We took an overnight bus from Valpo to Puerto Varas. It was a 14 hour ride, but luckily there were no stops through the night. It was much more comfortable than a plane and will be good preparation for an upcoming 24 hour ride further south.
Puerto Varas was quiet when we arrived. It's a smaller German founded town on a lake with quite a few name brand outdoor shops- Patagonia, Columbia, Orvis- and a lot of excursion shops. It reminded us of a ski town. We stopped to plan a rafting trip for the next day, but they had availability that afternoon and the sky was clear so we jumped on the earlier trip.
We departed from Atlanta after a slight rain delay and 9.5 uneventful hours later we landed in Santiago. After passing customs we took a crowded bus into the city. Buses are everywhere in Chile, both in the cities as well as a major form of transportation across the country. We quickly learned that very few people spoke English and Chris was going to have to brush up on his Spanish skills! We finally made it to the Airbnb in the center of Santiago after a short metro ride and very long HOT walk. We dropped off our gear before hitting the streets to explore. Most of the main museums were closed since it was a Monday so we stuck to wandering the streets for a bit. For dinner we ate at a Chilean sandwich shop that was a little touristy, but VERY good. After dinner we walked around the Bellavista neighborhood for a while. It had a very modern area and a ton of nightlife. Just like Spain, they eat very late here, but we decided to call it an early night. We will definetely be stopping by there when we are back in Santiago at the end of the trip.
Choosing what to bring
.Deciding what to bring for five weeks in Chile and Argentina has not been easy. We are looking forward to summer in South America, which brings heat to Santiago and Buenos Aires, while still staying chilly down in the southernmost part of the continent. We also need to combine urban life with the outdoors. The weather in Patagonia is known to be unpredictable. With strong winds, rain, or snow. We are planning to do quite a bit of camping and hiking, which adds a lot of weight and volume to our packs. While its possible to rent gear, we wanted a chance to use what we already own. We can also be more flexible, camping if we find a good trail, or want to save some money on lodging.
Chris & Taylor
Read our travel blog as we visit three continents in 2017.