After Peru, my adventuring continued in full effect as I headed to Chile. Not only did I explore Santiago, but I also managed to head up to the Atacama Desert as well as Rapa Nui (Easter Island). I had booked my flight to Easter Island 8 months in advance to take advantage of the best prices possible and my business class round trip ended up being cheaper than if I had booked economy 6 weeks ahead.
My itinerary spanned a total of ten nights with 4 nights in Santiago, 2 nights in San Pedro de Atacama (with one night in Santiago), and finally 3 nights on Rapa Nui (with a bonus night in the lounge in Santiago):
- March 27th: Arrived in Santiago at about 4am and chilled in the airport for a few hours until the fantastic AirBnB host told me I could swing by at 11am. Took a nap and then did laundry before exploring the local area for dinner.
- March 28th: Hiked it to the metro line after breakfast and hopped the train to explore the central area. Had a tasty asado aléman for lunch at a hole in the wall place that served office workers. Stopped by the Centro Cultural La Moneda, the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, and the Museum of Fine Art. Finished off by climbing Cerro Santa Lucia.
- March 29th: Churrasco and eggs for breakfast to power my exploring which included the Train Museum (Museo Ferroviario), the National Museum of Natural History (free but probably better for kids/families), and finally the sobering Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Lunch was a fantastic Chilean cazuela vacuno.
- March 30th: Started the day with a big climb up Cerro San Cristobal (308m) to check out the large statue of Mary and the small church at the top. Rewarded myself with a deliciously cool mote con huesillos. Headed to the Vega Central Market via graffiti street (fantastic art work) and had some absolutely decadent freshly deep fried empanadas and a strawberry juice.
- March 31st: Flew out to Atacama Desert. Had booked the Star Observation tour but was cancelled due to clouds.
- April 1st: Headed out on a tour of the Altoplano lagoons as well as the salt flats with flamingos. Tried out the southern Chilean hake fish for dinner. Hoped the Star Observation tour was a go but no luck for the second night but did still manage some great night shots from the edge of town. Maybe another year.
- April 2nd: Returned to Santiago for one night and stayed near the airport in an AirBnB.
- April 3rd: Landed on Easter Island/Rapa Nui and managed to squeeze in the afternoon tour. No eateries or stores near where I was staying so I bought some cereal, powdered milk, and water to bring back to the guest house for my breakfasts.
- April 4th: Full day tour of the island that included a tasty BBQ lunch. Stopped by various moai sites and quarry/workshop where they were built.
- April 5th: Free day where I first headed to the free museum and then into town to explore. Ended up taking a swim. Had a great lunch of one of the island’s specialties, tuna empanada, as well as some ceviche.
- April 6th: Missed half the morning tour as the guide forgot to pick me up but at least still go to see the crater and birdman event location at Orongo. Caught flight back to Santiago and spent the night in the Aviance lounge.
- April 7th: Headed to my last South American destination – Ecuador!
The first place I stayed at was an AirBnB near the Estacion Central metro station. It was conveniently close to many restaurants and transport options with the airport bus letting me off only a block away.
The second place I stayed at was in San Pedro de Atacama at a place called Hostal Desert which was a fantastic little guest house at the edge of town which provided a tasty breakfast with cook for yourself eggs.
I did have a quick pit stop in Santiago for one night at an AirBnB near the airport. The host was great enough to provide a ride from and back to the airport as well as assist myself in ordering delivery. A great place if you need to be near the airport.
The last place I called “home” for my trip in Chile was in a guest house called Hostal Pukao on Rapa Nui/Easter Island. It’s a large property with about eight rooms. It has lounge chairs scattered about the property, a nice covered deck, and a kitchen. There are also chickens and cats that roam the acreage. As mentioned before, this place is quite out of the ways from the town, so I recommend a rental car. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rent a vehicle as I did not have a license with me as it was stolen in Hanoi.
I had a great time in Chile and it’s definitely on my list to come back to explore some more (another try at the Atacama night sky as well as Patagonia). Santiago is a pretty easy city to get around and the metro system seems to be pretty accessible. My biggest challenge was finding places to eat that weren’t fast foodish. With only a couple countries to go, I found myself almost looking forward to going back home but what kept me eager for more adventure was my next stop – Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands!
With that, let’s peruse a slew of random photos.