A Visit to Chile
Written by: Guest on January 10, 2024
By Ken Pomerantz
I have traveled extensively in Europe and Asia and recently had an opportunity to have my first extended trip to South America and chose to go to Chile.
First, a fun fact about Chile: It is a very narrow and long country situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. From north to south, it’s about the same distance as the United States is from New York to California, but in total area, it is about the same square mileage as Texas! With so much distance between the northern part of the country bordering Peru and the southern areas of Patagonia, unless you have weeks of vacation, it’s impossible to do and see everything Chile has to offer. Our vacation to Chile was in two parts. We spent 4 days in the capital city of Santiago and then 4 days in San Pedro de Atacama.
We started in Santiago, a vibrant city of 7 million people and a great place for city lovers. The food, markets, museums, and public transportation are plentiful.
Highlights included meals of fresh ceviche and a variety of empanadas, and the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights which details the decade that Chile experienced under dictatorship. I highly recommend staying in the neighborhoods of either Bellavista or Lastarria. They are convenient to many of the major sites and full of bars, restaurants, and other street life.
One day, we took a 75-minute bus ride to the UNESCO world heritage coastal city of Valparaiso. Highlights there are hundreds of brightly colored murals which decorate the buildings in the steep streets. It’s a must see for art lovers!
Another day we traveled to the foothills of the Andes, for a 5-hour hike. Highlights there are the majestic mountains and nature. At one point, two condors, the largest birds in the western hemisphere floated directly overhead!
San Pedro de Atacama
With Santiago in our rearview mirror, we flew north to San Pedro de Atacama, which is an oasis in the desert surrounded by majestic volcanoes. There are so many natural wonders to explore in and around this city. We visited vast salt plains full of flamingoes, went high into the mountains to see the Tatio Geysers at sunrise, and hiked through the lunar-like landscape of Valle de la Luna. In our travels we saw llama, guanaco, vicuña, wild donkey, and other native animals. Because of its climate and altitude, the Atacama Desert is one of the best places in the world for stargazing, which we made sure to view every one of our nights in Chile.
We had a wonderful time in Chile experiencing their rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse natural wonders. And we’re already thinking about a return visit to explore Patagonia and the southern parts of the country. Chile is also now a major producer of world class wines that can help make your visit even more enjoyable!
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