The year I was in grade 11 there was only one thing I wanted for Christmas. This beauty:
I didn’t have the money to go there, or the gumption to travel alone, but oh did I know that I wanted to go. And I’ve been hoarding that book ever since.
Fast forward 12+ years and that dream has become a reality. Andy and I just returned from my bucket list trip – 10 days in the country of Chile. Yes, it was everything I imagined and more, and yes, we would go back. Tragically, the above guide was out of date and pretty much useless, but that was also before the times of trip advisor and google translate, so we ended up being alright.
Interested in visiting the country? Looking for adventure and exposure to a new culture? Follow along in the following posts about the cities we visited, the activities we tried, and the lessons we learned. Not interested? Keep reading. I guarantee you will be.
Our rough itinerary:
2 nights Santiago – Hotel Ismael
(Day trip Casablanca)
2 nights Valparaiso – Hotel Verso
(Flights South from Santiago)
2 nights Pucón – Hotel Malalhue
2 nights Puerto Varas – Hotel Bellavista
(Flights North from Puerto Montt)
1 night Santiago – SCL Holiday Inn
General good-to-knows about Chile:
- Leaving the airport is going to be the worst part of your whole trip. DO NOT TRUST ANY CAB DRIVERS. They will try to scam you, lie to you, and get you into a private non-taxi vehicle. Either pre-arrange a driver or go straight to the VIA taxi line up and do not talk to anyone else. If the cab doesn’t have a meter, don’t get in. Prices to downtown should be 15.000 CLP or less total – non metered drivers will try to charge you more or worse, claim the price was per person once you reach your destination. That said, please don’t let this ruin your impression of the country as everyone else is lovely.
- English is not commonly spoken, even in the bigger cities. Google has a handy app that you can download on your phone and use offline (link to apple store here) which will save your life if you are not fluent en español.
- Driving in Santiago is a nightmare. Avoid renting a vehicle here or in Valpo at all costs. Renting in the south is fine, but please see point (2). Make sure you understand the terms and conditions when making the reservation online, as it will not be in English when you’re signing on the dotted line.
- Winter in North America is allergy season in the South. Pack your meds accordingly.
- The country is known for their wines, but the craft beer scene is WHERE IT’S AT. Also Pisco sours. Try those too. When you’re at the bar, ask for the cervezas artesanales.
I have so much more to tell you, but I’ll save it for city-specific posts. Stay tuned!