Chile

The Towers Lookout Point, Torres del Paine

I got soaked to the bone and sunburnt on this trip.

Chile is a land of extremes. It was summer, winter, spring and autumn and depending on where we were, sometimes all in the same day.  It’s also incredibly remote.  Santiago itself is a long flight, and if you are going down to Patagonia make sure you give yourself ample amounts of travel time.  That being said, it is the most unusual and beautiful in terms of landscapes and has vibrant cities as well.

My route

This trip to Chile is a trip to top and all trips. It’s a short two weeks but according to this map I’ll be traveling around 20,000 miles.

Oh god….The thing is, you can’t get to the southern tip of South America without dedicating a fair amount of time and money to the airline industry. Not only that, but Easter Island is really remote! I thought at first it was a few hours off the coast. But no, it’s a six-hour flight from Santiago. It’s as far from the mainland and as Portland is from Hawaii. However, I had to ask myself, exactly when am I’m going to have a convenient trip to Easter Island? I better just bite the bullet and go.

Valpariso, Chile

After a long flight, the trip started out with a sunny day in Valpariso on the coast.  Valpariso is the home of one of my favorite poets Pablo Neruda and also a city of incredible street art.  It’s an easy day trip from Santiago and you can even end the day at the wineries in Casablanca.  I recommend Casas del Bosque.  They’ve got wine, good food and a place to lay in the sun and enjoy it all.

We then headed down to Puerto Natales to start the W Trek.  Hiking in Patagonia is very unique.  The landscape and the climate were different from anything I had experienced so far.  We did the W Trek which was a good option because of the variety of mountains we got to see.  If you’d like a full trip report, it’s linked here.

The trek was incredible.  I’d do it tent camping as well but staying in refugios was an experience in itself.  I’m used to traveling on such a shoestring budget that hot showers and good food every night are spoiling me.  Still, it was great.  And when you don’t have a lot of time to plan and coordinate, it’s the way to go.

Next, it was a quick day back in Santiago before taking a 6 hour flight to the middle of the Pacific for Easter Island.  This was the first really remote island I’ve been to and it was touristy but surprisingly not commercially.  There’s still a local vibe to everything and no chains or resorts so it felt much more authentic.  We spent 3 days there which is the right amount of time if you want to see things slowly and relax. One day we biked around Easter Island which I hated. The next we got smarter and went by scooter, which I wrecked shortly after this video was taken.  No regrets.

Now, the trip to top all trips is finished and all I can think is… wow.

This was really, really, really cool.

I don’t think there is much that can compare the mountains of Torres del Paine in Patagonia.

I loved the laid back past few days on Easter Island.  It was beautiful and peaceful.

I feel like I want to soak up the last drops of sun and the last of the Pisco sours before going home.

Even though this was one of more expensive excursions to date, it was one of the most inspiring as well.  Just when I think I’ve seen a little of everything, the world surprises you with another gorgeous view around the bend and another day to marvel at the beauty of it all.

Sunset over Easter Island