Vamos a Chile!! I was so so excited for my 9 day trip. Thanks to the long weekend and my pathetic school schedule (only have classes Monday through Wednesday) I was able to take a longer trip.
9-Day Chile Itinerary (solo!)
What started as 5 days, turned to 6, 7… You know how it goes. Anyways the itinerary looked was Santiago -> Viña del Mar -> Valparaíso -> Casablanca -> Santiago -> San Pedro de Atacama. One of the reasons this trip was so special to me was I wanted to experience traveling alone. Never before had I done that and thought it would be a great way to grow and experience South America in a new way.
In Santiago I was fortunate enough to stay at Devin’s work apartment, a friend we had made in Mendoza, and Maddy, a girl from my program, was in Santiago with me that first night. Everyday of the trip was special and different so I decided to do a collection of posts somewhat like a diary recounting my daily adventures.
Buenos Aires to Santiago
Got up somewhat early to leave my apartment to make it to catch the Tienda Leon bus from Retiro to EZE. Since a taxi to EZE from the city is about $400AR, the $260AR round trip ticket on a comfy bus that takes 45 minutes and has wifi seemed very worth it. I made the 9:30 am bus with about 30 seconds to spare, the next one wouldn’t have left for another 30 minutes! At EZE I felt a bit lost, but followed the signs and somehow ended up in the right place 🙂
Unprepared Touchdown in Santiago, Chile
Getting into the Santiago airport I was very quickly reminded of that overwhelming feeling when I first found myself in Buenos Aires. All I had was the address of where I was staying that night (a friends apartment who we had met in Mendoza about 2 months ago) and NO Chilean pesos (aka credit card or bust). I hadn’t even looked up where the apartment was on the map and there was no wifi in the airport.
I followed the mass of people until I reached a taxi booth. Unsure of how else I would get to where I needed to go, I told the lady at the counter the address (thankfully she knew it) and I was on my way.
Whirlwind Taxi Cab Tour of Santiago
I have about zero trust for anyone working in the taxi/airport tourist business so it felt so wrong just blindly following these peoples instructions. I ended up super lucky with a great cab driver, he pointed out the presidential building, told me about the main avenue thru Santiago, tried to warn me about upcoming holidays where the city would pretty much be closed, and didn’t leave until I found the correct building.
Dataless in a Foreign Country
This is where I faced my next challenge; no one would answer the apartment door. With my huge backpack containing all my belongings, the last thing I wanted to do was head out to explore. Without thinking it all the way through, I turned on my data on my argentine phone to try to reach my friend who owns the apartment, Devin, or Maddy, another girl from my program who was in Santiago as well. Within 5 minutes, all the money on my virtual card was gone and I was holding a useless shell of a phone.
Identity Epiphany and Pie
I felt like a lost puppy in a huge city without a clue as to what to do, until my common sense kicked back in and decided to find a cafe with wifi. I chose a spot about a block from the apartment with a nice Chilean guy and girl working the place. After settling down with a coffee and (big sigh of relief) wifi they asked if I was Russian or Swedish. This was the first time it really struck me that I might not be just immediately pegged as being from the States before opening my mouth. This sort of ‘anonymity’ was kinda nice, I’ve gotten very use to sticking out here and everyone knowing I’m obviously not from South America, but the fact that I still had some sort of privacy as to where I’m from felt a little relieving. (Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s a real feeling!! Haha).
Anyways they were both incredibly nice and I walked out caffeinated, full of a delicious piece of cake, with an invitation for me and my friends to go out for Pisco sours that night, and my bank account as full as it was when I got there.
I headed back to the apartment re-motivated (with confirmation that the door would be answered) and was blown away by how big, beautiful, and spacious it was.
Cerro Santa Lucia + Maté
After dropping off my things I went to hike Santa Lucia which was originally on my Santiago bucket-list and just happened to be across the street from the apartment! I brought my maté and slowly wandered the Cerro enjoying the city miradors and finally settling down to enjoy my hot tea.
Night out in Barrio Brasil
A little while later I headed back to the apartment to meet up with Devin and Maddy. After relaxing a bit and catching up we headed out to Barrio Brasil to get some dinner.
Dinner at El Clinic
A 20 minute walk later through the beautiful city we settled at El Clinic, a restaurant whose “theme” is poking fun at political figures. We drank beer, ate food, and tried Pisco sours (good, but very sweet). Towards the end Devin’s French friend, Rafael, joined us and we headed to meet my cafe friend for Pisco sours! An successful atm trip, taxi cab ride, and apartment stop later we were in an empty bar sans cafe friend. After noticing in El Clinc that his WhatsApp profile picture was a shirtless selfie stick photo in a dark basement, I don’t think we were to disappointed.
We then walked to a bar where Rafael promised there would be live music… Empty bar, no live music. But we got a drink and made friends with Ricardo, the bartender, who taught us some Chilean slang and gifted me an awesome beer mug :). Next stop was La Piojera for their infamous terremotos, a Chilean drink that is suppose to knock you on your ass.
Karaoke in BellaVista
Of course it was closed so we headed on to BellaVista, a barrio known for awesome graffiti and lots of bars. We finished the night out at a karaoke bar (Maddy sang!!) and eventually walked home. It was a fun calm evening, and we got to see a fair amount of Santiago because of our various escapades.
The next morning it was on to Viña del Mar …..