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.
The next morning we took a bus to Valparaíso. It was an hour and a half ride from Santiago with lots of views of the surrounding mountains and hills. After arriving to the bus station, we decided to walk the 35 minutes to the hostel instead of figuring out the bus system- Terrible decision that my feet are still recovering from! We grabbed lunch while waiting to check into the hostel. Or hostel was situated at the bottom of one of the Cerros, or hills, of Valpo, near the port. They say there are over 40 defined hills, which stretch up and around as far as you can see. It looks like at any minute an earthquake or storm would have the colorful buildings sliding into the sea. Once we checked in and changed shoes, we hit the streets. We had missed the free walking art tour, but were told to walk around the Cerro Concepción and Cerro Algre. There were lots of look outs and murals painted on the buildings. We spent the afternoon exploring the side streets and finding beautiful murals mixed among historical buildings.
The next day we took the free walking tour that went around Cerro Cárcel, Cerro Panteón and Cerro Concepción. We took a "roller coaster" bus up into the hills and rode the trolley. We learned about the history of Valparíso, politics, immigration and a little history about the street art. We also got to try jote, a red wine and coke drink that young people in Chile drink. After the tour we grabbed lunch before heading to the hostel to shower and change. Tonight we will take the overnight bus south to Puerto Varas in the Lake District of Chile.
Chris & Taylor
Read our travel blog as we visit three continents in 2017.