One-week trip in Chile and a few reasons why it should be visited!!!

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As I mentioned before, when my holidays started I took off to Santiago, Chile. A friend of mine lives there so I went for a visit, just a week. It’s a short time but enough to get a taste of Chile and make me want to come back for more!

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I arrived to a house full of people! My friend’s flatmate had his whole family visiting. So, in a flat supposed to be for 3 people, there were 9 Portuguese, plus one Italian, sleeping in each and every possible space.

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We started by renting a car and going on a small roadtrip up north. We went all the way up to Papudo, a beachside village with fishermen.  Next to it, there was a nice beach called Salinas de Pullalli, completely isolated and hard to find, but definitely worth looking for. It’s the perfect spot to try some seafood and ceviche (raw fish with a lemon-based sauce).

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Papudo

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After, we started driving south again, traveling along the coast, making it a great drive with a view over the sea. Zapallar was the next stop. It’s a common holiday destination for Chilean high society. Here, every house is incredibly big and modern, all spread throughout the hill, just by the sea. Just like Carmel, close to San Francisco, California –  a small town by the beach. with great houses.

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We chose Maitencillo to spend the night. It’s also a small town by the water, but this time with a long and beautiful beach. Here, the houses are on the beach, in the sand!!! Imagine a beach house of your dreams, simple but cozy… It’s there!!

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Leo’s Cabañas it’s THE place to spend a night. This guy Leo rents lovely wood houses, 2-minute walk from the beach, for 12€ a night. He owns a little empire in Maitencillo, he not only has the cabañas for tourists, but also the supermarket, the Liquor store and so on. In order to find him, we just had to look for his very ‘sophisticated’ office in the corner of the supermarket,.

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Maitencillo

Maitencillo is very good for sunsets. Just grab a couple of coronas and sit on the beach waiting for it. That was one of the best moments I had in Chile, and surely one of the best sunsets I’ve seen lately, just as good as the one in Rio de Janeiro, a few weeks ago.

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Sunset in Maitencillo

A little bit south is Valparaiso. To get there it’s necessary to pass by Viña del Mar, a city on the coast, very famous in Chile. Everyone likes to go there, but honestly I couldn’t see why, it’s just a group of high ugly buildings, and the beach does not look very clean.

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Valparaiso

Anyway, Valparaiso was great. The name means Paradise Valley, and it’s probably because the city grows from the down level, all the way up to the top of the hills.  All the houses are small and colorful, built in every square meter of the valley.

From far it may look like a Brazilian favela, however it has little to do with it. Only the very top of the hills are said to be a little more dangerous but there is no need to get so far up.

The colors are very vivid, there are houses of every possible tone, giving the city a special beauty. It makes one want to wander around the small and steep streets and get lost. Here, there’s one of Pablo Neruda’s houses, which is a good place to see a panoramic view of the city.

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Finally, we came back to Santiago. We tried a good restaurant in Barrio Italia called La Jardin. It has a cool garden for everyone to hang out, decorated with old wood stuff and weird things hanging on the ceiling.

A few things to see in Santiago are: the Museum of Bellas Artes, the Cerro San Cristobal (a high mountain where we saw the  entire city), the hectic and confuse center, and the shops in Lastarria.

Moreover, there’s another of Pablo Neruda’s houses in Bella Vista, which is also a good neighborhood to try  Typical Chilean food. We had  pastel de choclo, a sweetcorn-based dish, and churrillada, a mountain of french fries with a mix of meat, eggs and who knows whatelse on top. And of course, never forget to have some Chilean red wine to make it just perfect.

Also, there are artisan markets everywhere with cool things to buy as gifts. This week, in Barrio Italia, the MásDeco Market was opened. It happens once a year  and brings together many unknown brands selling all sorts of cool and unusual things, from kitchen utensils to headphones and paintings. It has a lot of young people, live music and bars.

Santiago has millions of things happening at the same time. On the same day and very close by, we saw a BMX bike contest and a tattoo festival going on next to it!

Santiago, chile, cerro de san cristobal

Santiago

I guess Santiago isn’t such a beautiful city, at least not has the cities we’re used to in Europe. However, it’s very alive, it never stops. I think it would be a great place to live, it has things going on all the time, the people are very nice and, on top of that, it is close to the beach!

The rest of chile, the little that I visited, was simply amazing. Plus, my friend’s pictures from her trips around Chile were enough to make me wanna come back!!!

Now I’m off to Portugal for Christmas!