My Chilean Experience...
Highs: Trekking in Torres del Paine; wandering around Santiago and stumbling upon great
neighborhoods; upper Valparaiso; Puerto Varas and roaming around on the lake; dulce de leche
soft-serve at McDonald's; array of food options in Santiago; the hills of Valparaiso; getting my Brazil
visa so easily; San Pedro de Atacama.
Lows: Getting robbed in Santiago; a 35-hour bus ride; stray dogs.
Best Moment: Coming across moai galore on Easter Island. Also being able to have loads of
'tranquilo' time while out there.
Craziest Moment: Coming face-to-face with a sidewalk after trying to save my ipod from the
thief that ran off with it.
Smells: Seafood by the pier in Ancud on Chiloe Island.
Sounds: Lots of 'hola's when passing people while trekking; 80's music; 'Ciao' when saying
good-bye; stray dogs barking at night; 'street performers' playing horrible music on the bus.
Sights: Torres del Paine; Punta Arenas; Puerto Natales; Chiloe Island; Puerto Varas; Frutillar;
Petrohue; Peulla (via the Andean Lake Crossing); Santiago; stray dogs galore; Moais in Easter Island;
trumpet fish and puffer fish while scuba diving at Easter Island; Museo de Bellas Artes in Santiago;
Los Dominicos in Santiago; the Virgin Mary atop of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago.
Tastes: Pisco sours; vegetable empanada; grilled salmon; German pastries in Puerto Varas; ceviche;
alfajores in different flavors; empanada de manzana (apple); seafood empanadas; tuna and onion
empanadas; sushi with queso, steak and salmon (excellent!); suspiro de limeña (a custard-type thing
made with manjar); a fruit called 'tuna' which is actually from a cactus; a tomato, mozzarella and basil
Purchases: A knit cap (that I lost two days after buying it); chocolate (duh!); earrings (a few
different pairs); a copper and silver ring; a cool hat (hopefully I won't lose this one!); since I did end
up losing the other hat, I ended up buying yet another hat in San Pedro.
Street Food: Empanadas; little ham sandwiches; popcorn; 'Italianos' (basically, hot dogs).
Fun Food Finds: Quatro Light (a pomelo soda); manjar (i.e. dulce de leche) soft-serve at
McDonald's; alfajores with dark chocolate and raspberry ganache; Kellogg's Chocolate Frosted Flakes
- i.e. Zucosos Chocolate - (if anybody who works for Kellogg's is reading this, "Bring these to the
Other Fun Facts: While you can't flush toilet paper down the toilet (instead you throw it in a bin)
in many parts of the country, I am able to find my favorite deodorant (Lady Speed Stick in Orchard
Blossom) and Tampax tampons at the grocery store (this sounds like TMI...but this is important
Western Companies Out Here: In Santiago: McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, KFC, Dunkin'
Donuts, Lush, Benetton; Starbucks, Blockbuster, Pizza Hut.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? Not for Americans.
Type of currency? Chilean Pesos. $1 US is equal to about 550 Chilean pesos.
Wallet-Friendly? While it is not 'expensive', it is definitely more costly than its neighboring
countries. I thought it was going to be much cheaper but I was wrong. The best way of putting it is
that it is cheaper than Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Things Chile Is Known For: Wine; Easter Island; Patagonia (Torres del Paine, et al); Andes;
lapis lazuli; pisco sours.
Costs: $2,100 (so far, including Easter Island)