Chile, Chile, Chile – I'm going to Chile
By the time you'll read this I’m either in Madrid or just landed in Santiago de Chile.
Finally! The time has come to be on a long haul flight again! The first flight to Madrid takes about three hours. and from there it’s another 13 (!!) hours to Santiago. Without a layover anywhere in the USA or anywhere else in Latin America. (Most of my flights to Mexico involved a stop in the states. And you need a visa – still you can apply for it online, but it sucks having to do that. Then you never know how long you’ll need at the border…)
There are several reasons for this trip:
First of all, I found a great flight deal: 600€ roundtrip from Venice to Madrid to Santiago. Found it. Booked it. And that even in the middle of summer – well winter. Summer in Europe means Winter in Chile.
Usually I prefer to fly out of Vienna or maybe Munich, but this time I couldn’t resist the deal. Venice isn’t that far and it’s quite easy to reach by car, train and bus. I do have an annual train pass in Austria that’s also valid for a 25% discount on train rides in foreign countries. So I only paid 16.50€ from Linz to Venice Mestre. Yes, it might have been a long way from Linz, 7.5 hours to be exact. Was it worth it? Sure! The train ride goes straight through the alps and this part of the journey is picturesque. If you have the time to take a train ride in Austria take a train from Bad Gastein to Villach. Or go even further, because the Italian part that follows is stunning as well. Mountains!
Second: My dad went on a business trip to Chile a couple of years ago and when he came back he kept on telling us how great the country is. He also said that Chile was the only country he would move to live with us.
Third: Chile is the safest country in Latin America and has a very good infrastructure – same things that my dad was impressed by. Still, I have to admit that I never felt unsafe in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Colombia or Venezuela (back in 2009).
So what’s the plan for Chile?
I’ll start by exploring the cities Santiago and Valparaiso. I’m very excited to go and see and get lost.
After that – I still can’t believe it – I’m actually going to EASTER ISLAND! The flight takes about six hours and was almost as expensive as my flight from Europe to Chile. There is only one airline covering Easter Island, so they can charge pretty much anything they want. I will stay there for a couple of days to get to know the island and go diving.
Then I’ll be flying to the Northernmost airport in Chile and make my way down to Santiago by bus. I’ll stop in a couple of places – one is the desert Atacama which is the driest place on earth (yet there are flowers during certain times). Initially, I wanted to get a car and drive all that by myself, but one-way rentals are just too expensive in Chile, so I’ll stick to buses.
After this expedition in the North, I’ll be going South to Puerto Montt. I also wanted to go to Patagonia, but in winter it’s hard to get around and some streets are even closed due to the ice and snow. I’ll probably get a car here and pay the high one-way fee, because I want to visit many National Parks and I don’t think that that’ll be possible with buses.
When I planned my trip to Chile I had to find out that four weeks are simply not enough to see it all. Maybe I’ll be coming back soon?!
Have you been to Chile? Any recommendations?