San Pedro de Atacama and around

posted in: Chile, South America | 2

San Pedro de Atacama is one of the most visited towns in Chile due to its proximity with the Atacama desert. The town is also the main departure and arrival point for the many tours into/from the Uyuni desert in Bolivia, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. This being said, you can understand that visiting San Pedro de Atacama isn’t a cheap. It’s however a destination that should be on everyone’s list.

Few “budget” backpackers decide to no visit the surroundings of San Pedro de Atacama as the sights such as geysers and highland lagunas can also be seen on the Bolivian side, as part of the Uyuni tour. Well aware of this, we still made the choice to visit a few places on the Chilean side. We didn’t mind much doubling up on visits to natural wonders that can’t be seen anywhere else. We were not disappointed. Continued

Understand the Booking System of Torres Del Paine

When you look into hiking Torres del Paine you find the names of Fantastico Sur, Vertice and Conaf and notice how messy it is going to be. At first everything seem really complicated as those 3 organizations are ran independently and manage different parts of the park. To book your stay in the park, you therefore have to jump from one website to another and plan accordingly to each one’s availability.

Let’s be honest, it is an absolute mind-boggling nightmare so before you start anything we will explain you the differences and will give you our tips and advice. Continued

A Detour To La Serena and Pisco Elqui

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Planning on heading north from Santiago or Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama? A good way to break up the long 18 hour bus journey is to stop off by the sea-side town of La Serena. A 7 hour overnight bus from Valparaiso and 11 hours from San Pedro de Atacama, La Serena is a popular Chilean getaway beach town. We used this stop as a detour to spend some time by the beach and to try some of the national drink, Pisco, in the valley that it is made.


Easter Island, A Self Guided Tour

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Landing on Easter island we reach another level of “the middle of nowhere”… This small dot in the Pacific Ocean is the most remote piece of inhabited land on earth. For years the mysteries of the island have intrigued us, so we made it a must see while traveling South America. It’s simple, to get to this Chilean island, it required to cross at least 3500 km of sea from either the South American continent, Polynesia or New Zealand. No wonder the island is renown for its mysterious culture and history that involves a collapsed civilisation, toppled statues and bird-man stories.

In this article, we will take you on a 5-day journey across this tropical island that we explored by car, bike and on foot for just above €600 each, flights included. Let’s go!


Valparaiso, Chile’s Most Colourful City

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Only a short bus journey from Santiago, the port town of Valparaiso takes street art to a different level. Formerly the most important city in Chile due to its strategic location for sailing around the continent of South America. The city diminished with the opening of the Panama Canal and an easier route through the Americas.

As a result of this decline, Valparaiso was thought of as unsafe for a long time. However, the graffitied streets are now home to university students, artists and the scene that goes with them. Here is what you can expect while spending a few days in Chile’s most colourful city.


A City Guide To Santiago, Chile

posted in: Chile, South America | 6

Santiago is the capital of Chile and has over a third of the country’s population. There is not much denying it, Santiago is big and busy. It is not the prettiest city in Chile and if you don’t keep your wits about you it has the potential for petty crime.

For backpackers the city will mainly act as the beginning or end of the South American adventure or, like us, it is the first taste of city life after spending months trekking through Patagonia. So, if you are starting or ending your trip or if you are in need of some life again, this is our guide for a couple of days in Santiago.


Cycling The Colchalgua Valley & Wine Tasting

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The wine in South America can often be summarised to the famous Argentinian Malbec and the usual Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite Argentina being one of the world’s largest wine-producing countries and offering an opportunity to visit many world class wineries, we decided to skip the Mendoza region and instead focus on Chilean wine. Our first stop would be the town of Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley, 2 hours south of Chile’s capital Santiago, where we would have the opportunity to cycle around the wineries but also to taste one of our favorite wines: Carménère.

The Colchagua Valley is not a main tourist destination for backpackers and can definitely be defined as off the beaten track of the Chilean gringo trail. This makes it a great place to spend a couple of days, relaxing and sampling the local wines. Here’s a secret…it is also much more affordable than Mendoza! In fact it seems to be such a secret that we only noticed 4 other tourists during our 3 days visit.


Chile’s Lake District, Puerto Varas & Frutillar

With Patagonia behind us, we took our next steps north into Chile’s lake district and the town of Puerto Varas. Settled by Germans (pre-war Germans) along the shore of Lago Llanquihue, Puerto Varas is the first stop for those looking to explore some of Chile’s volcanos. Being the lake district the weather changes quite quickly and you have to be prepared for anything. During our stay we went from fantastic sun to a grey skied rain storm.


Chiloe Island – A Roadtrip With Great Seafood

Since we first read about Chiloe Island, we had been excited to visit. After months of eating tinned and packaged food in Patagonia the thoughts of fresh shellfish, salmon, ceviche and more had us drooling. So our plan was to eat! Well, rent a car, explore the island, the unique churches and houses, kayak a sunken forest, hunt for pre-Colombian artefacts on the beaches and of course eat along the way. Continued