A Travellerspoint blog

Chile

Back at sea level

Arica

sunny 22 °C
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After San Pedro de Atacama, I went to Arica, a city further North in Chile.
The old Aduana in Arica

The old Aduana in Arica


The Morro

The Morro


Pelicans in Arica

Pelicans in Arica

And finally...I was back at the beach! It was not quite warm enough to spend all day on the beach and go swimming, but it was enough for some relaxing hours of lying in the sun.
Chinchorro beach

Chinchorro beach

Arica also has a lot of other things to see. There is a lot of history; the oldest mummies ever found were discovered here, which you can see in the Museo Arquelógico de San Miguel de Azapa.
Mummy at Museo Arquelógico de San Miguel de Azapa

Mummy at Museo Arquelógico de San Miguel de Azapa


More Chinchorro mummies can be seen in the Museo de Sitio Colón 10.

I went to the Santuario de Picaflores, a place outside Arica where a woman takes care of hummingbirds and some other animals in a very interesting setting (whole rooms furnished in the forest...) and which you can visit with her as a guide.
Santuario de Picaflores

Santuario de Picaflores

Santuario de Picaflores

Santuario de Picaflores

The cemetery in San Miguel de Azapa is probably the strangest I have ever seen.
Cementerio de San Miguel de Azapa

Cementerio de San Miguel de Azapa

Cementerio de San Miguel de Azapa

Cementerio de San Miguel de Azapa

The cathedral San Marcos de Arica was designed by Eiffel and the sunset seen from the Morro (a big hill in the city centre) is beautiful.
Catedral San Marcos de Arica by night

Catedral San Marcos de Arica by night

View form the Morro

View form the Morro


View form the Morro

View form the Morro

In a village called Codpa, at about 2 hours from Arica, there was a big traditional wine fest on that weekend. Another opportunity to see a very traditional festivity! So on Saturday I went to Codpa. They sold a lot of local foods and drinks, especially of course the Pintatani, the special wine the whole fiesta is about (which is very tasty and also very strong).
Vendimia in Codpa

Vendimia in Codpa

Local fruits at the Vendimia in Codpa

Local fruits at the Vendimia in Codpa

There were also shows of traditional dances and music from the region and demonstrations of the wine making process.
Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

Traditional dances at the Vendimia in Codpa

It was a great day and a very nice couple from Arica who come there every year even invited me to sleep over in there tent, so that I could see the shows that are on at night as well. Unfortunately, I had to decide against this because sleeping in a tent without a sleeping or even a sleeping mat seemed like a very bad idea at the cold night time temperatures you get at an altitude of almost 2000m. So I took the last bus back to Arica that night.

Posted by sarahm_lux 16:25 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

San Pedro de Atacama

In the Chilean desert

sunny 20 °C
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San Pedro de Atacama is located in the Atacama Desert in the North of Chile. It is a very small village and I think there are more tourists then locals there. Almost every building that is not a hostel is a tour agency, a restaurant, a café or a shop.

There are many tours one can do from San Pedro, to hot springs, geysers or lagoons. However, since I had seen all of these things before, I did not want to spend more time and money on these tours. I therefore decided to only take the tour to the Valle de la Luna. This part of the desert has a similar surface to the moon, hence the name. It was a beautiful area and we saw an amazing sunset.
Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour - Las Tres Marias

Valle de la Luna tour - Las Tres Marias

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Sunset in the Valle de la Luna

Sunset in the Valle de la Luna

The next day I rented a bike and went exploring on my own. I rode to the Pukará de Quitor, the ruin of a pre-Inca fortress, where there is also a mirador from which you have amazing views over the whole area.
Around San Pedro de Atacama

Around San Pedro de Atacama

Catarpe valley

Catarpe valley

I cycled on to the valley Catarpe, where I had to cross rivers and ride through sand, not the easiest bike ride I have done… You can imagine what I looked like afterwards, wet, muddy, tired, but luckily not sunburnt. I rode my bike to the Quebrada del Diablo, an impressive canyon, which is really narrow in places, so that it reminded me a little bit too much of the movie 127 Hours which we had just watched in Sucre…
Catarpe valley

Catarpe valley

Quebrada del Diablo

Quebrada del Diablo


After I had cleaned myself up, I went on the Star Tour that night. The tour brings you to an observatory where a guide first explains a lot about the stars, planets, galaxies, constellations etc. Really interesting! Especially since I did not know much at all about the stars. You then get the chance to look through several telescopes, in which can see single stars, groups of stars, galaxies, and even the moon and Saturn! Through one of the telescopes you can (or rather the owner can for you) take a photo of the moon. The last part of the tour you spend inside the house, drinking a hot chocolate (or tea, but who wants that if you can have a really good hot chocolate ;) ) and having your questions answered.
I enjoyed this tour a lot and was happy that I was recommended it because otherwise I would never have heard of it.
Photo of the moon

Photo of the moon

The next day I planned to spend in San Pedro, using the internet, sorting my things out a bit and getting the bus to Arica at night. However, my plans were slightly changed by the fact that the hostel told me in the morning that I was not allowed to stay inside the hostel after check out and that they cannot even store my backpack till the evening. I had never had this in a hostel before, so I was quite surprised and obviously really annoyed. I went then, together with a German who wanted to take the bus to Arica that night too to buy a bus ticket and find somewhere that would store bags. We tried at the bus company, but they said that they do not have facilities for luggage storage. What to do now? We could not carry our backpacks around all day, especially since he wanted to rent a bike that morning. Luckily, the bike rental company agreed to store our backpacks until the night! As I was not allowed to be inside the hostel anymore, I spent the day in the plaza (where luckily they have free wifi in San Pedro) and in a café where they had internet.

Posted by sarahm_lux 12:46 Archived in Chile Tagged san_pedro_de_atacama valle_de_la_luna pukara_de_quitor catarpe Comments (0)

Back in a big city

Santiago

sunny 28 °C
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When I got to Santiago and had a look around the city, I really liked the place and was happy to be back in a big city again. After all the nature, beautiful landscapes and small towns, Santiago was a nice change.
Santiago

Santiago

Museo de Bellas Artes

Museo de Bellas Artes


Since two weeks, one of the big topics in Chile amongst all the travellers was Lollapalooza festival, which was going to be in Santiago this year, and whether to go there or not. It was happening just on the weekend when I was going to be in Santiago. The tickets were quite expensive, so I was not sure whether to go or not, I did not really want to spent that much money on it, but it sounded like it would be a great festival. In the end I decided on a compromise, I was going to go only for 1 day instead of the 2. Sunday was going to be my day at Lollapalooza. However, when I went to the shop to buy my ticket, I found out that there was an offer on that day: if you had a can of the energy drink Burn with you when buying the ticket, you could get 2 tickets for the price of 1. I managed to buy a can of someone and to find another girl who wanted just 1 ticket for both days. So I ended up going to the festival for 2 days and paying less than the price of 1 day J Perfect! The festival was great! The atmosphere was really nice, the weather was perfect and there were many good bands playing. Some of the best were The Killers, 30 Seconds to Mars, Cypress Hill and Kanye West.
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza


After I spent the weekend at Lollapalooza, I finally had time to see the city a bit more. I walked around Santiago, went to a couple of museums, went up on the Cerro San Cristóbal to enjoy the views from up there… I also met up with one of the Chilean girls I had met in Rio and with the American I knew from Pucón and who lives in Santiago. We went to eat ice cream, walked around the city, went out for some drinks and went to the cinema. (The black Swan was such a good movie!)

Of course I had to try some more typical Chilean foods in Santiago too. The Cazuela de Vacuno, a clear soup containing beef, vegetables, noodles, potatoes and pumpkin, the Mote con Huesillo, a kind of peach juice with cooked wheat swimming in it, and Pastel de Choclo, a pie made with beef, chicken, olives, eggs and onions, topped with ground maize and then baked.
Cazuela de vacuno

Cazuela de vacuno

Mote con huesillo

Mote con huesillo

Pastel de choclo

Pastel de choclo

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:28 Archived in Chile Tagged santiago lollapalooza Comments (0)

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar

sunny 22 °C
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Wednesday and Thursday, 30th and 31st of March, I spent on the Chilean coast, in Valparaíso. This is a busy city built over many hills covered in colourful houses.
Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Valparaíso


Although the city centre is too busy and not very nice during the day, the city has a nice feel to it. It is a student city, so there is a lot going on, especially at night. Since the city is built on hills, there are many funiculars and lifts going up these hills. Some of these are an experience by themselves, like the ascensor Polanco, which consist of a long underground tunnel you walk through and then a lift which takes you straight up through the hill. There is water running along the walls of the tunnel constantly and men are standing there with buckets to get rid of the excess water.
Tunnel to Ascensor Polanco

Tunnel to Ascensor Polanco


Another highlight of the city is La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda’s houses. The house is really interesting, showing how the poet lived and the things he owned. You get an audio guide when entering the house which explains all the rooms, furniture and other items you see and how it fit into Neruda’s life.

The second day in Valparaíso, I went to Viña del Mar, the neighbouring city and a popular holiday destination. With its nice beaches and holiday atmosphere, Viña del Mar was the perfect place to spend a quiet day. We walked along the beach, had a picnic, ate ice cream and finished the day by going to the cinema (for the first time since I arrived in South America!).
Reloj de Flores

Reloj de Flores

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar - ice cream at the beach bar

Viña del Mar - ice cream at the beach bar

Posted by sarahm_lux 11:31 Archived in Chile Comments (2)

Volcanoes, hikes and hot springs

Pucón

sunny 22 °C
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Pucón is a great base to go hiking and do many other outdoor activities. The main reason why many travellers go to Pucón is that you can climb the volcano Villarica.

I started my days in Pucón with a trip to the Parque Nacional Huerquehue where I hiked the trail Los Lagos. The park is really pretty, contains many different types of trees, including the funny-looking araucarias and a lot of bamboo, and the lakes are beautiful! It was quite a long and tiring walk, so that when we got back to town tired and exhausted, we rewarded ourselves with a nice big ice cream J
Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

Trying to catch a turkey for dinner in Parque Nacional Huerquehue ;-)

Trying to catch a turkey for dinner in Parque Nacional Huerquehue ;-)


Monday was supposed to be the day with the best weather during my stay in Pucón, so I decided to try to climb that volcano. Of course you have to do this with a tour; they provide the equipment needed and you go with professional mountain guides. Our group consisted of 9 people and we had 3 guides, which I found very adequate. It was an amazing day. They were right about the weather. The whole day there was not one cloud in the sky, it was warm but not too hot and there was no wind at all. This means that we were able to climb all the way to the top of the volcano (which you cannot do when it rains or it is too cloudy) and were able to stay up there for a while (which you cannot do when it is too windy because the toxic fumes coming from the volcano get blown at you then). The hike up was difficult, but not too much. However, the part where you climb over snow and ice was very scary. It was very slippery in parts and we were walking on a very steep part of the mountain. So we needed to use our ice picks as well as we could to keep our grip on the ice and be ready to use it to hang on to in case we would fall. This part was not just scary, but also very tiring because you had to concentrate on every step. It was all worth it though when we got to the top of the volcano, we could look into the crater and we could enjoy the amazing views from up there. You can see all the way to Argentina on one side. The way down was an adventure too. Instead of walking, you slide down the snow (and ice…) most of the way. This was scary again at first as it is easy to go too fast or lose control of where, how and how fast you are sliding down. However, once you know how to do it right, it is so much fun!
Climbing up volcano Villarica

Climbing up volcano Villarica

On top of the volcano

On top of the volcano

Made it to the top of the volcano!

Made it to the top of the volcano!

The crater

The crater

The view from the volcano

The view from the volcano


I stayed another day in Pucón, which I used recover from all the hiking by doing some more relaxing activities. In the morning I walked around the town, along the lake and the beach. Very pretty!
Pucón

Pucón

Pucón

Pucón


In the afternoon I went to the natural hot pools Termas Los Pozones. What a coincidence that I was on the bus there with 3 other people from the ferry again (I kept meeting people I knew all over Pucón, and also the Dutch girls were staying at my hostel again). The pools are really nice and located in an amazing surrounding! There are 5 pools with water of different temperatures ranging from lukewarm to too hot for me to get in. It was a nice relaxing afternoon and the English girl I knew from the ferry and I met a very nice American couple who even gave us a lift back into town with their rental car, saving us the bumpy bus ride and giving us 40 minutes more to enjoy the hot water.
Termas Los Pozones 1

Termas Los Pozones 1

Termas Los Pozones 2

Termas Los Pozones 2


That night I left Pucón and got the night bus up North to Valparaíso. Looking forward to the warmer weather up North and to seeing a different area after all these glaciers, mountains, volcanoes and lakes.

Posted by sarahm_lux 22:00 Archived in Chile Comments (4)

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