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Jan 02, 2003: Viaje Chileno

WARNING: narcissism ahead

MJ and I are considering a trip to Chile. I've been pumping the wonderfully generous Javier Velasco for advice; there are certainly some great photos on his site. But the guy has a day job, so I can't lean on him too much. And Lonely Planet isn't enough. So if you've travelled to Chile (or live there), and have some travel advice, tips, or stories to share, lemme know.

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Comment: Lou (Jan 6, 2003)

By the way, if you tried posting a comment, please try again. Bloug comments were down for a day or so; working as of a few minutes ago...

Comment: Lou (Jan 6, 2003)

I should mention that we're planning on visiting for about 2.5 weeks.

We'd spend a few days in Santiago, then divide most of the rest of the time between two of these three places:
* Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia
* The island of Chiloe
* San Pedro de Atacama

We like hiking (but not backpacking), eating, sea kayaking, making new friends, and practicing our Espanol. We'd appreciate any advice on which of these destinations (or others) you'd recommend, places to stay, how to get around, people to meet, web sites to visit... you name it.

Thanks!

Comment: javier velasco (Jan 8, 2003)

One sad thing about my country that visitors must be aware of, is that we recieve lots of dangerous radiations form the sun, because of the ozone layer thinning issue.

You must be careful and use high factor sunblock, and sunglasses even if it's cloudy. Things are worst in the extreme south, Santiago is also a high risk zone.

Comment: Shannon Watson (Jan 10, 2003)

Hi, Lou! Jen (Kush) Enzer emailed me your blog--I spent a semester living in/traveling in Chile!

When would you be going? I assume you'd be going for their fall (as their summer will be over by March)? Pucon is a great area--there's a volcano you can hike, a -beautiful- tour you can take (either touristy or hiring out a local-more private) of at least 7 different waterfalls in the area, and some whitewater rafting that's good for the novice-intermediate. Chiloe is very interesting as well--I saw seals jumping in the water during the ferry ride, and some of my traveling companions saw dolphins as well. :) If you're headed south, and in the fall, be prepared to dress VERY warmly--I went in April and was pretty darned cold in the rafting! :)

A good day trip out of Santiago is Vina del Mar/Valparaiso--very pretty, not -too- touristy.

If either of you has any kind of respiratory illness/condition, be very careful in Santiago itself. The smog is beyond anything I have -ever- seen in the U.S.--I literally could not see more than a few blocks down the road, and when I would blow my nose at the end of the day it would come out black. No joke! It's worse as you get into their winter (June/July), so....

Chile is a WONDERFUL country; the guy that I dated down there always used to tell me it was what God created with what He had left over after making everything else--the hottest desert, the Andes, the ocean, all the way down to the Antarctic. :) I traveled from Chiloe all the way up to the border with Peru (and up to Machu Picchu) as a single 20-year-old female, and I didn't have ANY problems at all (other than a few pinches to the rear on public transportation :) ). Go, enjoy, and send my greetings to my second-favorite country in the world! :)

--Shannon :)

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