Chile is an extremely diverse country ranging from beaches to the mountains, deserts to volcanoes, and with glaciers, valleys and snow capped peaks, the views are never ending! With so much to do and so little time, I spend my weekends exploring as much as I can! A plus to traveling through a program such as AIC, is there are often excursions and activities to participate in within the group, to explore the country or city and meet other students participating in similar work or studies.
My first venture outside of Santiago was to the beautiful coastal city of Valparaiso. About an hour and a half outside of the hustle and bustle of Santiago, Valparaiso lines the western coast of South America, known for it's street art at every turn. My friend and I visited on a holiday in May, celebrating a naval Battle of Iquique. In means of celebration, there was a parade of military personnel, caballeros on horses, and women and children dressed up in festive dresses and attire. There were bands and many street vendors throughout, and everyone lined the streets to watch. Following the parade we roamed the streets, visited some local shops, ate lunch with a beautiful view, tried some Chilean ice cream, and watch the sunset at a lookout point over the Pacific.
Santa Cruz was a trip coordinated through CIEE/AIC, in which we travel to the winery region of Chile for a vineyard tour in the horse drawn carriages, followed by a tour in the winery, and participated in an activity where we were able to make our own wine! On the way back from the vineyard, we stopped for lunch and tried some Chilean cuisine.
Cajon de Maipo was a couple hour venture outside of the city to the Andes, trekking through the freshly fallen snow to the volcanic hot springs in the mountains.
I just recently came back from a long weekend down south in the Antarctic region of Chile exploring Patagonia. Flying into Punta Arenas, I explored the town and headed to Puerto Natales for our next stay. Traveling into Torres del Paine each day, we roamed the winding dirt roads through the National Park exploring the mountains, wildlife, waterfalls, lakes and lagoons, and endless horizon of natural beauty.
Staying with the city itself, I've visited the various sites at Santa Lucia Hill, museums such as Museo Nacional de Bella Artes and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, hilltop views of Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Manquehue, and the green of the city in parks such as Parque Forestal and Parque Araucano.
UP NEXT: Off to explore the small town of Curacaví just north of Santiago to visit a chocolate factory and craft brewery with CIEE. I hope to travel to northern Chile as well and experience the life of Easter Island and touch the sands of the Atacama Desert