Last known location: London, England

Archive of posts about Chile


Up to the Altiplano

Next was a long road trip up to the Altiplano, the high plane that stretches from Chile, through Bolivia to Peru, but we had a couple of stops to break the journey. We set off just after dawn (actually only about 8 o’clock!) for the tiny bus station in Caldera and were soon on our way to our first stop, Antofagasta. It was another spectacular journey along the Pan-American highway through the edge of the Atacama desert, and we took in some delightful sights along the way – cement works, gas plants, mines etc.!

We had low expectations for Antofagasta, but were pleasantly surprised when the bus emerged onto a green seafront boulevard lined with palm trees. After getting ripped off by a taxi driver we found a cheap hotel following a sweaty search in the heat with our backpacks. That night we sought out Wally’s Pub, which our guidebook claimed was an English pub serving curries and draft pints. Perhaps we (or more accurately I) had built up too much of picture of how such a place might be, and this led to inevitable disappointment! There was no draught beer and one very average curry! Click here to read more…


Back on the English Beach

We continued our journey along the Pacific coast, heading another seven hours north along the Pan-American Highway to the beach town of Caldera. Further south the coastline had been rugged yet relatively flat, but almost as soon as we left La Serena we were climbing into the mountains, and we soon had a spectacular view down to the coast behind us. Eventually we stopped climbing and continued along for hours across a high desert plateau, passing only the occasional mine and observatory – the area has more sunny days than almost anywhere in the world, and the clear skies make it ideal for a spot of stargazing. Click here to read more…


Serena by the Seaside

We arrived in La Serena following an uneventful, but pleasant enough bus journey, passing through amazing scenery. A lot of the road was right on the coast so we were treated to some gorgeous views of the Pacific. I was particularly impressed with the provision of a blanket and pillow, and make the most of it for an hour or two!  We went straight to our hostel in La Serena, El Punto, which is the 2nd German run place we’ve stayed in in Chile. There’s a lot of German influence in the country; loads of German cars, quite a few words, i.e. kuchen, which means cake and, happily for Dan, lots of German beer! Click here to read more…


Football Farce & Dodgy Dogs

From the capital we made the 2 hour trip to the coast, and the port town of Valparaiso, known to all as ‘Valpo’. The slightly quirky place is built into the hills surrounding the bay, and we checked into a B&B a good way up the slopes! We had a nice big room with huge windows looking down over the town.

Our first priority was to find somewhere to watch the big Spurs game that afternoon. Gem seemed more concerned about this than I did, and she later admitted she was worried about the strop I’d have if we didn’t find anywhere! It didn’t come to that though, and we quickly found a dingy bar with a big TV where the barman was suitably reassuring. Before kick-off we had time for lunch and we took advantage of one the good ‘Menu del Dia’ offers – basically a set menu with starter, soup, main and a glass of wine for about £4 each. Great value as Chile isn’t a particularly cheap country by any standards. Suitably filled with pasta we headed back to the bar for a pre-match beer. Click here to read more…


Over the Hills to Santiago

D: We’d had a great time in Argentina, but it was time to move on to Chile, and our next destination; Santiago. This involved a 6 hour journey (supposedly) across the Andes mountain range, via the route known as Paso Internacional Los Libertadores. We soon left the vineyards of Mendoza behind and we climbed gently into the mountains, passing a huge man made lake behind the Potrerillos dam and the isolated village of Uspallata as we got higher and higher. Click here to read more…