From trip highlights to bad experiences, our two weeks in Chile are definitely unforgettable. Due to its unique shape, Chile has some of the most diverse geographies we’ve ever seen! Our travels in Chile were full of beauty and surprises around every corner.
We started and ended our Chile trip in the capital, Santiago. We were a little disappointed after loving Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. However, on our second trip to Santiago, we did discover a few hidden gems of this large and dirty city.
Soaking Up the Sun on Chile’s Coast: Valparaiso and Viña del Mar
Per usual, we can’t stay in a city long without heading to the coast. We stayed in Valparaiso for a few nights and absolutely loved it. It reminded us of one of our favorite US cities, San Francisco. Viña del Mar was a fun afternoon getaway as well.
We took a day trip to wine taste with llamas and it was as perfect as it sounds.
The Atacama desert is such a rad place. The dusty streets meet the starry skies in the middle of literally nowhere. We did lots of outdoor activities and from watching the sunrise at freezing geysers to sweating it out biking in the Valle de Luna, we really enjoyed our time in this trippy little town.
Hotel Hopping in Iquique
Unfortunately, Grant’s backpack was stolen on our overnight bus from San Pedro de Atacama to the border. We hopped off the next possible stop in Iquique to grab a hotel and sort everything out. The cab driver completely scammed us by trying to make us stay at his buddies’ hotels (one of which we are pretty sure was a pay by the hour type place!) and we ended up relatively unscathed (save our wallets) at a Hilton. Iquique seemed okay, the ocean was pretty, but we weren’t really in the mood to play tourist. The best part was the man who helped us file the police report. He was super kind and left a good impression of the Chilean people in spite of our thief.
Safety in Chile
As I mentioned we had a bag stolen on the overnight bus (Colombia Deja Vu much?) We used the Turbus company which we had had a good experience with in Casablanca however they handled the situation pretty poorly. That being said we weren’t being the wisest of travelers. We were on our laptops at the train station, we put our backpacks in the overhead bin on the bus, and we fell asleep (eye masks and all!) We can’t be on guard 24/7 right?! So be extra mindful and always keep your bag at your feet and you should be fine. Fortunately, no one was harmed and the embassy was lovely to work with when it came to replacing our passports. Overall we felt very safe in Chile. Oh! except I think a man tried to put a hex on me in San Pedro… more on that here.
Food in Chile
The food in Chile was a little weird. While empanadas were prevalent they were inferior to Argentina’s. We also had loaded cheese fries on several occasions. But think less ballpark, more gourmet. We’re talking goat cheese, steak, and seafood! However, they were typically wildly overpriced. The Atacama desert is also a food desert. The choices were so expensive and limited. Definitely not on the backpacker budget! And who knew, it’s downright impossible to get Chilean sea bass! I don’t think it’s a real thing…
Weather in Chile
We visited in May and the weather was nice. Aside from San Pedro de Atacama with its desert extremes, the weather was very moderate. Jeans and a tank were perfect for most days. It wasn’t quite warm enough for sunbathing on the coast but it was sunny and comfortable!
Overall, Chile is really cool. Two weeks was a nice amount of time for the places we visited. Valparaiso and San Pedro de Atacama were our favorites and of course we would love to return and explore beautiful Patagonia.
Want more information on planning your trip to Chile? Check out this Lonely Planet.
Chillin’ in Chile,