Enrique left Uruguay to travel the world. Daniela left Argentina to do the same. Neither of them were expecting to fall in love, and turn a vintage Mercedes-Benz bus into a business along the way.
“We both left the countries we grew up in to have new experiences and get to know new places, possibilities, flavours and cultures. And we both expected to be doing that alone,” says Daniela.
But when they met picking fruit on a farm in New Zealand’s picturesque Bay of Plenty, the pair became fast friends and then a couple who spent long nights planning their first adventure together.
Daniela dreamed of having her own coffee bar. Enrique liked big trucks and vans. Combining those two passions became a business plan: move back to South America, buy the biggest vintage van they could find, and convert it into a four-wheeled cafe.
Step one was choosing a country that suited the couple’s shared love of epic, open spaces - Puerto Natales in Chile’s south made it to the top of their list.
“The mountains and the climate are so similar to New Zealand, and we need those kind of breathtaking landscapes in our lives,” says Daniela.
All they needed was the right vehicle.
What they found was a vintage Mercedes-Benz LO 809, a bright green passenger bus that was big enough for a cafe conversion.
“When the engine started, a shiver ran down my spine. It was magical,” says Enrique.
A year later that old green bus has been painted jet black, and houses a kitchen, coffee bar and spots for people to sit and sip.
“During the peak tourist season, we want to be the spot for travellers driving along the Puerto Natales promenade. And when it’s off-season, we’ll drive up the coast and set up where it’s busy,” says Enrique.