Page 5 of barrygahan Travel Blog Posts

Goodbye to Santiago Leaving Santiago behind, it felt like we were closing the chapter on the first part of our trip and moving onto the second half, which up until now we've thought little about and planned even less. We have just under six months left and in that time we hope to see 12 to 14 countries between Chile and Mexico. Given that we've only seen 5 countries so far (plus Antarctica), we realised we had to pick up the pace. With that thought in mind we travelled 1700km north from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama in the far north of Chile, a trip that involved 24 long, painful hours on a bus, our longest South America bus journey so far, and took us from Chile's most populous region to one of its remotest, ... read more
Ruth on the summit of Cerro Toco
Flamingo on the Slat Flats
Laguna Miscanti

South America » Chile » Coquimbo Region » La Serena March 3rd 2008

After a fantastic week on Easter Island, it was back to the mainland and the bright lights of Santiago. It was nice to return to a proper bed and hot showers after seven days of camping. Ruth's parents had come out to visit us for two weeks and had arrived by the time we were back in the capital so we lost no time in going to the hotel to meet up with them. We had been in Santiago for a few days before Easter Island, but had left proper exploration of the city until now. I know Santiago isn't everyone's favourite place, but it made a great impression on us. There's much more life here than other Chilean cities, and you could easily spent a week or two here taking in the cities sights. We ... read more
Pizza, wine and pisco in La Serena
In Santiago

South America » Chile » Easter Island February 19th 2008

The most remote island? Located almost 4000 km from mainland Chile, and well over 2000 km from the nearest inhabited land (Pitcairn Islands), Easter Island has a fair claim to being the world's most remote place. Remote it may be but isolated it is not, as daily LAN Chile flights from Santiago and Tahiti, not to mention the huge numbers of tourists that visit, mean you never feel the solitude that the earliest inhabitants of the islands must surely have felt. Indeed, until 1968 the island was visited only once a year by a ship from Chile which brought supplies, something of a contrast to nowadays! In spite of these crowds it's easy to escape and find quieter spots where you can still feel some of the island's remoteness. It was with some excitement that we ... read more
Where's Wally?
Easter Island from the air
Mirador Rano Kau

A long, thin country When you look at Chile on a map its strange shape makes no sense. From Arica in the north to Puerto Williams in the south, Chile reaches over 4000km in length. (Interestingly, the official centre of Chile is not just south of Santiago as you might expect, but way down south in Punta Arenas as the official bottom of the country is at the South Pole - Chile takes its Antarctica claims very seriously). This shape makes Chile an ideal country to travel through as you're usually never more than 150 kilometres from the mountains or coast, and when you want to move on you simply head north or south. The Pacific and the Andes are the two constants in this long, thin strip of land containing a variety of landscapes. We've ... read more
Cerro Campana
On the trail to Cerro Campana
Darwin's Plaque on Cerro Campana

South America » Chile » Biobío February 4th 2008

Lonquimay The Central Valley area of Chile stretches south from Santiago as far as Temuco, and contains some of Chile's most interesting, though often overlooked, sights. Chillan was our first stop in the Valley. It's a busy town, birthplace of Chile's first President, Bernardo O' Higgins, but with little to attract travellers. As in other regions of Chile, it's the landscapes of the Central Valley rather than the towns that capture the imagination. We hired a car (a striking red Chevrolet Aveo) in Chillan and spent four days exploring these landscapes. We drove down the Pan American to Curacautin, an access town for Conguillo National Park, and also for Reserva National Malalcahuello-Nalcas, both of which contain active volcanoes. Conguillio Park has been in the news recently following the eruption of Volcan Llaima on 1-Jan-2008. We were ... read more
Llaima still smoking...
Salto del Indio
Start of the hike to the summit

Back to Argentina Travelling across international borders in South America on a Sunday is never a good idea. Our journey from Pucón to San Martin de los Andes in Argentina, which normally takes 4 to 5 hours, took us a whole 8 hours. We were delayed for three hours outside Pucón waiting for cyclists in the Ironman competition to finish their cycle. They had a worse journey than us though, having to cycle 100 km, swim 3.5 km, and run 40 km on a very hot day. The border crossing at Tromen is surely one of the most beautiful in the world. Both the Chilean and Argentinian customs posts lie beneath the spectacular Volcan Lanin, which towers over everything else in this area (it's almost 1000m higher than nearby Volcan Villarrica). There was a surprising lack ... read more
It's nice to be back in Argentina!
Lago Lacar
River near Lago Queni

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Villarrica Volcano January 22nd 2008

Leaving Chiloe behind we moved onto one of Chile's most visited regions, the Lake District. We had taken things relatively easy in Chiloe, so we were looking forward to plenty of hiking and climbing after leaving the islands. The Lake District in Chile lies roughly between the cities of Temuco & Puerto Montt. The main towns are connected by the Pan American highway, running through the western half, while most of the lakes, mountains and volcanoes are found within a series of national parks and reserves, in more remote areas closer to the Argentinian border. Access to these parks is often via dirt roads, meaning it takes time to see all the sites, and that you usually need to return to the Pan American to move north or south. The relative inaccessibility of these parks, however, ... read more
Osorno Cathedral
Celebrating back in Pucon
Crater Rayhuen

South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Chiloé Island January 7th 2008

Cruising the Chilean Fjords The first weekend of the New Year found us crusing Chilean fjords on a 3 day, 1500 km journey from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt. North of Puerto Natales the road runs out as Chilean Patagonia becomes an impenetrable mix of fjords, glaciers and mountains. We had to choose between flying from Punta Arenas, going by bus via Argentina or sailing through the hundreds of fjords and islands that make up this part of Chile. An easy choice! We boarded in Natales at midnight on a Friday night, 3 hours late, giving us 3 hours to play cards and drink pisco sours with Peter, whom we knew from our Antarctic trip and whom we had bumped into in Natales. We booked the cheapest cabins available, in this case a dormitory with 22 ... read more
Navimag Ferry
Scenery on the cruise
Glacier Burbuja

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 2nd 2008

Christmas in Fireland After returning from Antarctica we spent six days in Ushuaia, including Christmas Day. These six days were probably the laziest of the trip so far - we managed a grand total of two hikes and visited only one museum. Most people from our cruise had immediately left Ushuaia, though Valery, our Zodiac driver, was still around, as he had another trip on December 26th, so we met up with him on two consecutive nights in The Galway or "The World's most Southern Irish Bar" as it liked to call itself. Such a claim makes you think it's a long was to the next Irish bar, but there was another one, The Dublin, only half a block north! The only Irish thing about The Galway was the prices, but in a town short of ... read more
Penguins on Isla Magdalena
Magellanic Penguin Family
Kelp Gulls

Antarctica December 20th 2007

Day 0-1: Ushuaia: Gateway to Antarctica Our Antarctica trip has been booked for a good few months, but we've had little time to think about it what with travelling around Argentina. Until now. As the plane left El Calafate airport and crossed Tierra del Fuego towards the world's most southern city, Ushuaia, the excitement started building. There's plenty to see and do in Ushuaia but we decided to postpone all that until after Antarctica, when we would be spending another 6 days here. That first night we stayed in Hotel Albatross, a 4 star hotel included as part of our trip, and the first 4 star hotel in Argentina, giving us a nice break from all the hostels. The following morning we met up with our fellow passengers for the first time over breakfast. We weren't ... read more
Rocky Drake Passage
Tabular Iceberg
I am King

Tot: 2.933s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 31; qc: 128; dbt: 0.1122s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.8mb