Chile – why we loved it

We absolutely loved Chile.

It’s not that we weren’t expecting to. But while we knew in advance that we wouldn’t be able to get to some of its most well loved destinations – the Atacama Desert in the far north, Patagonian Torres del Paine in its most southernly tip, and Easter Island way out in the Pacific – we knew little about just what else the country had to offer.

But lots to offer it has. These are our highlights, and just what made our time in Chile so special.

City living

Our month is Santiago will without a doubt go down as one of the best spells of our entire trip. Lively, laidback and with loads to do, Santiago surprised us in how much it has going for it. In our four weeks there, we got properly stuck in, making the absolute most of the bustling bar and restaurant scene, frequently taking Amber to the city’s many playgrounds, soft play areas and interactive museums, doing a splash of hiking, and even getting involved in a bit of volunteering. It was a jam-packed month and supremely enjoyable.

IMG_5260

Amber and Duckie getting to grips with a spontaneous lindy hop lesson in Santiago’s Bellavista Patios

Continue reading

A night on the streets of Santiago

While we were in Santiago, I volunteered with a local homelessness charity, Corporación Nuestra Casa (Our House) for two evenings a week. A Chilean voluntary organisation, it has been providing food and shelter to the capital’s street dwellers for 16 years. The following is an account of one of the evenings I spent with the charity, handing out food on the streets of Santiago.

Continue reading

31 reasons to love Santiago (and a few not to)

After spending a month in Buenos Aires in October, we realised the value of longer periods of stability while travelling, not only for Amber but also for Claire and I. As such we decided that following a busy couple of months of travelling in November and December, we would lay low for a bit, try to save some money and generally keep things quiet during January.

Santiago was to be our base. The capital of Chile is often overlooked by travellers who use the city as a transit hub in order to reach Chile’s main draws such as Patagonia or the Atacama Desert. However, the city has enjoyed something of a revival recently, boosted by government investment and a subsequent cultural boom.

We had spent 3 days in Santiago in December while on our way to the Chilean coast for Christmas and had rather giddily / drunkenly claimed that the city was the best place we had ever been to. I think it’s safe to say this wasn’t necessarily accurate and could have had something to do with the fact we knew we were coming back for a prolonged period in January. However, even in this short period, we saw a city that was buzzing with a vibrant, young edge. It immediately felt more down to earth than the somewhat haughty Buenos Aires.

And now, having spent pretty much all of January in the city, our opinion hasn’t changed. We loved it and thought the best way to celebrate our time there was to give people a taste of the sheer variety of things to do. So below is a list of not far off everything we did in Santiago, from bars and restaurants to cultural spaces and viewpoints. It’s all there.

IMG_5112.JPG

Sunset over Santiago on one of our first evenings in the city

Continue reading