A Travellerspoint blog

chile

3 weeks: Santiago → Valparaiso → La Serena → San Pedro de Atacama → Iquique → Arica

santiago

It's a big city that doesn't really feel like it... it's super relaxed and friendly.

DO: the walk up to San Cristobal for the views of the city and mountainous backdrop. Food and handicraft markets! Enjoy a relaxing day in one of the many parks.

valpo.jpg

TO DO: Reflect on history at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos and Parque por la Paz.

→ easy jump off point to Argentina (→ bus to Mendoza)

valparaiso

Valpo is a port city situated on what feels like a mountain. It would not be worth visiting if not for the incredible display of color that gives the otherwise not so attractive city a boost of life and character. So go! but be ready to walk up a whole bunch of stairs.

DO: Just explore! Take a break from the stairs and take advantage of the ascensores. Learn about poet Pablo Neruda who lived here. Take a day trip to the beach at Vina del Mar (make sure to check out the Reloj de Flores).

TO DO: Check out the world's largest pool at the San Alfonso del Mar resort.

la serena

I honestly don't remember anything that stood out about this stop... There was an option to do stargazing, but given our budget we opted out and moved on quickly.

san pedro de atacama

An absolute MUST!!!!!!!!!!! San Pedro itself is a small, incredibly friendly community that is basically in the middle of nowhere. It's just amazing. Go.

DO: There are a bunch of tours, so do your homework: see what you can do independently, and what is more worthwhile to do with a tour. We chose to rent bikes and explore Valle de la Luna on our own (pack a lunch and water, it gets HOT). We chose to do the Laguna Cejar tour, which included a trip to the lagoon (where the salt water allows you to float), Ojos del Salar (do the jump!), and chance to enjoy Lake Tebenquinche at sunset.

→ easy jump off point to Bolivia (connects with Salt Flat tours)

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The photos don't do it justice - San Pedro seriously some of the most incredible landscapes!

iquique & arica

Both serve as unnecessary stops unless you have the time and desire to get to know them. A stop in Arica is more likely, as it is close to the Peruvian border.

to go

PATAGONIA!!! And back to San Pedro :)

WARNING

CALAMA is a shithole that you most likely will have to pass through in transit to/from San Pedro. No one would come here if not for catching a connecting bus. Be careful of your bags, don't take your eyes off them even for a second because thieves are waiting and ready for that exact moment. And the police are of little help.

Posted by scampyyy 15:06 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

argentina

3 weeks: Buenos Aires → Rosario → Iguazu → Rosario → Mendoza

buenos aires

Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to spend much time here, so my to do list is bigger than my done list.

DO: A graffiti tour of the city will make you look at street art in a whole new way. Go out and enjoy the city that never sleeps!

TO DO: Eat at a steakhouse. Shop around the Feria de Mataderos. See the Floralis Generica. Check out Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos. Go to a tango show. Daytrip to Tigre riverfront. Drink fernet (mixed with coke).

BY NEIGHBORHOOD: Microcentro: Casa Rosado (Casa de Gobierno)/Plaza de Mayo. See the Obelisco/Avenida 9 de Julio. La Boca: watch a soccer game at La Bombonera. San Telmo: catch up on history at Zanjon de Granados; go Sunday for the most action (market and nightlife). Palermo: enjoy Parque Tres de Febrero (Bosques de Palmero) - make sure to see the Japanese Gardens; smell some stuff at the Fueguia scent laboratory. Recoleta: walking tour, includes Cementario de la Recoleta.

AROUND BsAs: Mar del Plata for beach time.

waterfalls.jpg

→ easy jump off point to Uruguay (ferry BsAs → Colonia)

perez, rosario

I stayed here for nearly two weeks with an amazingly kind and generous family, so I have a soft spot for the area. That being said, I don't know that much about it considering the length of time I spent there (although it supposedly is a fun, up and coming tourist destination).

iguazu

It's out of the way, but it's also an absolute must! It can be visited from the Argentinean or Brazilian side. I only visited from the Argentinean because I heard it was more extensive - although I think you can cross over to Brazil to enter from that side with minimal visa hassle. You only need to spend one night here - leave and come on overnight buses (19 hours from BsAs).

DO: Obviously, Iguazu Falls. If you do some hiking through the jungle you will find the hidden waterfall shown to the right. Take some time to walk to Tres Fronteras, where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet.

→ easy border crossing to Brazil

mendoza

People rave about Mendoza and I think I would have too if I had had a bigger budget to spend there. Definitely worth a stop - it's a charming city with beautiful scenery and I enjoyed my time there, but there isn't tooooo much to do if you're on a budget.

DO: Tons of activities - trekking, rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, etc. We stuck with what Mendoza is known for: renting bikes and doing a wine tour. Definitely a fun day out, but it can add up quickly.

→ easy jump off point to Chile ( bus → Santiago)

to go

Jujuy/Salta & Bariloche have been on my list since I left!!

cultural note

Argentina wakes up at night. Dinner is late by North American standards (8/9pm is considered on the early side) and the party doesn't really start til after 2am. Have fun :)

Posted by scampyyy 14:31 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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