Chile Travel Guides for Backpackers

Chile, Easter Island, how to get there and tips.

Easter Island is part of the country Chile, this country offers all kinds of seasons of the year to carry out all kinds of activities. But to start the first thing is to get to the airport of Santiago de Chile, the capital of the country. How to get to Easter Island. Arriving at Santiago de Chile airport head to the boarding area to quickly board a LAN airline plane, this is the only carrier flying to Easter Island. The price of the flight may vary, costing around 455.32 US dollars round trip. If you book earlier in terms of dates you can find cheaper flight prices, or something more expensive if you book it close to the date you want to travel. The flight is about 4:45h, but the excitement of getting to this magical place that everyone is talking about is worth it. If you sit on the right side of the plane on the way out, and on the left side to turn you will see Easter Island from the sky, another of the great experiences of the trip. The island, as soon as you arrive, makes you feel a sense of tranquility and energy. Following your arrival it is time to go to the place where you have previously made the reservation, the place that will be your home in the coming days. Something characteristic of Easter Island, during the short route from the airport to the hotel, is that you can see streets and houses surrounded by nature, which you can feel emanating tranquility something that is sought in a journey of rest and relaxation. Tourist attractions on Easter Island. I recommend a tour that will take you to the most touristic places such as Pea Beach, Hanga Piko Cove, Church of the Holy Cross, the Caleta, Hanga Vare Vare and sunset in Tahai.   The Moai Quarry. The next stop I recommend is on the way to Rano Raraku and is the Moai Quarry, or Ahu Hanga Te’e or Vaihu, as it is also known. In this place you can see several moais knocked down and several of its parts that ended up rolling in several directions, leaving some of them on the shores of the bay. It is a very striking image that allows you to know the passing of time in this place. Visiting this amazing Rano Raraku place on Easter Island, the Moai quarry, can take about 3 hours, so I advise you to come in time long enough so that you don’t feel like you’ve left places to see and enjoy and take the opportunity to stroll around the area so you can enjoy the incredible views of the island. Finally and to close this trip I recommend you make a stop at a crater that is located in that area that is 10 meters deep and that is full of water so it forms a lake, inside the crater. Get souvenirs from Easter Island as a gift. The price […]

6 Reasons Why Valparaiso, Chile, Is The Best Vacation Destination

Many day-trippers venturing to the coast from Santiago, Chile, find themselves in Viña Del Mar. But the neighbouring seaside town of Valparaíso, or Valpo, offers a far more authentic cultural experience. What I found in these colourful hills makes the top of my favourite vacation destinations list! A rich sunset over the port in Valparaiso 1. Million Dollar Views Over Valparaíso After greeting my host, Rodo, the first thing I did was peer out the window at the downhill runway of rooftops leading my eye to where the sea meets the sky. Valpo is made up of 42 hills, or cerros, which curve around the bay, and due to building height restrictions there are few high rises to block your view, unlike the neighbouring mini-metropolis. At the end of every day I would visit the rooftop terrace and watch the sky paint itself with the most incredible palette. My camera roll soon filled with the Valparaíso skyline, as no two sunsets were ever the same. Day after day I was stunned that this ocean view could be as richly coloured as it was the day before. I asked my host family, the expatriate neighbour, even the foreign exchange students, and we all agreed it is a sight that never fails to impress. Dancers in Avenida Argentina Markets entertain shoppers. 2. Local Markets Of Avenida Argentina Rodo suggested I visit Avenida Argentina on the weekend to see the local markets, “You can find anything and everything,” he claims. Valparaíso is not a tourist town, it’s a thriving population of locals going about their daily business. This means the local street market is not filled with nauseating tourist tokens and gift stalls. What I found when I hopped off the trolley bus on the main avenue was a rich variety of locally grown fruits and veg, clothes, dog collars, phone chargers, and even construction hardware. My host was not exaggerating, you really can find everything on Avenida Argentina! The piano stairs, an iconic work of street art. 3. Expressive Art and Wild Constructions on Every Street Valparaíso has more street art than any other city I’ve visited in South America. But the creativity and artistic expression of the locals extends so much deeper than the wild murals which line the winding walkways, or paseos. There are few restrictions on property development outside of height limits, firewalls, and earthquake resistance. This means there are many home renovators in Valpo for whom wood is their canvas, a screw-driver their brush, and recycled materials their paint. Here you can find houses and shopfronts rendered in straw and mud, with milk carton roofs, and glass bottle windows with bamboo trim. A batucada drummer in a community street parade. 4. A Culture Which Values Local Community Each Cerro in Valparaíso is a neighbourhood of like-minded locals who all appreciate the beauty of their unique hillside town. The houses of Valpo are surrounded by art — they’re painted with colourful expressions and they are creatively constructed to gain an […]

What to do and how to get to Parque Safari in Chile on your own

Before we went to Santiago de Chile, I learned that in the city of Rancagua – about 1:30 hour from Santiago – there was a safari park; at first I was a little apprehensive to think of the fact that in these types of attractions the animals are often doped up for entertainment by the public, however the Safari Park is a zoo built to rescue rescued animals (most circuses), which made me change my mind and feel more desire to go and after researching values with various tourism companies I was disappointed because the value of transportation per person was expensive and totally out of our budget as we were in 2. After spending a few days researching, we discovered that it was possible to arrive at the safari park on our own, saving a lot without tour agencies and so we did. There are three types of Safaris inside the zoo: the Safari with the herbivores, the Safari with the felines and the Jurassic Safari. Safari with the felines A certain amount of people (determined by the guide that will follow) enters a grating jeep; after that, guide you through all the necessary safety instructions. The gate opens and the jeep enters the feline area, where the African lions and white tigers are lying loose in a large area; the guide takes with him some fresh pieces of meat to catch the animals’ attention and bring them closer (or up) to the jeep. On our tour, one of the lions climbed up on the grid of our jeep and we were able to see up close the beauty and sovereignty of the “king of the jungle”, I confess that is a bit scared, but the beauty of the animal is mesmerizing. Remembering that it is FORBIDDEN to touch the railing or put your fingers out and touch the animals. The safari with the felines lasts on average 25 minutes and is well worth this experience. It’s incredible! Safari with the herbivores After the safari with the felines we went to the queue to make the Safari with the herbivores. This Safari is done in a kind of train and the difference is that it does not have grids and they put fodder with grass so that the animals are attracted to close. Among the animals, you will find llamas, calves, goats, sheep, zebras, donkeys and even a timid giraffe who had recently arrived in the park and the guide asked us to avoid any kind of extravagance near her so as not to risk scaring her. In this type of Safari, you can feed, pet and take pictures with animals because they are very docile. It was another incredible experience that I will always remember very fondly. Jurassic Safari This we did not do, but it’s a tour inside a military truck through a forest full of life-size robotic dinosaurs with movements and sounds. Kids generally love this. In addition to the safaris, you can stroll through the […]

All You Can Do In Pucón, Chile

Pucón is one of my favorite places in the world. I love it, because, even being a little city, there is practically nothing you cannot do there! I am not afraid at all of keeping your hopes high since I am sure everyone would find something amazing about it. It is located in the shore of Lake Villarrica in the Araucanía Region, 780 km from Santiago (the capital of Chile). It is known for being near the Villarrica volcano, and being the center of adventure tourism in Chile. The City The city is small, but it lacks nothing. There, you can find supermarkets that close late, all kinds of restaurants, coffee houses and bars, drugstores, and many travel agencies to find the perfect activity for you at the best price. The architecture is different from other cities in Chile, because of the German merchants and immigrant families who came into the city after it was created. Hence, touring the city is the perfect way to begin a journey in Pucón. If you reach the end of O’Higgins Avenue, you will also find the ‘La Poza’ pier, beautifully designed, with an astonishing view to the Villarrica volcano. Lodging Since this is a highly touristic place, there are many lodging options; beautiful (and expensive) hotels, numerous hostels and interesting shelters. As I mentioned in the Puerto Varas article, I prefer to stay in hostels, because they usually make me feel at home. In Pucón I’ve stayed in three, and all of them have been great! Also, they are close to the main street. The first two were Hostal Irma and Hostal Lucía, hosted by their respective owners. These women are extremely kind, I enjoyed staying in both places very much. You can get a personal room, with shared bathroom, and have free access to the kitchen. They are located in Fresia street. The third place I’ve stayed in is My house is your house, whose hostess is as kind as the previous ones. This hostel is in O’Higgins Avenue. In terms of beauty, this is the one I liked the most! It has a nicely decorated living room illuminated by huge windows. Prices vary from CLP 16,000 (USD 24) to CLP 30,000 (USD 45) depending on the hostel and season. If you are looking for something cheaper, shelters and camping are good options. Activities As I said before, Pucón offers many activities, particularly for adventurers. Among these, sightseeing, boat trips, trekking, and extreme sports can be found. Ojos del Caburgua (Eyes of the Caburgua) This the first place I recommend because it has a fascinating vibe, plus, it is quick to tour (approx. 30 minutes) and near to the city (20 km). Paths to walk through the woods allow seeing three little but dazzling waterfalls, that fall into deep blue waters. In the corner of Uruguay and Palguin streets (in FRONT of the JAC bus-terminal), there is the Buses Caburgua terminal, from which buses leave to Ojos del Caburgua (CLP 800 – USD […]

The 10 Best Things To Do in Valparaiso, Chile

The unfounded city of Valparaiso just came to life without any planned structure, but it is this fact what makes it so characteristic and unique. The Pacific ocean, the ever-blue sky and the picturesque architecture all combine to give a visual spectacle that enchants most tourists. Being the main port of Chile, located 2.5 hours from Santiago, this city has such an important history and unique historical structures that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  So, to help you enjoy the most of your stay here, I have made this list to help you choose what to do and see, whether you are staying for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Paseos and Cerros To really experience Valparaiso you have to explore through its maze of unending stairs, peculiar sidewalks, and crazy architecture so, the first thing you should do when you get here is simply to stroll around the city. The best parts to explore are Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion. They have a bunch of street art, picturesque houses and there are ¨paseos¨ where you have impressive views over the city. The main ones are Paseo Yugoslavo, Gervasoni, Atkinson, and Dimalow and it´s easy to access them as they are one after the other. Additionally, if you want to learn about the place while you explore, you can take a general tour or a topic tour. For example, there are historical tours (Valpo History Tour), street art tours (Valpo Street Art Tours), bike tours, etc. Most of them just ask for tips. Paseo Dimalow and Reina Victoria Funicular Museums Honestly Valparaiso doesn´t have the best museum offering for a city with such a long and important history but still, there are a few museums worth visiting. If you are into arts and drawing, I recommend the Museum of Fine Arts of Valparaiso which is in the Palacio Baburriza (one of the most iconic palaces located in Paseo Yugoslavo), the Museum Mirador de Lukas – Lukas was the most prominent cartoonist of the city- in the Paseo Gervasoni and La Sebastiana which was the house of the famous poet Pablo Neruda and is in Cerro Bellavista. On the other hand, the Museum of Natural History located in Condell street has an offering of archeological artifacts found around the city and exhibitions of the biodiversity of the region. Palacio Baburriza (Museum of Fine Arts Valparaiso) Street Art You already know this city is known for its street art, as every little wall space is occupied by murals. When you stroll around, you will always see street art but there are a few specific places where you can find a lot of it. One of these places is the Museo Cielo Abierto which is a street art museum (yes, the streets and murals ARE the museum). It is located very close to La Sebastiana so you can see them both in one day. Another place I would recommend not so crowded with tourists is Alemania avenue which is a […]

Food, Weather and more at the great Island of Chiloé!

Is a small island in the south of my country of residence in Chile, full of incredible landscapes that advise knowing, these were my main motivation to visit it, but I am there surprised me in the same way that the kindness of the people, its singular architecture, the delicious food, in addition to the magic that surrounds the legends of the sector.   Ferry crossing by the channel of Chacao To get to Chiloé can only be done through the ferry in the town of Pargua since there is still no connection to the bridge, this trip is made through the Chacao channel, it is a fairly cold circuit, but it is worthwhile to make in the journey that lasts about half an hour, we can see dolphins that play around the boat and also to cap the cold you can have a coffee looking at the landscape. City of Castro I started my tour in Castro, when arriving the first thing I saw were many colorful houses of different heights, these are “Palafitos”, floating houses that are supported by trunks or stakes on land near the ocean, very striking adorn the landscape Along the coast, I thought I miss this. Is not the wood spoiled? Are not you afraid of falling into the sea? He explained that this is a tradition that takes many years and that there was no problem that they are very safe. The church of San Francisco Going through the center of Castro we find the Church of San Francisco, beyond what it represents in religious terms, I want to stop at what is a real architectural attraction, this is a church that is created entirely from wood typical of the area, from the seats to the religious figures including the facade, adorns the main square of the city and certainly gives a special touch to the place Cucao National Park My second visit was to Cucao another city on the island. My main motivation to tour the town was to visit this park, to get to Castro, where I was at that time, it is worth mentioning that it is the capital of the island, it is necessary to take a bus and it takes about an hour and leaves precisely at the entrance of this park. The first thing I could appreciate of this park was a sign that said, that there is a low cost camping area ideal for those who are backpacking, which was not my case, but it caught my attention. The park is composed of several trails each one of them with particular attractions, which are connected to each other, in them we can find a restaurant half way since the route is long and can make us hungry, as well as a beautiful lagoon , all kinds of vegetation, beautiful birds, frogs and insects, among them the tabanos, a species of owl that emits a quite annoying noise, which generally follows people, but which can be found […]

Best Places to Visit in Santiago

Santiago is definitely in my top 3 favorite cities in the world. People always talk about Paris, New York, Los Angeles, but there is something special about Santiago that will make you want to move there and never look back. It’s modern and cosmopolitan and yet quaint and family friendly, for bar-hopping crowds to museum lovers, it’s a big metropolis with a small-town feel, and sure it sounds confusing but you’ll understand me when you visit it. And no, I’m not overselling it.  It’s not the cheapest city in the world, nor is the most romantic or chic and avant-garde, but it’s real and honest, nobody is putting on a show, you will feel like a very lucky local, someone who just happens to live in a city blessed by nature with amazing people all around you. For me, Santiago became more than just another city to visit, it suddenly felt more like home than any other place, including my actual hometown, which is why I decided to live there in 2019. So, you have been warned: you may go and visit, but there’s a big chance that you’ll never want to leave. The Tallest Building in South America If you are planning a honeymoon, a family vacation, a solo trip, Santiago will cater to every kind of travel experience you are looking for. I will list the BEST places to go, in my opinion, and while there are a lot of day trips you can take to places outside the city like Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, wineries, or visit Cajón de Maipo, the Atacama Desert, the volcanos in Pucón, and many other amazing things, but for this post, I will talk about only the things in the city of Santiago. Grab your pisco sour and come with me! La Vega Hands down my favorite place throughout the city with the sweetest berries you’ll ever eat! Here at La Vega, you will find several butcher shops, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and everything else you need to cook a great meal at your AirBnB, besides restaurants to taste the local cuisine. You will truly feel like a Chilean in this place. Mercado Central After leaving the Cal y Canto subway station, you can turn left and go across a bridge, getting to La Vega or you can turn right and cross the street, going to the Mercado Central, they are literally 10 minutes apart from each other. It’s basically the biggest fish and seafood market in the city with a ton of options, as well many, many, many restaurants in a big area with no walls Separating them, all trying to convince the client to choose their restaurant instead, it’s loud but it’s fun. Here you can eat the famous Centolla, a giant crab. Cerro Santa Lucía Cerro means hill, and Santiago is very famous for them. Cerro Santa Lucia is located near the subway station with the same name, and it’s a location where you can enjoy […]

Pichilemu: The Perfect Surf Getaway From Santiago

Pichilemu is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone based in Santiago, or has a few spare days and is looking to do a bit of exploring before flying out from the capital. A must for surfers, or anyone in need of the beach. How to get to Pichilemu? Buses leave regularly from Terminal San Borja, and tickets are easily bought on the day, or online through websites such as recorridos.cl or busbus.com. Be careful though, as sometimes recorridos.cl doesn´t accept payments from international cards. Tickets brought a week in advance, for a feria weekend (national holiday) cost 8000CLP each way (around £9, or $12USD.) We bought ours online as we were unsure how popular the route would be on the feria, but both buses (13.50 on Saturday and 8am Monday morning) had plenty of space to stretch out. Where to Stay? The journey lasts three hours, and you´re dropped a little ways from the centre of Pichilemu, a short walk to the beach and several larger hostels. A little further (15 minutes walk) from the center, Hostal Patiperro have their own pool, if the two minutes to the sea is just too much for you. Kom Hostel is the hippiest alternative, right in the center, with Yoga and surfing and airy spaces. You can even camp out on La Puntilla for around 7000CLP a night – prices vary depending on the season. We stayed at Hostel Royal Surf: It took us ages to find, so don´t get distracted by all of the different Hostels with Surf in their name! Tucked away behind a small front courtyard, Royal Surf is run by a Señora, her son and his friends. This group of dudes live there full time, with connections to surf schools, tours, and can cook up some of the best Asado (bbq). The wifi doesn´t quite reach the dorms, but the spacious rooms and hallways are full of beautiful plants and ornate furniture. We paid 9000CLP a night in May, just after high season. Things to do: The Beach: First things first, head down to the beaches. You can get there in five minutes from almost anywhere, and can walk along the coast to reach the other side of town. There is plenty of street food on offer; incredible sea food, and some of the biggest churros you have ever seen in your life. One way to get down to the beach is through the garden of the Centro Cultural Agustín Ross, a site that hosts exhibitions, art and events, as well as historical information about Pichilemu. The garden is balcony of palm trees, gazebos and red and white balustrades, which lines the top of the hill. Before you head down, try Pizzeria Ross, a lovely family place, with a great deal for two on Italian-style crispy pizzas. The weather in Pichilemu is volatile, turning from bright sunny days to misty afternoons, so as we made our way around the point to the south of the town, harsh winds blasted […]

Santiago: what to do on a budget

Here I’ve put together some dos and don’ts for Santiago de Chile from my perspective as a young backpacker. Where to go and what to do, also some tips and tricks for Chile in general, especially if you are on a budget. Arriving So, you just landed, took your luggage, went through customs and are ready to get to your hotel/ hostel. What do you do now? There are several options to get from point A to point B in Santiago depending on how much you’re planning on spending. As I was backpacking and my budget wasn’t very large I chose the cheapest option: public transport. To get from the airport to my hostel I had to take a bus and 2 subway lines, as I come from a small city (that doesn’t have subways) I was kind of scared at this idea, but it was so easy to work out that I was very comfortable even using it later on. Another way to get out of the airport and into the city is taxis, although it is something to take into consideration since it is a fast and easier means of transport, taxis from the airport are way more expensive than regular ones. If you are planning on visiting many parts of Chile, and you can afford it, it may be a good idea to rent a car. This is mainly because most of Chile’s main attractions (apart from Santiago) are either very up north or in the south, very far from the capital. By doing this you have the freedom to choose where to go and when (although most buses all over the country have multiple departure times, this is not always true). Top Places to Visit in Santiago I know you’ve probably been through hundreds of these articles already and they will probably all say the same thing. So what I will do is tell you about the things that blew my mind and made it a better trip in some way, so here we go: The hills The hills in Santiago are a must. (I know you read this already…) but bear with me. The most important hill is “El Cerro San Cristóbal” (The San Cristobal Hill). Before going directly there, prepare yourself, it’s not a very long walk but in a sunny day it can take its toll, so pack water (there are drinking fountains all the way up but you’ll want to have your own), dress comfortably and pack lightly. But not so much because in the middle of the hills there are oasis-like swimming pools, so don’t do like I did and pack a swimsuit and towel beforehand! Cultural Centre Gabriela Mistral The GAM (Cultural Centre Gabriela Mistral), although this place is no secret, when I found it, it was magical. Why? I stumbled upon it late at night, looking to get to know something new and different in some way, and to my surprise, it was full of people just enjoying life. […]

Do's and don'ts when traveling to Santiago de Chile

Chileans love foreigners, tourists usually think that we’re nice and gentle, I know it because I’m a tour guide since 2016, they’ve told me. But we’re not always so nice, especially in our capital. Santiago is a beautiful city, full of nature, activities, and life, but it’s also full of people, some of them great, some of them not so great. In Santiago, you’ll also be able to visit amazing places, but you have to pay attention to some do’s and don’ts before packing your bags and coming here. Things you must know before coming   Don’t take a cab from the Airport, pick a bus instead. Everything at the airport should be easy. But at the outside it’s a different story, I wouldn’t recommend you to take a cab (they’ll constantly charge you with more money because you’re a tourist) thus…don’t. Instead, once you’re out of the airport, take one of the buses that take you to downtown, there are two lines of buses that can take you there, both lines cost almost the same, something around…3000CLP a round trip, very cheap, and a great option because you’ll certainly need to come back to the airport once your trip has ended, and both buses leave you next to subway stations. Most Hostels and Hotels are within a walking distance to subway stations. Buy a bip! card When you’re in Downtown you’ll have to get transportation, buses and subway have different costs, but you’ll need a bip! Card for both. You can buy a card and charge it at the subway and then you’ll be able to use it during your whole journey, it costs 1500CLP and a round trip in Santiago costs 1500CLP too, public transportation isn’t cheap in Santiago, but it’s still the cheapest option, and it’s very easy to use, plus everyone will try to help you if you’re lost, it doesn’t matter if they understand your language or not. Don’t leave your camera or phone unattended You’re probably not going to be robbed in Santiago, Chile isn’t dangerous, but, if you leave your camera alone on a bench at the park don’t expect to find it there after turning to see the birds…   Activities and places to visit: Do’s Santiago is a loud, crowded, eclectic, and syncretic city. In terms of food we’re living one of the best moments possible, we can have a full mix of Peruvian, Colombian and Chilean dishes at the same place. But as you’re coming to Santiago to hopefully learn more about us and our traditions, you’ll have to go to Chilean places. These are the must go, must eat and must do’s here: Eat empanadas Empanadas are my favorite food, and I’m considered a foodie by many, I love food and trying new things, so this may be a good thing: that I say empanadas are the best. The traditional empanada is a baked dough filled with “pino” (meat, onions, cumin, hard-boiled egg, and olives). But there are also many […]

5 Things To Do In Valparaiso

Valparaiso is a city on the coast of Chile, about a 2-3 hour bus ride west of Santiago. It is known as a haven for artists and inspiration to all. When immigrants started moving to the city in the 19th century they began building their homes from what was left on the shores of the port city – metal siding and buckets of paint discarded by ships after they used these materials as ballast. These poor immigrants began making their houses out of these scavenged items and this method of construction is what started the colourful patchwork design you see splashed on the hills of the city. Now, much of the metropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage site with strict rules on keeping the original charms of Valparaiso, pronounced: Val-para-ee-so by the way. This was my favourite city during my 7-month trip around the South American continent, and here is what you need to do to get the most out of your time in Valp: Go on the Free Walking Tour Chile and many other South American countries have adopted the European-born tradition of free walking tours. In Chile the main company is Tours for Tips. You can just show up at the time and meeting point and they will hold your hand and point out the most important spots in the city. Some young hostel-goers don’t see the point in these tours but I’d highly recommend them. They give you an idea of the layout of the city, ensure you don’t miss a big site, and the guides are available to answer any questions. Plus, it’s free! Although please go equipped with a cash tip. You may be a poor traveller but the guides often do these tours as a way to put themselves through university and the tips are their only income. So go with a will to learn and a generous heart!   Open Air Museum or Street Art in General Valparaiso is known for its amazing street art that is extremely hard to miss, it is literally on every corner. The Open Air Museum is simply a space where artists could be intentional about their work but it is not the only place to see great art in the city. What not all maps will tell you is that Valparaiso is made up of hills so the neighbourhoods are split up by these physical barriers. I stayed on Cerro Alegre, (Happy Hill), while the Museo a Cielo Abierto (Open Air Museum) is on the Cerro Bellavista (Beautiful View Hill). In my opinion, the art in the official Museo, (remember it is street art so visiting the museum is just wandering through that part of town), is good but beautiful art can be seen everywhere. I would recommend wandering through the Cerro Alegre area to take a peek at the art and maybe grab lunch as there are many amazing restaurants and empanada places in this zone.   Pablo Neruda's House (Or Houses!) If you don’t know […]

Puerto Varas: The City of Roses

Nestled on the South West shores of the second largest lake in Chile, Lake Llanquihue, Puerto Varas is a must for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts and those wishing to delight in first class gastronomy with the surroundings of this picturesque lake-side city. There is a reason Puerto Varas has once been voted the best place to live in Chile! Iconic Puerto Varas and Volcano Osorno Where is Puerto Varas? Puerto Varas is located in the province of Llanquihue in the 10th Region of Los Lagos, Southern Chile. 1000km South of the country´s capital, Santiago, and just 20km North of the region´s capital and the city´s larger, more industrial sister, Puerto Montt, it can be easily accessed by air (airport el Tupual in Puerto Montt) or land (via the Pan-American highway). Regular buses run between Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, which take around 20 minutes and cost no more than $3.000.   What is there to do in the city? Take it in Take a stroll along the Pérez Rosales boardwalk which runs the whole length of the city´s lakeside, remembering to stop to smell the roses and look across the glistening water for spectacular views of the snow-capped volcano Osorno. Delight in the German architecture Tired of the views? Well the German and Swiss legacy of the early twentieth century left its fingerprints in the architecture of the houses and gardens. Just walking around the city it is nearby impossible to overlook the Germanic influence, however, the most notable of the architectural testimony worth visiting are: the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Church (an icon of Puerto Varas), Yunge House, and the Gotschlich House (both reminiscent of Chiloe; having been built almost entirely of wooden shingles). Get a taste for German and Chilean cuisine When the hunger or thirst creeps in, take a seat on the lakeside or venture into the town to find something you fancy. Luckily, Puerto Varas boasts exquisite restaurants with European flavors as well as more traditional German or Chilean cuisine, and top Chilean wine. Another German influence has been on the desserts, as you can find cakes, strudels and even apple empanadas in most places here. And talking of apples…Chicha! Here in the south you can try a typically Andean fermented drink make from apples, instead of the more common grape or maize.   What is there to do nearby? Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park Puerto Varas is a great base for trips around the lake and to the nearby Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, offering scenic walks for all abilities around Lake Todos Los Santos and the base of the Osorno Volcano. On a grey, drizzly morning we set out to hike around the oldest park in Chile, Vicente Pérez Rosales, home of the lake Todos Los Santos and Volcano Osorno, with our fingers crossed a torrential downpour wouldn´t be on its way. A 45 minute bus journey with a local company will get you to the entrance trail to Saltos de Petrohué, an […]

Easter Island: tips for visiting on a low budget

Easter Island with its remote location in the middle of the Pacific ocean has a reputation for being an expensive travel destination. Although it's not cheap, it is definitely worth to try and squeeze it into your travel itinerary. With some luck, it can be visited also if you are a lowbudget traveler. Here are some of my tips for a more affordable visit. Buying a plane ticket The only way to get to Easter Island from mainland Chile is to catch a 3 to 4 hours long flight from the capital Santiago. Latam Airlines are the only company running the flights and the prices for a round trip are from 400 USD onward. Usual recommendations are to buy a plane ticket as soon as possible because the early buy should get you a lower price. In the case of long traveling, it is very hard to plan ahead so buying tickets few months before seems impossible. When I tried to book my ticket one month before departure, there seem to be no flights available on the Latam Airlines web page. I contacted them by email and they responded with the price 1.700 USD. Then I tried my luck one more time in person at their office in Punta Arenas. I got the return ticket just 3 weeks before the flight for 460 USD, which is one of the lowest prices you can get! Finding cheap accommodation On the Easter Island hostels are hard to find. The typical type of accommodation is staying in Hostal or B&B owned by a local family. It’s also the most convenient one because you get a private room with breakfast, there is a kitchen you can use and you can also get to know how the local life looks like. I stayed in Petero Atamu Hostal with a nice common room and a terrace close to the center of Hanga Roa and my single room including a delicious breakfast cost around 30 USD per night, which I think was a very good price. You can also try a cheaper option with camping, but be aware of the hard rain showers which can occur often as in the case of my visit. It is advisable to book ahead  – you will probably get a better price and the accommodation provider will wait for you at the airport (usually all of them do). Food and drinks There are many supermarkets in Hanga Roa. The prices are a bit higher on the island, especially for fresh vegetables and meat. Many people recommend bringing food and drinks with you from the mainland (don’t worry about the customs, it’s allowed and you also see all the locals traveling with an extra cooler box). If your accommodation includes a kitchen you can use, you can spend minimal money on food. But on the other hand, you will probably want to try some local specialties like I did. That’s why I brought only some wine and snacks from the mainland. You […]

10 THINGS TO DO IN SANTIAGO DE CHILE

YOUR FIRST DAYS IN SANTIAGO If you're planning to fly to Santiago, or you just got there and you're looking for places to visit, this article is meant to help up. The capital has been my base camp already for 24 years, so I’m quite prepared to tell you what-to-do in the big city. I hope these following tips will help you during your very first days around! Be ready, the city is BIG. HOW TO GET TO SANTIAGO FROM THE AIRPORT If you just arrived at the airport Arturo Merino Benitez, you might want to get to the city as soon as possible, and the airport is kind of …far. You'll see different transport possibilities, the easiest way will be taking the transfer or if you want to try …a taxi. WATCH OUT, taxi drivers might notice at a first glance that you are not Chilean, and probably charge you a little bit more… yeap sadly that happens all over the world. All right, if you are not interested in privates and super comfy transports, you want to spend your money better in food and adventures are your thing, it'd be better to take the public buses. There are 2 companies that go from and to the city, one is called TurBus and the other one Centropuerto, and they will be outside the main entrance of the first floor of the airport. It won't cost you more than 4USD, they are actually pretty good and you can choose where to stop. I'll recommend any Metro Station you can recognize. ONCE IN SANTIAGO CITY 1.-PLAZA DE ARMAS – SANTIAGO’S HEART You might be wondering where to start. Santiago has around 8million people, half of the country living there, so get ready for a big city. The capital has been divided in 37 “Comunas” this is how we call the different districts, so forget about visiting them all. The old town is located in the middle –dah…- and is called Santiago Centro –creative of course. There you might find the old town, the PLAZA DE ARMAS. Close to it, you can find Museums, the oldest buildings in the city, tons of shop stores and more, you'll be right in the center of the capital. Plaza de Armas 2.-CERRO SAN CRISTÓBAL Would you like to see the view of the whole city? There’s a fun way to do it! Step off in Metro Baquedano, go north along Pio Nono street (we’re going to talk about this street later, for other purposes, be ready), and at the end, you’ll find the entry of the Cerro San Cristóbal. From there you can choose whether to walk or pay 3USD and take the funicular which takes you straight up to the top. Both ways are fun, it depends on your energy! From the top you’ll be able to see most of the city, hopefully, you have a clear day, and I don’t mean because of the sun, you are likely to […]

5 Awesome things to do in Santiago de Chile

Are you travelling in Southamerica, have a stop in Santiago de Chile and don't know what to do? Don´t worry here I give you five easy, cheap, subway distance and local tips to make your pass through this city one you'll never forget:   1. Climb up the hills and see the landscape:  Santiago is not only in the footstep of one mountain range but actually in the middle of two; the Andes Mountain Range and the Costal Mountain Range, this location create a beautiful feeling of being immersed in the raw nature, but you don´t need to hike into the biggest mountain to experience it. A perfect afternoon activity is going to see how the mountain and the city mix from a central point, you can go to the Santa Lucia Hill, is located in the center of Santiago just outside the Santa Lucia Subway (of course) from there you will see the beautiful Santa Lucia castle build in the foot of the hill all the way to the top, from there you can walk up through the many gardens of this urban park, maybe rest a little and enjoy the nature, trees and fountains there. Then you´ll reach the tip top of the hill, from there you can enjoy a view of 629msmn altitude. De Edita angelica – Trabajo propio, CC BY-SA 3.0, Enlace But if you prefer a higher view you can go to the San Cristobal hill just walking distance from Santa Lucia. This is a massive Mountain and has a viewpoint of 880msmn altitudes, where is a Virgin statue. You can go to the Virgin at the top by taking the train or “funicular” from the Pio Nono street or use the pathways to walk or bike there if you are in a more active state. There is another entry to this hill in the Pedro de Valdivia street, a few blocks from Pedro de Valdivia Subway, is a much longer walk to the top from there and is used mostly for sports activities like running or biking. From these two points you can see the end of the city and how is surrounded by mountains like giant walls, of course, the climate is important to get a nice view, but generally in the afternoon the sun filtrate through the clouds creating amazing colours, so if you wait for the sunset you´ll have a mental picture you'll never forget. 2. Try the national Earthquakes: Chile is pretty well known for their frequent earthquakes, so much that it has become a national drink: the “Terremoto” (earthquake in Spanish), a good and sweet white wine called pipeño with pineapple ice cream and a spice of grenadine or fernet, you can have this drink with your friends and see how your stability tremble, if you are ready for more you can always ask for the second smaller glass called “replica” or aftershock. The best place to try these drink is in La Piojera  (the […]

Valparaíso: a city that never sleeps

Hello to everyone! Today I'm going to speak about Valparaiso, that is a beautiful, colorful and happy place. I'm traveling around the world nowadays, but before start traveling, I used to live in Valparaiso for almost 8 years. I grow up in a small town and moved to Valparaiso when I was 17 years old to go to the university and I fell in love with the city. I'm going to explain and attempt to convince you why visit this wonderful city is something that you can't miss. Where is Valparaiso? Valparaiso is a city located on the central coast of Chile, is the capital of the region of Valparaiso. Is only 110km northwest of Santiago, the Chilean Capital, and is one of the most important seaports of the country and pacific coast. Together with Viña del Mar, Reñaca, Concon, Quilpue and Villa Alemana form the Great Valparaiso. The city has many tourist points, count with four of the more important universities of Chile: Playa Ancha University, Valparaiso University, Federico Santa Maria University and my alma mater Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso. Also, the National Congress is located here. Geographically is surrounded by hills, where the residential area is located, in the plane zone between the hills and the sea you can find the administrative and commercial area. To go up the hills there are many funiculars, 30 in total but now only 16 are functional, and the thing that makes them unique is the view that you have when you are going up, you can see the ocean and a great part of the city. In 2003, Valparaiso was declared World Heritage by the UNESCO due to his architectonic history and culture. Here you can find beautiful old buildings, street arts, interesting things like the oldest newspaper in castellano of the world (Mercurio de Valparaiso), crazy parties and much more… There's always something fun to do. [single_map_place] Valparaiso, Chile [/single_map_place] What to do in Valparaiso? In this city, you have many activities to choose and most of the time there's some random event that you can go. You can do a city tour, visit the street art, go hiking, do a boat tour, visit museums, do some fun sports, party or just go to the beach. If you are that kind of people that loves to walk you have many walking tours were to choose, some of the hills of Valparaiso are huge and can take the entire morning walk through them. Usually, hotels have offers of several tours but most of them are paid, I always look for free walking tours in this cool website freetour.com and just show up at the meeting point. Walking around Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción are the most touristic hills, one is next to the other, so practically looks like one big hill. To go up you can take a funicular or walk through long stairs, I recommend take the funicular, is only 200 pesos (30 cents) and is something you must do in Valparaiso. If you are going up through […]

Torres Del Paine trek part 1: Prepare yourself

How much of an adventurer will you be? I don't think anyone deciding to tackle the immensity that is the Patagonian territory expected to have it easy. But tackling the Torres Del Paine National Park ? Nothing in the world could have prepared me for that (or you, before you read that article). Located at about an hour bus ride from the small town of Puerto Natales in Southern Chile, the area thrives with soaring mountains, breathtaking glaciers and never-ending grasslands that attract all sorts of visitors. [single_map_place] Torres de Paine, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile [/single_map_place] Bear in mind that just like many Patagonian landmarks, the park can be explored the easy or the tough way. Well, technically the easy way isn't that much of a walk in the park as actual trekking is still required but let's just say a shorter daily distance with invigorating nights in comfy beds and warm meals certainly do the trick. So if you're longing for Instagram-worthy pictures without pushing your physical – or physiological – limits, there are agencies organising several days excursions if a guided tour is what you're after or rustic lodges within the park you can book beds in (Friendly tip: do so in way advance from Puerto Natales as it gets booked up incredibly fast) then do your own thing. BUT because I'm 25, healthy and not-that-lazy, I've decided that I wanted a real adventurer story to tell my grand kids someday so here I was, contemplating what kind of dried fruits would be cheap AND light to carry AND full of nutriments AND actually tasty. Tougher than it looks really. Prepare yourself 101 Getting nice and cosy-ish It all started with a group talk at the Erratic Rock hostel. Worst kept secret within the backpacking community, that rendezvous was known as the trekking 101 class every other day at 3pm, probably to shorten the number of unprepared hikers suffering from hypothermia or starvation. For all of you out there: this is a not to be missed event (unless well, you are a seasoned trekker who long knew that raisins are the dried fruits to go to for any situation possible). More than describing the different trails possible around the national park, the volunteers tackled every question and issue you can think of, from what kind of clothes to wear to how to sustain on little food or keep warm at night. And pretty much every single response will be the complete opposite of what you think you knew. Don't believe me? You most likely will be sleeping at the bottom of snowy capped mountains and glaciers so if the sunsets are die for, the temperatures not so much @victorinefasquel Rather than bringing a pointless amount of clothes because you want your outfit to be on point for selfies, you're allowed two sets whether you're trekking for 3 days or 7. One outfit for the day, one for the night. The first includes windproof trousers (or warm leggings in my case), a tee-shirt (okay, two if you are really fussy), a windbreaker and none […]

The Best European Restaurants In Viña Del Mar, Chile

Dining by the Pacific with a continental flair Wulff Castle in Vina del Mar, Chile In January and February, when summertime comes to the southern hemisphere, vacationers converge on Viña del Mar from around the world. This seaside city in central Chile, on the Pacific coast of South America, offers sunny beaches, elegant hotels, and a grand old casino. Viña is also a magnet for cruise passangers calling at nearby Valparaiso and an attractive year-round destination for visitors from Santiago, Chile’s capital city, who are drawn by shopping, nightlife, and great restaurants. Restaurant options in Viña include many Chilean and international favorites such as seafood, grilled meats, big sandwiches, pizza, and sushi. Eateries serving Argentine and Peruvian favorites are also popular. However, many visitors and even locals may not realize that Viña is one of the best cities in South America for European cuisine. Diners can enjoy dishes from all over the European continent, with a variety of atmospheres and price levels. Here are a few favorites: Le Bistrot Merci Located at Quinta 11, near Plaza Vergara (tel. +56-32-268-0276), Merci serves up casual French favorites including savory quiches and beef bourguignon. Vegetarians will have options as well, which may include veggie lasagna, risotto, or Greek-style moussaka. Live music occasionally punctuates the proceedings, and some outdoor seating is available. Chez Gerald A Viña institution for more than 60 years, Chez Gerald (on the seafront at Avenida Perú 496; +56-32-269-7627) offers a menu of international standards in an elegant white-tablecloth setting with ocean views. Savory crepes, confit of duck, and classic onion soup lend the menu a French connection. Cocktail options include the obligatory pisco sour and the intriguing avocado sour, which makes spirited use of Chile’s favorite ingredient. The large dining room often hosts weddings and dinner dances, which draw an older crowd. Ristorante San Marco Another long-standing culinary landmark in Viña, San Marco (on busy Avenida San Martín at number 597; +56-32-297-5304) is a reliable destination for Italian favorites. The deep menu of meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish dishes invites pairings from the list of Chilean wines. Pastas such as tortellini and gnocchi are made in-house. Those who save room for dessert can finish the evening with a classic tiramisu. Fellini For a modern Italian experience, check out the contemporary furnishings and sleek bar at Fellini (3 Norte 88, corner of 6 Poniente, near the casino; +56-32-297-5742.) Besides universal choices such as carbonara and puttanesca, the pasta menu offers imaginative creations like ravioli stuffed with lamb, goat cheese, and sundried tomato. The steaks at Fellini also earn rave reviews. Finish the evening with a coffee-and-amaretto to encourage digestion and conversation. El Austriaco Describing its menu as “international with a central European accent”, “The Austrian” (located near the casino at 3 Norte 105; +56-32-268-3692) has been serving Viña del Mar for more than 15 years. The menu doesn’t skip the standards, like classic wiener schnitzel, or goulash of beef stewed with onions & paprika. Meaty dishes like pork leg […]

Santiago: Clubbing in Yoga Pants

Staying up until sunrise: a normal night out in Santiago… My first morning in Chile I woke up hung-over, smelly, and with coins stuck all over my body. I had been in Santiago for approximately 17 hours, and was already falling for the complexity of this city. Silhouette of Plaza de Armes The previous night had been danced at away at a posh night club, where I had been sorely under dressed. I found myself wriggling around to techno music dressed in the same yoga pants and sweatshirt I’d been wearing for 3 days of travel, as beautiful Chileans floated around me in little black dresses, heels, and collared shirts. These Chileans however, could not have been more fun to party with. They ignored my sandaled feet, nonexistent Spanish and greasy hair, and insisted on sharing their drinks of pisco-cola, or “piscola” with me. After dancing with my new friends for 6 hours, I had found my way back to the hostel and drunkenly fell asleep on my open wallet, which resulted in a layer of coins being glued to my body by sweat. Traveling has always been a source of happiness for me and being Santiago, Chile was no different. I don’t always wake up covered in sweat and Chilean currency, but there are worse ways to wake up. I had arrived in Santiago the day prior and it had taken me 72 hours, one missed flight, and a lost bag to get here. I was trying really hard not to feel worn out and exhausted. While traveling, it’s almost like your luggage becomes a piece of home you carry around, a small piece of known comfort and without it, I was feeling unsteady and a little homesick. However, no matter how much meticulous planning you do, some things are just supposed to go wrong and unplanned. I knew this, and I was trying hard to accept it. I decided to walk off my hangover by climbing up Santa Lucia, a hill that held a ruin of a fort and towered over Santiago. Winding my way through the narrow streets, I found myself in solitude among the concrete walls, along with a man sporting a bright pink wig. Streets of Santiago: Miraflores Santa Lucia was perched precariously on top of a hill, with a winding cobbled road leading up to it. Mossy foliage, bright pink and purple flowers and tangles of vines covered the entire complex. As you reached the top, more random paths and stairways appeared and I found myself climbing and leaping through the ruins of this old fort. Cobbled Roads and Stairways of Santa Lucia Near the very top of the fort was a clearing with a view of the city and an old man selling candy and juice. Craving sugar, I ordered a melon drink and found myself sipping a neon green beverage and staring at the city skyline below. “Jugo de Melon” Feeling energized and maybe a little nauseous, I climbed the last few, […]

Patagonia in Winter: From Southern Chile to Argentina

At the base of Cordillera Paine It took me four years and five hours. Four years of endless dreaming about making it to Patagonia after first seeing posters of the place pinned to the wall of a classroom in high school. Five hours of trekking from the drop-off point near the town of Puerto Natales in southern Chile, a beautiful gruel through deep forest valleys and up rocky escarpments covered in ice. After all that time, I found myself sitting at the base of the three soaring towers of the Cordillera Paine, the iconic mountain chain that gives Torres del Paine National Park its name. Impressive to no end, I remember worrying this place would ruin the rest of the world for me. Any place ahead would struggle to match its wild and towering beauty. Even so, there was a small difference between the pictures I’d seen back in school and the scene that lay in front of me then. The lagoon that usually lies clear and reflective at the foot of the mountain was instead thick and frozen, dusted with a thin layer of snow. For all my pining, I’d decided that even the cold wouldn’t deter me, and made my way to the bottom of South America into Chilean Patagonia in early August. Winter worries: should I go in off-season? August just happens to be right around the middle of Patagonia’s winter, or the dreaded “off season” according to most travel guides you’ll read. Freezing temperatures, unpredictable and gloomy weather, and the closure of some hiking trails and activities are all enough to keep most away around this time. It certainly made me nervous about my decision to begin with. But take it from me: if you’re willing to sacrifice some small comforts, travelling through Patagonia in winter can be one of the most profound and rewarding experiences to be had. The same hiking paths that in summer play host to hundreds of tourists and campers belong to only a handful in the winter months. In fact, on my way to Cordillera Paine, I only ever encountered three or four other people. This also increases your likelihood of encountering the region's diverse wildlife. Getting there The region of Patagonia makes up South America’s southern cone and covers a vast area across both southern Chile and Argentina. On the Chilean side, it officially begins near the town of Puerto Montt and stretches all the way down to Ushuaia, commonly referred to as the “edge of the world” because of its close proximity to Antarctica. Argentinian Patagonia is much larger, starting well above the city of Bariloche and ending below the township of El Calafate. Luckily, many of the highlights are comparatively close together. I began my journey into Patagonia in Chile, catching buses all the way from the capital Santiago to Puerto Natales. This amounted to over 48 hours spent on buses, with shorts stays at Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas to break up the trip. While these towns are nice, and […]

Chile: All you need to know about San Pedro de Atacama on a budget

There is something special about this place; maybe it’s the landscape, the lagoons, sand dunes, fauna, or the mysticism and peaceful vibes that you can find that are amazing and a MUST-HAVE experience for every adventurous traveler. Best Time to visit The Atacama Desert is located in north of Chile and is known as “the driest non-polar place on the planet”. In February there can be a little rain because is the “Altiplanic winter”, but the best thing about it is that you can see rainbows everywhere and it’s beautiful. The best time to visit San Pedro de Atacama for me was between March and May, there’s nice weather and it’s not too crowded like December, January or February. How to get there Going to San Pedro de Atacama Town is not cheap from Santiago, you can choose between an airplane or bus. It depends on your budget and your time, I have used both, but the bus is 23 h and the airplane 1 h 45 min. There are two airlines LATAM and SKY about US$ 275 (both ways), I would say SKY is slightly cheaper but it is better booked the tickets with anticipation. In Calama’s airport EL LOA, you can book a shuttle to San Pedro the main town in Atacama for US$ 20.00. The cheaper option is by bus, Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama. There are many bus companies, but I book TUR BUS https://www.turbus.cl/wtbus/indexCompra.jsf, they have 2 kinds of seats, with a bed seat US$ 150.00 or standard seat US$ 90.00 (both ways). I have tried the standard seat with music a good book, water and some chips. It’s not that bad! Accommodation There are lots of hostels that includes breakfast and range from US$ 18.00 to US$30.00 per night, it depends on your budget. I stayed in LA RUCA HOSTEL which is a few steps from the main street “Caracoles”, they also have private rooms, wifi, kitchen, hammocks and there is a big common area, perfect for a group of friends, though it is a bit noisy specially January and February. The cost of the shared room was US$20.00 per night, and they are open for big group deals. For couples, I recommend Hostel Mirador is 15-minute walk to town, but is quiet and you can relax, the view is amazing from there. The private room with shared toilet was US$42.00 per night without breakfast, but has a nice kitchen where you can cook your own meals and eat. What to do in San Pedro de Atacama Sandboarding in Valle de la Muerte Valle de la Muerte or Dead Valley, is a place with amazing sand dunes where you can practise sandboarding. If you book a tour, there is a 2-hour or full day tour. If you are an amateur, 2 hours is more than enough. The tour agency takes photos and a video, it also provides you with transport and equipment but no shoes you should carry your own sneakers and long socks, […]

Santiago de Chile – more than just a transfer hub

So, you've decided to go to South America, and with the Atacama desert in the North, and Patagonia in the South, how could you possibly bypass that long skinny, chilli-shaped country, Chile. Chances are you'll be arriving in Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport anyway, one of South America's busiest airports, but if all you see it as is a transport hub, you will miss out on experiencing one of South America's greatest cities. If you take the time to really explore it, you'll find it has more to offer than just hustle, bustle and clouds of smog. The history is important To really appreciate Chile, you need to know about her history. In the 16th Century the northern regions were occupied by the Inca's and the Southern regions by the native Mapuche people. In the mid-16th century Spanish conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, came to Chile and defeated the Natives and founded Santiago, becoming its first royal governor. It wasn't until the 19th Century the Chilean declaration of Independence from the Spanish Empire was signed. The first Chilean Governing body was formed on September 18, 1810, and is celebrated annually with patriotic parties, or Fiestas Patrias. The more modern historical aspect of Chile that is still felt very strongly today is the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. In 1973 the democratic government lead by Salvado Allende was overthrown by General Pinochet and became under military dictatorship until 1990. The regime resulted in thousands of deaths, tortures and forced many Chileans to flee. While the pain of this regime can still be strongly felt today, it has fostered a feeling of strength and togetherness in the people, who remain very proud of and very patriotic towards their country. If you don't believe me, try to be in Santiago for the next Cup America or the World Cup. I was there in 2015 when Chile won the Cup America and the celebration was bigger than that of New Year’s Eve, car horns were sounding, glitter covered the streets, and as we made our way through the city towards the train station a family grabbed our hands and brought us into their circle to dance and chant and hug and cry with them. Chile had won. CHILE HAD WON. No matter the hardships that had been experienced in the past, or that the people may still be being experiencing now, achievements are to be celebrated. And Chilean pride can certainly not be suppressed. Londres street is my favourite in the whole city. Aptly named “Londres”, it is reminiscent of Europe with its cobblestones and European architecture. However, behind its beautiful exterior lies a dark and oppressive history. Londres 38 is the address of one of the detention and torture centres for those who opposed the regime. Originally an office of the socialist party, it was seized by the military and the number was changed to 40 in an attempt to cover up the horrors that occurred there. Ninety-six people were killed at its location and their names now line the […]

TREKKING THROUGH THE “O” IN TORRES DEL PAINE

Torres del Paine I decided to quit my job so I could travel through South America with my best friend, Claudia. Next decision to take was where to start. We thought it would be a good idea to begin from the bottom of the continent. This way we get to cross it over. So, going to the Torres del Paine National Park, in the Magallanes Region of southern Chile, seemed to be the best starting point of the trip. This park is one of the most visited in Chile, famous for the cool shapes of the mountains which give name to the park. It was called 8th world wonder by National Geographic in 2013 and its trekking trails are considered among the best in the world. Tip: How to get there? Take a bus from Puerto Natales. Between October and April you can find daily buses with two schedules: 7:30 am and 2 pm. Here is the contact info of the bus company we took: Buses JB, address: Arturo Prat 258, Puerto Natales, ? (56- 61) 412 824, [email protected] Claudia and I talked about which hiking path we should do. There are many options and the best decision will depend on how much time you got and if you are up for a challenge or not. The most popular hiking circuit is “the W”. Most people choose this because you can do it in 4 or 5 days. Some would think it's easier because it's shorter, but this is not the case. If you aren’t an experienced hiker, you will find it as challenging as if it was the hardest trek ever. Especially if you are not lucky with the weather and considering the trail is 76.1 km long. So, since we had as much time as we wanted, and of course, because we were both looking to challenge ourselves, I proposed to do the complete hiking circuit. Claudia happily agreed: “this journey will be full of challenges, so we might as well start with a big one”. The big circuit: challenge accepted Campos de Hielo Sur This trek is known as “the O”, because its 93.2 km trail goes around the park forming a misshapen circle, but its real name is “Circuito Macizo Paine” (that is “Paine Massif Circuit” in English). It takes between 7 and 10 days to come across, but I wouldn't recommend to try it in less time than 9 days. Can be painful, but for sure it’s worth it! Especially because of the amazing view points of the Grey Glacier and Campos de Hielo Sur (the 3rd biggest ice field in the world, and the biggest one with land access and non-polar conditions). Now, it is important to say the level of difficulty of the trekking will depend on how lucky you get with the weather. The fierce Patagonian wind may appear suddenly just to increase your heart beats, and hopefully not throw you flying (which has […]

Santiago, Chile: The city from Southamerica between the mountains

The first post that I wanna write is about my beautiful city in the longest country of the world: Santiago, Chile. Where is Chile? I have heard this question so many times in Australia, where im living in this moment. “Southamerica, close to Argentina” I always answer.  And then the people said “ahhh, i know Argentina”. So, then im ask to myself…why the people doesnt know Chile? Chile has a lot of beautiful places that the world should know, and one of those is the capital, Santiago. What can you do in Santiago?  Santiago, in the middle of the country, is a big and beautiful city between mountains that made it unique. Is a big city with a lot of activities to do during the day and night. You can start your day in the center. Take the “Metro” and go down in “Plaza de Armas station”. You will see a lot of old buildings with differents places to visit: The Cathedral, the main Post Office, the Historic Museum and more. You can walk by the peatonal Street called “Paseo Ahumada” with many small stores, cafes and differents places to eat until arrive in one of the biggest avenues in the city: “Libertador Bernardo Ohiggins” or known as “La Alameda”. If you walk for the right, you will see a big flag in the air. Follow that and you will arrive to the house of Government called “La Moneda”, typical place to take photos. After that you should come back and walk through la Alameda until arrive to “Cerro Santa lucía”(Santa Lucía hill). A beautiful “small mountain”, hystorical military place. You can walk around and see the city from another point of view. In the top, you should try a typical chileand drink called “mote con huesillo”, its really refresh, specially if the day is hot. In the front of this place, you will see a fair with craft and typical products, ideal if you wanna buy some travel’s memories. Close to this places there are another area called “Barrio Lastarria”. You can find many restaurant and cafes and some design stores. The people said is a hípster area, maybe it is, but is really good. During the weekend, people sell some products on the Street. I will recomend go to a place called BUFFALOS WAFFLES. You will find the BEST waffles in the world ¡!! Delicious and really big!. Night and drinks in Santiago. If you are a party person, Santiago has a lot of áreas where you can go. The most typical area is known as “Barrio Bellavista”. You will find a lot of restaurant and pubs with all types of prices. There are some fancys places really expensive, another places with craft beer and good food with medium prices, and others really really cheap where you can buy a big “jarra” of beer of 2.5lts. Very convenient 😉 After you drink a few drinks you can walk around and you will find some places to dance. You […]
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