A Travellerspoint blog

Chile

Santiago (16-20/11/2018)

Sunrise 0629 Sunset 2028 Temps Min 14 °C Max 32 °C sunny

The journey from Valparaiso to Santiago was the shortest of the whole trip and quite relaxed (all the way without taking a taxi) - taking the usual ascensor (funicular) down from near the Yellow House, trolley bus to the bus terminal, coach for the 1.5 hours trip to the Parajitas terminal in Santiago from where we took the metro to Cummings station, just a block away from our hotel. 

Mery Hotel

The Mery Hotel turned out to be a lovely old hotel -  very attractively decorated and furnished - and a really pleasant place to spend our 4 nights in Santiago.  (However, only one room of eight has an external window - room 2 - which we had requested in advance).   The hotel is family-owned, and run by two very friendly and helpful sisters.  Breakfast was not included, but there was a kitchen with fridge etc to make your own.  Good to have a change and have some fresh fruit and greek yoghourt (the regular yoghurt was far too sweet!) and we even made ourselves scrambled eggs on a couple of mornings.

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

Hotel Mery

The hotel is located in the lively Brasil barrio which has lots of bars and restaurants and is about 10 blocks west of the town centre (20 minutes walk). We had a bit of added interest each time we walked to and from town - in the adjacent street to our hotel a couple of artists were advancing with a large mural and we followed their progress with interest!

Mural in adjacent street to hotel when we arrived

Mural in adjacent street to hotel when we arrived

Mural in adjacent street to hotel when we left

Mural in adjacent street to hotel when we left

Santiago is the 6th largest city in South America and the centre for the most part is quite modern with a lot of high-rise sdevelopment, interspersed with some attractive and imposing colonial buildings. The centre was pleasant to walk round although it was rather hot (30 °C+) for much of our time there.  

The main hub is the Plaza de Armas - a typical Chilean/Argentinian large square with plenty of trees for shade, surrounded by attractive buildings.  Heading south from there is the main shopping area and financial centre with pedestrianised areas.

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Around the city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

Around Santiago city centre

In the pedestrian areas we found several establishments, much used by the business community, which were worthy of a pitstop!  Haiti and Caribe coffee houses had at least two outlets each serving very good coffee - possibly their popularity was partly due to the figure-hugging, very short dresses worn by the waitresses!

The Bar Nacional No 1 was another 'institution'.  (There is also a No 2 but its not nearly as interesting).  On the ground floor people sit up at the counter with friendly servers behind.  We discovered the place 10 years ago on our previous visit to Santiago and revisited it a couple of times to enjoy their chicken and crushed avocado sandwiches - yummm!  A lawyer/accountant (as he described himself) we were talking to whilst he had his lunch told us that, between 1940 and 1960, Presidents of Chile would regularly come and have their lunches at the same counter with two armed bodyguards standing behind them (sitting where we were!).

Bar Nacional 1 - Chicken and avocado sandwich - delicious

Bar Nacional 1 - Chicken and avocado sandwich - delicious


Bar Nacional No 1 - Making a Pisco Sour

Bar Nacional No 1 - Making a Pisco Sour

Bar Nacional No 1 - Making a Pisco Sour

Bar Nacional No 1 - Making a Pisco Sour

Bar Nacional No 1 - Pisco Sour

Bar Nacional No 1 - Pisco Sour


Ingredients: Pisco, lemon or lime Juice, egg white or syrup. Preparation: Vigorously shake and strain contents in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then pour into glass.

Mercado Central

About 4 blocks north of Plaza de Armas is the Mercado Central.  It is mainly fish-orientated with lots of fresh fish stalls, a multitude of fish restaurants and tourist shops. A good spot but need to be aware of pickpockets!

Mercado Central

Mercado Central

Mercado Central - lots of fish!

Mercado Central - lots of fish!

Mercado Central - lots of fish!

Mercado Central - lots of fish!

Mercado Central

Mercado Central

Mercado Central - lunch (  musician!)

Mercado Central - lunch (+ musician!)

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

About 10 minutes east of Plaza de Armas is an interesting and attractive small park which is on a steep mound/rock - Cerro Santa Lucia.  Great views of the surroundings from the top.  

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

View from Cerro Santa Lucia Park

View from Cerro Santa Lucia Park

large_DSC05302.JPGCerro Santa Lucia Park

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

View from Cerro Santa Lucia Park

View from Cerro Santa Lucia Park

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

Cerro Santa Lucia Park

Cerro Santa Lucia Park - view of Cerro San Cristobel hill (other park visited later)

Cerro Santa Lucia Park - view of Cerro San Cristobel hill (other park visited later)

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Looking north, there is a large hill - Cerro San Cristobel - which forms the Parque Metropolitano - a large park and top attraction of Santiago.  We decided to go on the Sunday - a beautiful but very hot day - as did large numbers of locals - so there was a long queue for the funicular up to the top!  (We walked the steep track down - not an option to walk up it in the heat that day in our opinion).  On the summit there is a colossal statue of the Virgin Mary and there are magnificent views over the city and of the Andes with some snow on the mountain tops. Its a big park where one could easily spend all day.

Santiago river on the way to Cerro San Cristobel

Santiago river on the way to Cerro San Cristobel


Serro San Cristobel Park - Long queue for funicilar tickets! (Sunday)

Serro San Cristobel Park - Long queue for funicilar tickets! (Sunday)


Serro San Cristobel Park - Funicular

Serro San Cristobel Park - Funicular

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park - View to Andes

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

Cerro San Cristobel Park

We tried a Mote before descending from the park (It is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of a sweet clear nectar like liquid made with dried peaches (huesillo) cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, and then once cooled mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat (mote) - actually quite sweet but tasty and very refreshing - and forgot to take picture whilst drinking it!!

We tried a Mote before descending from the park (It is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of a sweet clear nectar like liquid made with dried peaches (huesillo) cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, and then once cooled mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat (mote) - actually quite sweet but tasty and very refreshing - and forgot to take picture whilst drinking it!!


Serro San Cristobel Park - steep path down!

Serro San Cristobel Park - steep path down!

Santa Carolina winery tour

Having visited the Concha y Toro vineyard on our previous trip, for our last day in Santiago, we decided to try a different one this time, and found that the Santa Carolina wine tour was both highly rated and easy to get to by metro.  The winery was the first to be established in Santiago and the first South American wine to be awarded a gold medal at a wine fare in France!  Most of their wine nowadays is exported.

The winery is now surrounded by an industrial estate (a haven of peace amidst the noise and dust) and was cut in two by a road, with the vines being the other side of the road (and now no longer there).  Their bottling plant is still there (although not part of the tour) but otherwise, the property is used as the head office, for marketing, and the attractive gardens and original buildings are used for tours during the week and for functions (weddongs etc) at the weekends.  The original cellars (modelled on Bordeaux and Burgundy styles) are part of the tour.

A unique (in our experience) feature of this tour is that the three tastings are actually done as part of the tour (rather than at the end).  The tour guide was very good and gave us an interesting lesson in wine-tasting! - and what to look for.  The first tasting was in the gardens as he explained the history of the winery, and the second and third in the two wine cellars - so definitely in the atmosphere of the place!

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour


Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour - palm tree planted when the winery was founded (143 years ago!)

Santa Carolina Winery tour - palm tree planted when the winery was founded (143 years ago!)


Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Wine tour

Santa Carolina Wine tour


Santa Carolina Winery tour

Santa Carolina Winery tour

Posted by Lindseyalan73 23:37 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Valparaiso (13-16/10/2018)

Mendoza (Argentina) to Valparaiso (Chile) over the Andes - 8 hours  (not 6hr16min!) by bus including about an hour for Chilean customs formalities.

Mendoza (Argentina) to Valparaiso (Chile) over the Andes - 8 hours (not 6hr16min!) by bus including about an hour for Chilean customs formalities.

(All photos of the scenery were taken through the bus windows! Quite clear considering ...)

Mendoza to Valparaiso over the Andes

We left Mendoza (Argentina) on the bus for Chile at 0930 under blue skies and sun, and about 29° - a pleasant change after the cold and wet evening before, plus it meant there was snow on the mountains we could see from the bus station.  The journey took us across the Andes from Argentina to Chile - it has to be one of the most impressive journeys ever!   The scenery was absolutely amazing with the snow-capped mountains, the river valleys, and the different colours of the rocks against the blue sky!!  And then suddenly, after about 3 hours (of the hopefully only 8-hour journey) the weather changed, and we could see a storm ahead - and the next minute we were in the middle of a snow blizzard - incredible!  We could hardly see the Chile border control - but of course all had to get out and go through passport control and and their rigorous customs processes (all luggage off the bus and passed through scanners, sniffer dog...) - it took ages (about an hour) - in the freezing cold!  By the time we got back on the bus, the snow had settled and we were practically in a whiteout - and the road was descending by hair-pin bends!! We descended slowly and finally the sun returned for the rest of the journey and we arrived on time in Valparaiso.

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes15

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes15

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - with old railway bridge

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - with old railway bridge


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - oops, weather does not look too good up front!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - oops, weather does not look too good up front!


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorating

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorating


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated!


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Sierra Finches (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finches (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finch (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finch (or similar?) at Chilean border

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm- hairpin bends - no barriers!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm- hairpin bends - no barriers!


Mendoza to Valparaiso - down from the mountains in Chile - they are planting vines right up into the hills

Mendoza to Valparaiso - down from the mountains in Chile - they are planting vines right up into the hills

Valparaiso

Valparaiso (pop.300000) sprawls over a crescent of forty two hills that rear up out of the Pacific Ocean. It became a key port in the days when there was no Panama canal and the boats between Europe and the west coast of America had to round Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. The opening of the Panama canal and a variety of other factors lead to its decline. However, since being declared a world heritage site its fortunes are reviving and attracting investment and much work is being done to renovate the historical centre and buildings, and build new galleries - and a lot of the centre of town really looks as though it needs it! The city is still an important naval base and is now the cultural capital of Chile.

Sunrise 0630 Sunset 2030 Temps Min 13 °C Max 24 °C sunny

Yellow House and Cerro Artilleria

Our accommodation was right the other side of town from the bus-station, up in the hills in Cerro Artilleria. We were happy to take a taxi (about 10 euros) which dropped us on the road nearby, and after some searching and help from a local, we found the Yellow House. It was quite a mixture of a place to stay - funny bedroom with 3 beds and little room for anything else, the only shared bathroom this trip (happily no-one else was staying on our floor), spectacular views from our bedroom, fair 'included' breakfast and a little expensive for what it was (but Valparaiso seems more expensive for accommodation). Pleasant young German student working there who helped us with info and was good fun and interesting to chat to.

Very close to the Yellow House, the Ascensor Artilleria is one of many funiculars taking people up to the cerros (hills). From the top there is a superb panoramic view along the coast from the container port and harbour directly below to Vina del Mar and the dunes at Concon, as well of the hills behind.

Of course, the position means that going out anywhere required negotiating a steep path/steps or taking the Ascensor. Once at the bottom there is a choice of continuing on foot the 10-15 minutes into the centre (through a bit of a risky area at night), and the historic trolley bus service, or collectivos (small buses) for longer journeys.

Yellow House (entrance)

Yellow House (entrance)

The Yellow House - Breakfast

The Yellow House - Breakfast

Yellow House dining room windows

Yellow House dining room windows

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Ascensor up to Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor up to Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor down from Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor down from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria


View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria


Steps down for Serro Artilleria

Steps down for Serro Artilleria

Steps down from Cerro Artilleria

Steps down from Cerro Artilleria

view from Cerro Artilleria at night

view from Cerro Artilleria at night

Downtown and trolley bus ride

Much of the central area of the town is pretty run down with many derelict buildings, but the main Sotomayer square with the Admiralty building and adjoining the small harbour area, is attractive. Further north, Plaza Victoria is also a pleasant square with trees. Otherwise, it is necessary to get up into the hills to enjoy the best of Valpo.

Taking the trolley bus on a round trip is a good way to get an introduction to the Valparaiso, particularly as the trolley buses are an important part of Valparaiso's heritage. More than half of the fleet dates from the early 1950's - the old ones being of Swiss origin. As the service runs from just below our Ascensor right through to the bus station at the other end of town, we used it to do our initial scenic tour and for getting around generally. Its cheap too at about 30 eurocents a journey!

Swiss built 1950's trolley bus

Swiss built 1950's trolley bus

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town


Trolley bus interior - quite plush seats!

Trolley bus interior - quite plush seats!

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town


Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Plaza Sotomayer and harbour

Next to the Plaza Sotomayor, the small harbour area has some picturesque boats which are used for short tours around the harbour. There are also a number of souvenir shops and a helpful/useful tourist office.

After hanging around for some time, resisting attempts of the go-betweens to extract inflated prices for 'personal' tours, we took the short harbour tour - there were good views from the sea back into the hills behind, two or three naval boats and a large container ship being loaded, and the opportunity to get close to several basking sealions.

Plaza Sotomayor

Plaza Sotomayor

Statue in Plaza Sotomayer

Statue in Plaza Sotomayer

Harbour

Harbour

Harbour tour

Harbour tour

Harbour tour - view of Valpairaiso hills

Harbour tour - view of Valpairaiso hills

Harbour tour - container ship

Harbour tour - container ship

Harbour tour - Sealion (Female posing!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Female posing!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Male reflecting!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Male reflecting!)

Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion

These barrios are in the hills behind the centre of Valpo are very attractive areas to walk around with fine architecture, buildings covered in colourful murals, etc

large_DSC05136.JPGReina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Cerro Concepcion

Cerro Concepcion

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion  cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Local cuisine!

Found a very good (if rather run-down looking) empanada restaurant for lunch - Alan enjoyed the 'pina' empanada which we decided was Argentina's answer to a Cornish pasty, and I had the cheese and olives version - delicious!

A favourite dish of the Chileans is the Chorrillana - generally served for 2 it is basically comprised of chips, strips of meat, good quantities of onion and eggs! In the end we succumbed, and tried one on the last night at a classic old joint, bizarrely called Casino Social JJ Cruz, at the end of a seedy looking alley. That was the only dish they offer - but they did also make a good Pisco Sour (Chile's favourite cocktail drink) for the apero.

Famosa Empenada restaurant!

Famosa Empenada restaurant!

Empanadas

Empanadas

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Chorrillana - cholesterol special!

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Chorrillana - cholesterol special!

Casino Social JJ Cruz

Casino Social JJ Cruz

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Cat keeping eye on customers!

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Cat keeping eye on customers!

La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana was the home of Pablo Neruda, a very famous (in Chile) poet and diplomat. He chose it because it was quite unique and has a spectacular view over the whole of Valparaiso. He then did it up and furnished it to his own taste. We found out that we could get there from next to the bottom of our Ascensor by collectivo bus, using a route which takes a very bendy, sinuous route in the hills all the way. Collectivo drivers drive the whole time at breakneck speed so it was not a trip for taking leisurely photos out of the window!

Unfortunately, the house is currently covered in scaffolding and the 4th level bedroom is closed - so, as we had visited it 10 years ago when we first visited Valpo, we debated whether to bother this time. Anyway, we did go ahead and they provided us with audioguides (which we think are a new development since our previous visit) - and we enjoyed the visit - he was an interesting and talented man.

(Photos of the interior are not allowed)

Collectivo (bus) to La Sebastiana

Collectivo (bus) to La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana and scaffolding!

La Sebastiana and scaffolding!

La Sebastiana as it should look!,<br />- photo from our visit in 2008!

La Sebastiana as it should look!,
- photo from our visit in 2008!


La Sebastiana - View from top (5th) floor study

La Sebastiana - View from top (5th) floor study

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 1

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 1

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 2

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 2

Area near La Sebastiana

Area near La Sebastiana

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Walking down from La Sebastiana, we arrived in the attractive Cello Bellavista area, where 27 well-known artists created many murals over quite a large area which is known as the 'Open Air Museum'. There is a map to help trace it from the tourist office.

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio - small supermercado!

Bellavista Barrio - small supermercado!

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Vina del Mar outing

On our last afternoon, we took the metro north to the seaside resort of Vina del Mar. It is completely different from Valpo - very modern and seems more like a US town. There's a long stretch of beach to visit heading north from the town. The sea is VERY cold!

Vina del Mar at O'Higgins square

Vina del Mar at O'Higgins square

Vina del Mar behind beach

Vina del Mar behind beach

Vina del Mar main beach

Vina del Mar main beach

large_DSC05257.JPGVina del Mar - testing the water

Vina del Mar - testing the water

Vina del Mar - testing the water - glacial!

Vina del Mar - testing the water - glacial!

Vina del Mar - view north towards dunes at Concon

Vina del Mar - view north towards dunes at Concon

Pelicans at Portales (metro stop on way back from Vina del Mar)

Pelicans at Portales (metro stop on way back from Vina del Mar)

Posted by Lindseyalan73 15:17 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine, 11-13 Nov 08

We liked the small town of Puerto Natales. Whilst every other building seemed to be a hostel, travel organisor or restaurant, the place did not feel too touristy. It's prettily situated in the Ultima Esperenza Sounds with a backdrop of mountains. Good to have a "day at leisure" there as well as a (long) day for visiting Torres del Paine.

The hostel we stayed at was very helpful with information and arranging things ... within half an hour of arriving we had organised the tour to Torres del Paone and the bus out to El Calafate!

Torres del Paine is a spectacularly beautiful National Park about 200km from Puerto Natales. Apparently it takes 5 days and more trekking to see it properly but we decided to do a day tour! Once in the park, the road skirts right across the southern side near the mountains so, given decent weather, you get spectacular views. We ended up at Lago Grey on the western side and had a picnic lunch (visited by a fox with cubs nearby and barking noisily), and had time for an hour's walk by the lakeside.

Also completed the sighting of all the quartet of llama type animals in South America (llama, alpaca, vicu&ntilde;a, guanaco) as there are lots of guanaco there.

Wonderful day out!

Puerto Natales 1

Puerto Natales 1


Puerto Natales - View from room

Puerto Natales - View from room


Puerto Natales - Hostel

Puerto Natales - Hostel


Puerto Natales Sea view

Puerto Natales Sea view


Puerto Natales - Black Necked Swans

Puerto Natales - Black Necked Swans


Puerto Natales - Black Necked Swans and mountains

Puerto Natales - Black Necked Swans and mountains


Torres del Paine trip - Spot the Rhea!

Torres del Paine trip - Spot the Rhea!


Torres del Paine trip - Guacanos

Torres del Paine trip - Guacanos


Torres del Paine trip - Guacanos 2

Torres del Paine trip - Guacanos 2


Torres del Paine trip - Guacano

Torres del Paine trip - Guacano


Torres del Paine trip - 1

Torres del Paine trip - 1


Torres del Paine trip - 2

Torres del Paine trip - 2


Torres del Paine trip - 3

Torres del Paine trip - 3


Torres del Paine trip - 4

Torres del Paine trip - 4


Torres del Paine trip - 5

Torres del Paine trip - 5


Torres del Paine trip - 6

Torres del Paine trip - 6


Torres del Paine trip - 7

Torres del Paine trip - 7


Torres del Paine trip - 8

Torres del Paine trip - 8


Torres del Paine trip - 9

Torres del Paine trip - 9


Torres del Paine trip - Foxy lady 1

Torres del Paine trip - Foxy lady 1


Torres del Paine trip - Foxy lady 2

Torres del Paine trip - Foxy lady 2


Torres del Paine trip - 10

Torres del Paine trip - 10


Torres del Paine trip - 11

Torres del Paine trip - 11


Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey and glacier

Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey and glacier


Torres del Paine trip - Grey glacier

Torres del Paine trip - Grey glacier


Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey and mountains

Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey and mountains


Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey

Torres del Paine trip - Lago Grey


Torres del Paine trip - Lago Pehoe and mountains

Torres del Paine trip - Lago Pehoe and mountains

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Navimag ferry to Puerto Natales, 8-11 Nov 2008

The Navimag ferry carries cargo and passengers through the archepelego of thousands of islands off western Chile, over 3 days, from Puerto Montt down to Puerto Natales. You get ferry (not cruise) facilities and services, although there are Chilean and English speaking guides, briefings, lectures and films etc. It is ferry style accommodation (we shared a 4 berth cabin with two German ladies), (decent) canteen food service, plus bar of course.

If the sun shines, as it did for us for all but a couple of hours on the last day, the trip is fantastic. We spent most of the time standing up front on deck marvelling at the beautiful sea and continuously changing vistas: hilltops speckled with remaining winter snow, snow covered Andean mountains appearing, the still active Chaiten volcano, the boat passing through narrow straits (one only 80 metres wide), one stretch out to sea (the infamous Gulf de Pe&ntilde;as - although very little movement when we crossed), a stop at the isolated settlement of Puerto Eden, a 4 hour detour to visit the spectacular Pio XI glacier (which drops to sea level), ... and, if boredom would be likely to set in, there were seals, dolphins, penguins, albatross and lots of other birds popping into view.

Nav Day 1 - Osuna volcano behind Puerto Montt

Nav Day 1 - Osuna volcano behind Puerto Montt


Nav Day 1 - Puerto Montt

Nav Day 1 - Puerto Montt


Nav Day 1 - 1

Nav Day 1 - 1


Nav Day 1 - 2

Nav Day 1 - 2


Nav Day 1 - Claiten volcano - still active!

Nav Day 1 - Claiten volcano - still active!


Nav Day 2 - 1

Nav Day 2 - 1


Nav Day 2 - 2

Nav Day 2 - 2


Nav Day 2 - 3

Nav Day 2 - 3


Nav Day 2 - 4

Nav Day 2 - 4


Nav Day 2 - 5

Nav Day 2 - 5


Nav Day 2 - Seal pretending to be a dolphin!

Nav Day 2 - Seal pretending to be a dolphin!


Nav Day 3 - Old wreck

Nav Day 3 - Old wreck


Nav Day 2 - 6

Nav Day 2 - 6


Nav Day 2 - 7

Nav Day 2 - 7


Nav Day 2 - 8

Nav Day 2 - 8


Nav Day 2 - 9

Nav Day 2 - 9


Nav Day 2 - Out into Pacific

Nav Day 2 - Out into Pacific


Nav Day 3 - 1

Nav Day 3 - 1


Nav Day 3 - 2

Nav Day 3 - 2


Nav Day 3 - 3

Nav Day 3 - 3


Nav Day 3 - 4

Nav Day 3 - 4


Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 1

Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 1


Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 2

Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 2


Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 3

Nav Day 3 - Pio X Glacier 3


Nav Day 4 - 1

Nav Day 4 - 1


Nav Day 4 - 2

Nav Day 4 - 2


Nav Day 4 - 3

Nav Day 4 - 3


Nav Day 4 - English Narrows 1

Nav Day 4 - English Narrows 1


Nav Day 4 - English Narrows  (80 metres wide!)

Nav Day 4 - English Narrows (80 metres wide!)


Nav Day 4 - Puerto Natales

Nav Day 4 - Puerto Natales


Nav Day 4 - Puerto Natales docked

Nav Day 4 - Puerto Natales docked

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Puerto Montt, 7 - 8 December 2008

Another overnight bus journey from Valparaiso to Peurto Montt! This time 15 hours with Pullman Bus. Very comfortable. By the morning we were waking to grey skies, very green countryside, brown/black and white cows, sheep ... reminiscent of northern Europe.

We are here to catch the 4 days/3 nights Navimag ferry/cruise down through the southern Chiliean/Patagonian fiords to Puerto Natales (which is not far off the bottom of South America), which leaves today. Its a regular boat rather than a cruise ship (but the prices are more like cruise prices! - around &euro;500 per person sharing a 4 berth cabin).

Puerto Montt itself is nothing special, particularly on Sunday when most places are shut, but it is by the sea, the sun seems to come out at midday and, just west of town, is the picturesque Angelmo port area with tons of little fish restaurants. Salmon, hake, conger, loads of different shellfish to choose from ... great with a few glasses of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc ... Must drop by there for lunch before we board the boat this afternoon ...

Hostal Suiza - Puerto Montt

Hostal Suiza - Puerto Montt


Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt


Angelmo - Tide's out

Angelmo - Tide's out


Angelmo View

Angelmo View


Angelmo 2

Angelmo 2


Angelmo

Angelmo


Angelmo Fish stalls

Angelmo Fish stalls


Angelmo   Volcano

Angelmo + Volcano


Angelmo Soiree

Angelmo Soiree


Angelmo resto

Angelmo resto

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 8) Page [1] 2 » Next