While staying in Córdoba Linn read about a place called Los Gigantes, a remote place with a stretch of mountains resembling giants. The recommended way to experience these were to get there and walk around them with a guide. We searched for a way to get there and asked in a travel agency. The travel agent there told us that they do not do tours there, he insists on us going with a guide, if we have GPS we might be able to do it by ourselves, but it is not recommended.
He tried to call a friend of his who is a guide there, but he didnt respond as there is no cellphone reception on the mountain. We were promised a call at the hostel the next day if he could get a hold of him.
We started to do some research on our own, how feasible is it to do this ourselves? We had multiple GPS units in the form of smartphones, two of them waterproof. I also found a path to follow on wikiloc which is a website where you can share rows of GPS coordinates with others, this path was rated as medium in difficulty and was 15 kilometers long. Now we just needed to get there.
It turns out that the bus from the company Sarmiento leaves every morning at 7:45 except on Tuesdays when it leaves at 6:00 and on Sundays when it leaves at 9:15. It takes more or less two hours to get there and our path was timed at 6 hours and 40 minutes with a supposedly avid trekker who recorded it and uploaded it to the website. The buses back passes Los Gigantes at 12:10 except for Tuesdays at 11:50 and Sundays at 17:15.
This gave us a new problem, how can we go there, walk for 6 hour 40 minutes (9 hours?) and then get back? Again we searched for a solution, our first approach was that maybe we could borrow a tent somewhere, but then we would need sleeping bags and other things that people who sleep in tents have. We actually had sleeping bags in the start of the trip, but these were sent back to Sweden after less than one month of travel as we never saw a need for them. Before now.
After some continued research we found a place called La Rotonda which is supposed to be some kind of accomodation for people doing the walk in the mountains. The only review on TripAdvisor was one letting us know that La Rotonda is a place which wants to have your money, in every possible way, they charge horrendous amounts for things like water and hot showers. But it also seemed like our only option. We had our hostel manager call them and confirm that they existed, charged like a hotel and had rooms available, and they did.
Next up we bought a lot of food and water which we stuffed our small backpacks with, and the morning after we set an alarm for 6:15 to be ready to get to the bus station in time to buy tickets, leave our big backpacks in storage and get on the bus before it left. We got to bed at 2:30 in the morning.
Ah, the morning comes, early with a great adventure, eager as we were we got out of bed before our alarm. Or did we?
Trying to snooze the alarm I must have turned it off, and upon awakening at 7:08 and realizing that we had overslept my first thought was “Great, I dont want to walk in a stupid mountain anyway, I much prefer it to stay inside and watch TV series!”. Moments later I realized that I do want to walk in the stupid mountain, and that it is still possible to make it to the bus.
7:15 our bags were packed and we were outside hailing a taxi, at 7:25 we were at the bus station buying tickets and leaving our bags in storage for the following day. We made it!
After a ride with our friendly bus driver that took great care to drive very fast as long as the road was good, and slow down enough for every bump not to make the ride too bumpy we arrived at “Parador el Valle” which is the last stop and opportunity to buy some extra cakes or a bottle of coke before Los Gigantes. Here I started asking a bit about Los Gigantes, this led our bus driver to interrogate me about a lot of things, ranging from if we had a place to stay, do we have GPS? To other like why dont we have a guide? Do we have rain jackets? Do we have enough food? All this in Spanish, but he put in a great deal of effort in making sure that I understood everything. After the questions were over, so were the time at el Valle, and we were back on the bus, two stops later we were at Los Gigantes!
To be continued…