Text and images by Caroline Pawlowski
Did you always want to see the Andes, thousands of kilometers of incredible beaches, deserts and tropical rainforests, try amazing food and meet very hospitable people? Then we guess you were dreaming about going to South America! South America is an inspiring continent in every way, but it’s very hard to choose where to go (first). That’s why we wanted to give you some insights. So, how about Chile?
How to get from A to B
The best place to start is Santiago de Chile, the capital, which is situated very close to the Andes. Although national flights exist and might sometimes be your only choice, the cheapest way to get around are busses.
What to do
The first choice of many would be going to Patagonia (large part of it is on the Argentinian side as well), but for that, you need more than only some days as part of a South America tour. Today we’re going to focus on what you can do if you only have some days and still want to make the most of it!
Starting point would be Santiago de Chile, where your flight or bus would probably arrive. Hostels are a good way to meet people and get insider knowledge about the best clubs (must do: go to a Chilean club and have some Piscola or Pisco Sour). Top sights for two or three days include Mercado Central, Cerro San Cristobal (and Santa Lucia) and Plaza de Armas. If you’re there during spring or summer, you should definitely spend some time in Barrio Universitario and have a couple of beers outside with Chilean students!
View from Cerro San Cristobal: Santiago the Chile and the Andes
Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are the top choice for summer vacations for most people from Santiago, since the bus takes you there in about two to three hours. Both cities have grown together and have a lot of attractions. Valparaiso is famous for its little coloured houses and numerous hills. To save some time, you can take the outdoors-elevators that cost you about 100 Chilean Pesos. On the top of the hills you can enjoy some drinks in the sun or just walk around to see the graffiti. Viña del Mar is especially interesting for young people in February, when one of the biggest music festivals in Latin America takes place in the coastal town.
Beach in Viña del Mar
What to eat
Most importantly, you should try Empanadas. Another famous and very good food is Sopaipillas with Pebre (fried dough with a special dip). Also, Avocados (“palta”) can be found on every corner and are really good. Don´t miss out on a Completo either! Completos are sausages in a bun (sounds like hot dog), but in addition to just putting ketchup and mayo, you put palta and chopped tomatoes on it.