My gf and I plan to visit Chile for an awfully short period of 15-16 days in mid November this year. I thought I would ask the knowledgable forumites on suggestions for how best to experience this magical country. In particular, we love hiking and the outdoors, visiting beautiful cities and experiencing the life there, the arts (museums, festivals, etc.), and trying out new food and drink! Any suggestions? Ideally, we would like to get in a couple of nice, long, fulfilling day hikes atleast.
Thanks again for your time!
I spent a few weeks in Chile with my boyfriend this past December here are the places I would go in 2 weeks.
Chiloe - magical!!! spend some days in the national park and go to the penguin refuge
Puerto Montt/Puerto Varas (they're close together) - there's some hiking around and incredible food, but you might not spend that much time here
Pucon - very touristy but there are some nice hikes
Valdivia - a great city with lots of beautiful landscapes nearby
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar and Santiago are, of course, interesting and characteristic cities with great museums, arts, and food
One of these days I'll update my blog with my experiences in these places (and a few others too)... try searching it in the next few months.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the tips, Anna! Very helpful :-) I look forward to getting more inputs from your blogs too. Happy travels!
Wanted to ask. Are all of these places reasonably easy to get to by public transportation?
Yes! I took buses everywhere. Send me a private message and I'll put together some details for you if you like.
Hey everyone, question for Anna, did you travel into Chile by foot? I've heard the borders can be a pain and was just looking for a heads up?
Gnat, your short break in Chile sounds awesome and I hope you manage to find some wicked stuff to do out there, me and a couple friends are doing an 8 month backpacking trip next year, Chile will be on the cards, i would love to hear of any goodies you found whilst out there, i will keep in touch dude! 😊
Take it easy people x
Lucky lucky Mar Che! An 8 mo backpacking trip sounds fantastic. I shall certainly keep you posted on the fun stuff we get up to there!
Have a good one!
To answer Mar Che's question about border crossing, I can only speak from my own experience. I crossed from Argentina to Chile twice by bus - once through Mendoza to Santiago, once through Bariloche to Osorno, and had no troubles either time. The bus stops in the mountains and unloads passengers. You get the exit stamp from Argentina, then the entrance stamp to Chile, then go and watch them x-ray the bags (which the bus company and officials unload, then reload). If they have a question about a bag they call the owner over. That's it! When I went there were no troubles, no delays, however I'm sure it can be slower sometimes. Just don't bring any fruit, nuts, meat, or dairy, and you should be fine (I found out that spices are ok to bring, only after I tossed mine out - in Argentina I brought black and chili pepper with me everywhere).
Ah cheers guys, you don't make the border sound so bad. Its crazy how many different opinions of one place there is lol How comes you took black and chilli pepper everywhere?
Yea, thats what makes travel so much fun!
The question I have about the peppers Anna took with her is : were they sprays or innocent bottles? :P
Haha, I was in Argentina for a few months, wishing there was flavor and variety in the food - they don't use many herbs or spices there, and even pepper was hard to come by at most restaurants. Chili powder helped many a bland empanada!
I spent 4 months in Chile. If you like nature, Chiloe is a MUST. While there we stayed in an eco friendly hostel called Chepu adventures. I don´t know if they have a website but I know they have a Facebook page and are featured in a few of the guidebooks. They will lead you on an AMAZING hike to see real live wild penguins, the trek took about 6 hours total but it was awesome! The night after our trek they treated us to a barbeque at one of the neighboring farms and then the next day we kayaked at dawn, also AMAZING! The whole country is beautiful. Pucon is a nice place but it is more of a summer town. In Pucon you can climb up an active volcano. Also a highlight of my trip but also took about 5 hours, totally worth it though. I could go on all day about it but check out my blog for pictures and other info. Eat some empanadas and try the Chilean pisco too!
I am planning to visit chile next year - about 2 weeks i think - although i am flexible. I am still pretty clueless about the country - am still struggling to find a decent map on the web! - but I was wondering if the Atacama desert is within any of the places Anna listed above?? I am very keen to spend some time there, do you have any recommendations/suggestions for going there?
The Atacama is in the very North, and Puerto Montt/Chiloe are pretty far South. San Pedro de Atacama is where most tourists to the desert go. If you want to do it all, the bus system is easy to use and affordable. Valdivia and Valpariso are a little more centrally located, near Sanitago. I loved everywhere I went. If I were you, I would start and one end and bus to the other end of the country and do it all!
Thanks a lot - will look into it!
This is a great forum. I am heading down to Santiago on Dec. 27th and hoping to spend six months in Chile, maybe up to nine months. Who knows!! So its great to hear from people that have traveled through the country. I will be reading many blogs from the people who have traveled there. Also, I will be blogging extensively about my time in Chile.
As for what to see in Two weeks. I could only imagine the stress of trying to see all the great sights of Chile in such little time. I wonder if taking a flight down to see Torres Del Paine is something worth doing. I mean, if you did, then you would not have as much time to see other places. I just couldn't imagine going to chile and NOT at least doing the "W" trek! Are you sure you can't extend your trip, even just a little?!!!! ha!
Different times of year have different weather patterns in Chile. A great place in January (summer) may not yet be in Spring. If you want to visit the lake region or Chiloe, keep an eye on the weather. It can still be fairly wet in the south. There are only three places in Chile where you really have to fly: Easter Island (5.5 hr flight), Torres del Paine (flight to Punta Arenas) and Calama (for San Pedro de Atacama). The rest you can do by long distance bus. The top service is extremely comfortable, the buses are safe. In November it is not yet high season and you should be able to book what you want while you are here. You don't really have time for Patagonia and that takes a lot more pre-planning. You could do three days in San Pedro de Atacama if you flew to Calama and back. The weather will be nice in central Chile. Definitely spend a day in Valparaíso (only 1.5-2 hrs from Santiago, buses every 15 mins).
Forgot to add the link to maps by region:
trstck, you are one lucky person if you're heading down to Chile's Torres del Paine. Just got back from there and believe you me, it's the best idea you could have. It might not be the warmest weather, specially when the rest on the country and the continent is enjoying its summer, but the sights are worth it, all the way!!!
Yup, I am looking forward to my trip down there. I will be there around april I think! Going to be amazing. Doing the full circuit! Yeah!