22 December 1997 (Mon)
Today, I will find a tour to the Paine National Park. There are many travel agents in the town, go back and forth for a while do I do not know which one is good. Then, I entered a some travel agent it looks good. But there is no chance to speak so crowded many local people came to exchange money. In addition, they don't speak English, I had discouraged already. Some local guy translated what I want, and I said to go a different place.
The guy take me to SERNATUR tourist office. Of course, there was a very kind and able to communicate in English. "To go to Paine", I said, and They told me to come here at 7:00 am. Paine tour costs 12,000 pesos. The tour doesn't go to the Grey Glacier.
To go to the Glacier, I have to stay overnight in the Park, and walk three or four hours. They also have a tour to walk on the glacier. Hmm, I don't want walk on the glacier, and I don't like a hard tour. Walking Glacier Tour costs US $84. I asked how many people go, and he said "No, the tour is only for you". Eventually I decided not to join the tour. By the way, if you go to the glacier, 7,000 pesos for a regular bus, and 7,000 pesos for an accommodation at the shelter cabin called Refugio.
I understood it is hard to go to the glacier, and I think a little more, I went out SERNATUR and find out the different agents.
Next agent, Tours Mily's owner doesn't speak English, but young girl speaks English well. Many tourists who speak only English come, and she is for them.
Paine tour is 12,000 pesos. I said, "I want to go to the glacier, but I heard its hard to close the glacier". So, she introduced me a tour to the Serrano glacier. The Serrano glacier is in a national park accessible only by a boat, and I can go near the glacier. "Tomorrow, go to Paine, the day after tomorrow, why not go to Serrano", She said. I decided to go the both. The boat tour to the Serrano is sold only this agent. Serrano tour costs 20,000 pesos.
I paid both by credit card. It is 32,000 pesos. It's terrible if this is charged in U.S. dollars. I confirmed that it is charged in pesos. In Chile, every charging by credit card is in pesos.
Well, Today's job is done, take easy rest of the day.
I exchanged some money. At a money exchange shop called Stop Cambio, US $1 equals 422 pesos. In Santiago city, it was 435 pesos, it is so-so, not so different from Punta Arenas , or Puerto Montt.
I bought foods at the supermarket, checked the time of the bus, walked a little town, looked souvenir shops, and check a harbor for the tour of the day after tomorrow.
It's Christmas, it seems a number of buses is few. I quickly bought a morning bus ticket. it's 3,000 pesos.