Well we have reached the last day of NaBloPoMo. I have to say that I have had fun writing everyday this month and that it has forced me to come up with more topics (some were good, others less so). Then I realized that at the beginning of the month I had asked for questions. I only received two, but of the two I have only answered one. So, I suppose it is time to apologize to my sister and answer her question.
I guess a lot of what you see in Chile depends on why you are coming and for how long. In general, I would skip Santiago or spend just a day or two there. The rest of the country has such amazing natural beauty. On the other hand, Santiago does have some beautiful parks and lots of venues to go out in.
In the north of Chile, I loved San Pedro de Atacama. When I visited I ended up tripling the time I was going to spend there because I just liked the city. It is small and quaint. There is no scene to go out to. But, it is wonderful to contemplate life and be in awe of nature. The above picture is from my trip there in 2000.
In the South, I would defiantly spend time on Chiloe and if you get a chance, eat some curanto (a local dish with fish, potatoes, and vegetables). Climb volcano Osorno if you have the energy and the chance; I have done it twice and the view at the top is amazing. White water rafting near Pucon is a great summer get away.
For shorter trips, spend some time in Valparaiso and Vina. When here, don’t just visit Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion– yes, they are the most “popular” and upscale hills that the guide books tell you to go to. However, they don’t give you a real feel for the hills. Check out Polanco, Baron, and Monjas.
Trips to the three Pablo Neruda houses are also a nice get away, and glimpse of history. My favorite is la Chascona, in Santiago, mostly because of the library and outdoor space. However, the collections at the house on Isla Negra can’t be matched.
Regardless of where you are and where you go:
- have ice cream at Bravisimo.
- go out salsa dancing one night, preferably where you can take lessons before. (In Valpo Eche Havana is a good choice).
- eat a completo with all the traditional ingredients: hot dog, tomatoes, avocado, and mayo.
- accept any invitation from a local to visit their home (obviously safety first).
- try out the wines.