40 Years of Complete Isolation (Part 1/4)

Uploaded by vice on Aug 15, 2012



ADRI MURGUIA: Faustino Barrientos embodies the
timeless lifestyle of the Chilean gaucho, the more
isolated equivalent of the North American cowboy.
Bringing settlers into Patagonia was a challenge.
And in 1937, Chile started handing out land claims to
each colonizer who could clear 120 acres of forest in an
effort to make the land fertile.
Although construction of routes to Patagonia land made
the gauchos more accessible, we heard that Faustino had
moved far beyond the last stretch of the Pan-American
Highway to Peninsula La Florida, where he continued
living in complete isolation, like the original settlers.
Faustino is rumored to be living alone on his land for
the past 46 years, removed from civilization and
technology as if time had never struck Patagonia.

We set out on a journey to find Faustino Barrientos--
from New York on a cold winter night.
We had about a dozen bags with us and had no idea of what we
were getting ourselves into.
What we did know is it will take us four days of travel
time to reach him.

We caught an 11 hour flight to Santiago.
We had a layover, and then got on a
shorter flight to Balmaceda.

There we met our crew, gathered our gear, loaded the
truck, and drove to Cochrane, which took five hours.

We spent the night there and headed out to Port Yungay in
the morning to catch our ferry to Rio Bravo.
It had taken us two days to get this far.
And we weren't even halfway there.
It was impossible to imagine how you would ever get here by
horse rides from Santiago, like Faustino had probably
done in the past.

Patagonia's a region at the southern end of South America.
The area covers about one-third of both Chile and
Argentina and is home to a rich and
mostly untouched ecosystem.
It's an important fresh water source, which also makes it
one of the least polluted places on earth.

On our third day of travel, we finally arrived at the end of
the Pan-American Highway, which was built to connect
remote communities in the region.
Its final stretch reaches Villa O'Higgins, a town
formerly only accessible by plane or horse ride, which is
why it's called the "Last Frontier of Chilean
Patagonia." With a population of roughly 400 people, it's
considered a stomping ground for explorers and scientists
heading towards the South Patagonian Ice Field, which
doubles as deepest lake in the Americas.

While we were in O'Higgins, we visited Faustino's brother to
get a better idea of what to expect from him.




It seemed that Faustino had a bad reputation
throughout the town.
There was even a rumor that he had attempted
to shoot his nephew.


ADRI MURGUIA: After learning that Faustino not only
disliked other people's company, but also had tried to
kill one of his family members, we're more than
concerned about staying with him on a deserted piece of
land without escape routes or forms of communication with
the outside world.
But we continued on our way to find him.

Since 2005, this boat started taking tourists on glacial
expeditions and contributed to bringing civilization closer
to those who lived out here in isolation.
It was appropriately named Robinson Crusoe.

I made it.
We're in Faustino's land.
We were told to walk straight from the shore towards the
mountains and we'd find his home.
I don't know if we're walking in the right
direction, to be honest.

As the boat took off in the distance, we realized how
isolated we really were.

We walked for about a mile until we finally spotted
Faustino's retreat.