Clare’s must see in Chile list

Atacama Dessert, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

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.


  1. Nope. No pictures of it. But I will get on that. I love completos. They were also great when I was vegetarian and would pull out the meat and feed it to a stray dog, but then still have all this other deliciousness in my bun!

  2. Believe it or not, the Chile travel books are check out from the Duluth public library. They were there a month or two ago. Am curious about the other Duluthian hoping to escape to warmer climates (wait, that might be all of us!). Loved the post & photo.

  3. How did you travel once you were in Chile? Buses? Planes? Trains? If you did travel by plane, did you buy your tickets ahead of time or just once you were in Chile?

  4. Hi Lynae,

    For the most part I have traveled by bus within Chile, however I have also taken the train Santiago to Temuco and flown Santiago Iquique. It is also possible to rent cars and drive some of the distances. In general I have planned post arrival; although plane you might do online beforehand. I have found buses (especially Turbus) to be quite comfortable.

  5. The picture and your description refer to an ‘Italiano’, actually. Slightly different from a Completo.

    Note that in the old days people used to put sauerkraut first, in the bun, then the hot dog.

    With a cup of tea (no milk) is brilliant.

  6. Thanks for this helpful little guide! I’m heading from South to Northern Chile sometime during February 2014 as part of my trip around South America.

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