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Thread: Santiago, Chile??

  1. #1
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793

    Santiago, Chile??

    Anyone been there? Our son just got a job there for 5 months, as an avalanche/weather forecaster for a Canadian Mining Co.
    We have already made plans for a Portugal trip in the fall.....or I would love to go, hmmm if any good fares come along, I may go exploring!!!! (Like mother-like son !).
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  2. #2
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: Santiago, Chile??

    Santiago de Chile was en route on our rtw-trips quite a few times. LAN Chile is also one of our favorite airlines.

    Santiago itself is a big city, plenty to do and see for a few days. Palaces, plazas, museums, interesting neighborhoods. Take a funicular to the Parque Metropolitano hills, enjoy the view, Cerro San Cristobal, the zoo and walk back down. We didn't check the cultural offerings but I've heard they are pretty good, especially the jazz clubs.

    The best thing about Santiago is that there's so much nearby. Towards the coastal Valparaiso, which itself is worth a visit, there are plenty of wine regions to visit. Nearby is also San Alfonso del Mar with the world's largest swimming pool (3324 ft long!). And on the other side there are the mountains for great skiing and mountain climbing. To the south you get even more wine regions and of course the lake district.

    The food in Chile is superb. They have great beef, comparable to Argentina. The other ingredients are excellent quality, very fresh. And the wines..

    We did a two+ day private wine tour with Michael Ayandokun of Winetours Valparaiso. He was born in Nigeria, lived in London, fell in love and moved to Valparaiso and does wine tours and ski trips among other things. Our tours were around the Casablanca valley known for it's whites, especially as we weren't very familiar with white wines. Some of the vineyards have good tourist facilities with tours and restaurants, sometimes we would sit with the owner by the vineyard, looking the grapes grow, drink their wines and eat local cheese. Just superb. We were staying at Manoir Atkinson in Valparaiso, great location.

    The lake district, "Switzerland of South America", was just stunning. We started from Lake Villarrica next to the Villarrica volcano. The vista is just so beautiful there with the cristal clear lakes, blue sky, and the mountains. You can do a lot of things, sailing, kayaking, fishing, and you can ski on the (active) volcano during the winter. The area is known for it's hot springs and we can highly recommend Termas Geometricas. It's quite new and it's built to the nature, unlike the most famous ones that look like tiled swimming pools. We had our "christmas sauna" there, followed by a "christmas dinner" -- eating great beef and wine in Pucon. We stayed at Antumalal, classic architecture and beautiful views by the lake. We flew from Santiago to Temuco and rent a car there.

    From Villarrica we drove to Huilo Huilo, which is by far one of the most interesting places we've ever been to. It's a huge biological reserve. The accommodation is in two buildings, Baobap which is built around a three and Montana Magica which is built like a green volcano with a waterfall on it. Everything is built from wood, very natural.



    There's a lot to do. Enjoy the nature in thousand year old tree trunk natural hot tubs, the spa, year-round skiing and snowboarding, whitewater rafting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, etc. We climbed to the Mocho-Choschuenco volcano which was one of the highlights of the trip. +30 C (86 F), sun shining from clear sky, and you're walking in the snow up, two steps forward, one step backward. After hours of climbing, you're ready to give up and die.





    .. and you will feel the pain for the next few days :laugh:

    In Queenstown, NZ, we met a chilean from the lake district. As Queenstown is the "adventure capital of the world", he was there to learn and wanted to return to Chile to use his skills. There's a lot of potential in the region.

    From Santiago you can also fly to Eastern Island (you know what's there). There's also the Robinson Crusoe Island but the island's only village was hit pretty hard by the tsunami from the recent big earthquake, and now it's more of an destination for rebuilding than tourism. We tried to go there a year ago but couldn't fit it in our schedule.

    Driving in Chile was very easy. We never felt unsafe and overall Chile is safer place than rest of South America but the usual warnings apply, especially in the more crowded cities. We even took hitchhikers to our car when we returned from Huilo Huilo -- a child with her mother, they didn't speak english and it was a small, in the middle of nowhere gravel road. English isn't that widely spoken.

    I hope to get back to Chile soon. Once, twice, at least a dozen times Not to the big cities or Santiago as such but there is so much to see and experience in that long stretching country. From the Atamaca desert to the Chilean Patagonia.

    PS. To get a better idea, put the place names in Google and hit "Images".
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793

    Santiago, Chile??

    Thanks Petri......sounds like Chile is the perfect place for our rafting-snowboarding -ice climbing-instructor son!!!!! Those photos are beautiful ! He was coming back from Alaska yesterday, and we will meet him in Denver wednesday, to see him before he leaves sunday. I never knew Chile had so much to offer. I thought with the recent earthquake, maybe there would be better deals on flights.....but haven't seen any so far.
    I appreciate your report, and maybe I will be lucky enough to make it there while he is there.....if not, than sometime in the near future!
    PS I think that LAN is what he flys, from Denver to Dallas to Santiago.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  4. #4
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793

    Santiago, Chile??

    Petri, in case you want to see more photos....my son took on the edge of Patagonia....looks awesome!
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  5. #5
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,382
    Good to be young healthy and strong!!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  6. #6
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,022
    wow....just WOW!!!
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  7. #7
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106
    Awesome photos and terrain, Linda. Patagonia goes on the list.

  8. #8
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793
    Yeah does look awesome, I forgot my favorite, whch he calls"the edge of Heaven"...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  9. #9
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,382
    My oh my!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  10. #10
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Wow! Wow! Looks amazing, just stunning, your son must be having a blast down (and up) there!

    I want to go back.. now! Chile is such an amazing country. We took a similar picture on the volcano we climbed, it ended up in our horror gallery. Now I know it should be taken much further away for the perfect shot..

    Do you happen to know what mountain or volcano that is?

  11. #11
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,793

    Santiago, Chile??

    He said it was Volcan Osorno, near Puerto Varas.
    And the view through the clouds, is looking at Rio Petrohue.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  12. #12
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: Santiago, Chile??

    That is one beautiful area! All the activities, natural beauty topped with great wines and beef.

    We stayed a bit north from Osorno, the volcano we climbed was very similar to Osorno, some ~80 miles to the north. Unfortunately it was middle of summer in December so we didn't have great, fresh snow. Fun experience to climb in the snow when it's +30 C and sun is shining from the clear sky, two steps forward, one step backward..

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