that is far more to the south than La Junta town really is, that is google fault, not ours ;D). The bus departure from la junta to Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 15:00 hrs sharp (recommend to be at least 15 minutes before because in summer there is a lot of people wanting to travel here), and the ticket costs arround $2.200CLP. You can also try to hitchhike in the crossing of Raul Marin and the highway.
- By sea there is a ferry from Naviera Austral transport company (), the ferry's name is Queulat and is the one doing the "Cordillera" Route, this ferry goes all the way from Quellon (Chiloé), to far south, and here it's the second stop from departure (the ferry goes from quellon to melinka island, then to Raul Marin and then continues to the south), it's a very nice trip in open sea at first, nice accomodations (good numbered seats, food shop, heat and television), it costs arround $8.000CLP and it's a 8-12 hours trip that lefts you right in the beach of Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
As we mention before, we are currently working on some projects in the house, a very big greenhouse, a chickenhouse, a little pond, and gardening in general, we also need help with the maintenance of our house, we also are involved in other projects depending on the time and season.
We have a big backyard for tents (you need to bring your own), and we also have four extra mattresses for visits and a living room, so there is no problem if there is bad weather or you don't have a tent. We have a normal bathroom with shower and hot water and a nice kitchen with a firewood stove for heating the place. There is continued electricity supply in town from 7am to 1am, after that is all candles ;). We also have a cat that does the "wake-up alarm" job.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 3-4 hours a day, 4 days a week