South America – Santiago + Coast
Four posts later and I’m finally finished with our South America trip! If I hadn’t taken thousands of photos this wouldn’t have been such a problem! Breaking it up into several different segments has made it much easier, but I don’t expect anyone to still be reading or actually care at this point, but if you do and didn’t check out our other posts – here they are:
Day 1 – Santiago & Travel to Valparaiso
After leaving the Lake region, we took an overnight bus (yikes) north and arrived in Santiago early in the morning. We rented a car and headed towards the coast to Valparaiso. Valparaiso is well-known for it’s colorful houses, colonial style, and being a city on a hill. If you want a good butt workout, this is the city to go to. The streets are SO steep that they have ‘ascensores’ that take people up, which are basically elevators that move on a slant. We only spent one day here so we opted to do a walking tour and got to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.
Day 2 – Vina Del Mar
Although I really enjoyed Valpairaso, I liked Vina Del Mar better. Why? Because of the beach! We spent our time here laying out and let me tell you, it was glorious! Especially since we had come from the frozen tundra. We had a lazy day in Vina Del Mar and we enjoyed it as it was our last full day on the trip!
Day 3 – Santiago
On our last day we headed back to Santiago and spent the day around the city before flying out later that night. Santiago, much like Buenos Aires, is another huge city, which isn’t my thing. But, we had a beautiful day with beautiful weather and enjoyed our time there. Much like Valparaiso, we also did a walking tour. Not much to take pictures of (just historical buildings) so we documented the important things instead like ice cream.
- We recommend the bus over the flight from Puerto Montt to Santiago. The prices are SO cheap and it runs overnight, so you aren’t missing anything in daylight. You will make lots of stops along the way, so don’t get your hopes up that it’s a straight shot!
- In Valparaiso we stayed at Costa Azul and really enjoyed the owners. Not only were they Croatian (one of my favorite countries), but they served a delicious breakfast, spoke English, and were very helpful with giving us information.
- In Vina Del Mar we stayed at Hostal del Aguila, which was fine, but definitely nothing too special.
- Both Valparaiso and Santiago offer free walking tours. I’m not one to spend hours talking about the culture of the cities, but we weren’t sure how to spend our time at these places since we had less than 24 hours at both. If you don’t mind a verrrrryyy slow paced tour, then I recommend doing these. Prepare to spend 3-4 hours!
- Try the Terremoto, Chile’s famous drink. I’m not sure how it’s famous, because we never found a restaurant/bar that could make one for us, but please try it and let us know how it was!
- Santiago is home to over 1 million stray dogs – you have been warned!
- If you have a rental car (which we did), I don’t recommend taking it near the pier in Valparaiso. We left ours at the hostel and took the bus down (which is an experience in itself). There is plenty of free parking at the beaches in Vina Del Mar, but no free restrooms.