A Travellerspoint blog

Santiago, Chile for a few more days, then Homeward Bound

The end of our 5 month trip!

sunny 28 °C

Hola guys!

Hope you are all well. The time has finally arrived for us to head home!! After 5 months on the road in South America, we're outta here and back to the sunny shores of Sydney!

Over the past week we have visited a couple of smaller cities just outside Santiago, Valpariso and Vina Del Mar. The are both situated on the coastline, and about 9km apart. We stayed in Valpariso, but walked the 9km along the beach front, and through the fishing area to Vina del Mar for the day. Not a lot to see in either places, but nice place to relax and chill out for a few days. The weather has been great, lovely cool sea breezes, sun shining, glorious days, Im even starting to get some of my tan back!

In Santiago it has been the same, nice and warm. We caught up with another Aussie couple that we met in Ecuador a few days ago for drinks, then we met the following day and went up to Cerro Santa Lucia, gondolas take you above the city skyline to a lookout, pools, and the virgin mary statue.
In the afternoon we had a nice relaxing picnic in one of the parks.

Well Im off to start packing the bags now, Hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas, Cant wait to catch up with everyone at home. Keep in touch!

Kristy and Adam
P.s Photos of Chile will be online soon!!

Posted by Kristo 18:07 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Argentine side of Lakes district back to Chile again :)

Baraloche to San Martin (ARG) & Valdivia to Chillan (CHI)

sunny 27 °C

Hola Guys!

Hope you are all well!! Well we`ve done some seriously bus travelling since I last wrote....We travelled from RAINY Baraloche to RAINY San Martin on the Argentine side of the lakes district, then back across to the Chilean border again, and onto a little township called Valdivia for a few days then another little town called Chillan. We couldn`t do a thing on the Argentine side of the lakes district, We experienced rain for about 2 weeks straight! Guess we can`t get too annoyed though, as its the only time we`ve had bad weather in the last 5 months! :)

Valdivia was a fun little town, we visited some old forts, and their fish markets in the centre of town, there is a small market on the waterfront lined with loads of really overgrown huge sea lions and fisherman selling their best catch. The seafood is very cheap, so we couldn`t resist a cheeky seafood lunch :)
We also went out to the Kunstmann Ceveceria (Brewery) for a look. Of course I didn`t try any beer, Adam had a sample or two.

In Chillan the weather is devine, back to the high 20`s. We might have to rip out the thongs and t-shirts and get some tanning oil and try and get our tans back before we fly home!!
We met some Chilean people in Baraloche from this little township, so we met with one of them yesterday and she took us on a mini tour of Chillan showing us the local sites, the local market, churches and plaza`s. We were treated to a Chilean BBQ last night with her family which was a really nice experience although we never ate dinner till midnight!!

Anyhow we`re heading to our last two stops after this. Valparisio and Santiago, then we have our flight home.

Can`t wait to see all you fellow Aussies!!!
Keep in touch
Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 09:09 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Chile lakes district to Argentina lakes district

Puerto Octay & Orsono to Baraloche

all seasons in one day 8 °C

Hola guys!

Hope you`re all well! Well not much has changed over here...we`ve just been relaxing in the lakes district. We travelled from Puerto Varas to Puerto Octay to arrive in a very small township surrounded by volcano´s and lakes. We stayed in a family farm house for 2 nights which was really lovely. We couldn`t do a lot as the weather turned sour, it was raining for about a week straight throughout the lakes district, we were meant to be able to see wonderful views of the mountains and Orsono volcano from the farm house, but instead all we could see was rain and clouds!! Nevermind we`ve had good weather for about 4 1/2 months now so can`t really complain!

We just went for walks by the lake each day, and stopped in german cafes for coffee in the afternoons :) On the second night of the stay we decided to lash out and let someone else do the cooking for a change, So we opted for the home cooked meal by the Swiss and Chillean owners...We were treated to farm fresh veggie soup, salads, and oven baked salmon. It was beautiful!

The weather didn´t look like changing, so we decided to head to the border to the Argentine side of the lakes. We are now in Baraloche. Its stunning here, we´re surrounded by more snow capped mountains and lakes. We´ve decided to stay here for 5 days as its so nice, and much cheaper! We went out for big steaks again the other night for our welcome back to Argentina, they weren´t as good as Buenos Aires, but still nice! :)

We´re really just chilling out now and not up to much as we´re heading home in 19 days, not doing too many more touristy activity things, trying to save SOME money to take home, However today we did go on a gondala ride which went above the mountains and lakes, up to a revolving restaurant where we had a really nice lunch for about 3 quid each!

Keep in touch!
& Seeya Soon to all those fellow Aussies at home! :)
Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 07:53 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Puerto Montt, Chiloe and Puerto Varas

Chile

overcast 15 °C

Hola from Chile!

Hope you are all well. Since our last update we have travelled further south into more of the lakes district. We made our way from Pucon down to Puerto Montt. Puerto Montt wasnt really what we expected, it was a small city with lots of big malls and nothing really going on, it seemed to lack in the character or charm that we were expecting from the lakes district, so we just stayed 2 nights and caught up on washing and relaxing.

We then made our way to the Island of Chiloe, where we spent two nights in a township called Ancud. It was sensational. The hostel we stayed in was the best on our travels so far and was just what we were looking for. It was brand new and situatied right in front of the townships lake, every room had a lake view, and the afternoon sunset was right over the front decking, so we indulged in some Chilean vino and watched the sun go down.

Apart from walking around the small town, we went on a half day hike and penguin colony tour. The hike was through the farming area, over rolling hills and through bush land, then along the coastal area to beach lookouts, it was really beautiful, we stopped for a picnic lunch, then went onto the penguin colony. There werent as many penguins as I thought there would be, but we still got to see some, and also spotted some sea otters.

Today we travelled by bus to a small place called Puerto Varas, its also situatied on a lake and surrounded by snow capped mountains, it is full of german cake shops and has a large german influence.
We will spend a few days here before heading over to see what Argentina has to offer on their side of the lakes district, and we might just have to have one more of those juicy steaks! YUM!!

Keep in touch
Kristy and Adam

Posted by Kristo 12:08 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Santiago & Pucon

Chile

sunny 20 °C

Hola from Chile!

Over the past few weeks we have travelled from La Serena's little beach side township to the bustling capital of Chile, Santiago. We only spent one night there as its a typically big city with not a lot going on and we will spend a few days there at the end of our trip.

We jumped on another overnight bus straight away and headed for the lakes district. We stopped in the lovely snow capped mountainous village of Pucon. On our first day we relaxed and organised some tours.

We spent some time out at the national park here hiking, we got half way through our hike, then Adam was quite ill so we turned back. Yesterday we spent some time at the hot springs relaxing, and today hired mountain bikes and rode about 10kms on a bike track through the snow capped mountains, and over rivers. We stopped for a nice picnic in the sun. The weather here is fantastic.

We´re off further south tommorrow to Puerto Montt which is meant to be very similar to here, then off to an Island called Chiloe, where we are hoping to go on a tour to see the penguin colonys.

Keep in touch
Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 08:45 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

San Pedro Atacama , Antofagasta & La Serena

Chile

semi-overcast 15 °C

Hola from Chile!

Hope you`re all well!! We`re finally into our last month of travel, I can`t believe its nearly over!! Over the past few days we travelled down from San Pedro Atacama to Antofagasta and then onto La Serena.

Antofagasta was a real culture shock after coming from San Pedro Atacama and Bolivia. We read somewhere that the `South American Culture` would dissapear when arriving in Chile and it certainly has, there is no more traditional dressed women, no more artesian market stalls and no more real culture in the streets. Antofagasta is on the coastline and had a big city like feeling with large malls and supermarkets and not a real lot going on. It was strange to see proper supermarkets again after all this time we ended up spending a few hours walking around the mall!

After a day in Antofagasta we decided to move on and head down the coast to La Serena, after our rough ride through Bolivia we decided to upgrade our bus tickets to `Salon Cama` style. The bus trip was better than economy class in an aeroplane!! The seats were huge, leather and reclined 65 degrees. The staff came around and put pillows behind our heads and blankets on our laps and we managed to get about 7 hours sleep (The journey was about 12 hours)
We arrived early in the morning so we found a really nice hostel and then roamed around the city streets for a few hours.

The afternoon was horrible, we took our memory cards into a shop to get put onto disk and to cut a long story short the women operating the machine really had no idea what she was doing, and they were coming up with errors and corrupt and basically the machine wasn`t reading the photos. We took then to a second place and the photos weren`t even showing up anymore. I checked them in my camera and half of them were gone! Needless to say I was very upset as we had lost 3 countries worth of photos. We ran back to the first shop to check their computer again, and when we put the memory cards into their machine again they reappeared!! HEART FAILURE!! I feel really sorry for Adam yesterday, luckily he`s so patient :)
We decided to not put Adam`s pictures onto a disc yet but we will in the next few days then we will put some online ;)

Today we had a late breakfast then hired some bikes from the hostel and rode down along the beach front then stopped for a picnic lunch.
Tomorrow we are having a relaxing day again, then heading further south down to the countries capital Santiago.

Keep in touch
Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 11:05 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

La Paz - Uyuni

Bolivian Salt flat & Coloured Laguna Adventures

sunny 5 °C

Hola from Bolivia,

Hope you`re all well!! We have just made our way across to the Chillian border after finally getting out of La Paz and doing a salt flats tour.

We ended up meeting up with the couple we had met in Cuzco, Peru and took a private 4WD tour with them.
The bus ride from La Paz to Uyuni was an overnight bus that took about 13 hours. We made our way out of the city on paved, sealed roads, then after about an hour we were on unsealed roads for the rest of the trip! It wasn`t too bad, but for the last two hours of the trip it was very bumpy and up and down hill so I had my head in a plastic bag during that time (I think you know the rest!!) Wasn`t very pleasant but I survived!
After a few days rest in Uyuini we boarded a 4WD equipped with a cook and english speaking guide and made our way out to the salt flats & coloured lagunas.

We made our first stop at a train cemetary where all the old and rusted freight trains have been dumped after many years of travelling to and from Bolivia and Chile. We then made our way to the salt mine and saw the process of how the salt was collected and dried out, refined and packaged. We also took a quick stop to see a hotel made completely out of salt. We then drove to an area called fish island, the whole area had many giant cactus and a great view of the salt flats. We ate Llama steaks for lunch cooked in a mini gas bbq by our cook :) then we made our way to our first nights accomodation. The accomodation was very basic but not too bad considering we were in the middle of no-where!

The second day we left the salt flat area and crossed into the desert to visit various coloured lagunas (Coloured lakes) and saw many pink flamingos. We visited an area called Colorado Laguna (Red lake) The lake was awesome very very red in colour, due to the algae and minerals.
Our accomodation the second night was also very basic.

On the last day of our trip we visited an area to see some gysers and mud pools, then onto some hot springs it was blowing a gail and far too cold for me to strip off down to my bikini so I chickened out ;) We then went onto visit the Laguna Verde (Green Lake) which was green in colour due to the wind mixing up the minerals in the water.

After a long 3 days without showers we crossed the boarder into San Pedro, Chile. We are staying here for a few days then making our way down the coastal areas to the capital Santiago. We have just extended our trip by another month ;) so we are now visiting the lakes district in Chile aswell.

We will be home just in time for Christmas. So till next time stay well and keep in touch.

Kristy & Adam

P.s Will have photos online in a few days

Posted by Kristo 11:25 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Bolivia

Copacabana & La Paz

all seasons in one day 15 °C

Hola from Bolivia!
Hope you`re all well! We are now in La Paz in Bolivia. We crossed the boarder from Puno in Lima to Copacabana and spent two days there (Its a lovely beachside resort according to two English people we spoke to! Not really....) We were meant to visit some more islands from there but we decided not to as we needed a few days to unwind and relax after all this travelling we`ve been doing. Sometimes it really takes it out of you ;) Ha ha ha....
Anyhow we are now in La Paz and its a bustiling city of millions, there isn`t a lot to do here, we have spent the past few days shopping at the markets for more Christmas goodies, walking around town, doing some desperately needed washing and just chilling out really. Its very different to where we have been in South America so far, feels a little more dangerous, and there are loads of beggers on the street, you can definately see there are many people who are much poorer here.
We just found out we will now be stuck here for 3 more days...JOY....the train drivers have decided to strike and now we have to take a bus instead on Saturday! So I think we might go and check out the cinema`s and see what`s on, Apparently all the flicks are in English which is great news for us!
When we make our way out of here on Saturday we are headed for the Salt flats in Uyuni. So till then....
Take care & Keep in touch
Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 10:02 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Lake Titicaca Islands

Uros Floating Islands, Amanti & Taquile, Peru

sunny 15 °C

Hola from Lake Titicaca!
Hope you are all well. We have just returned from a two day trip to Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side.
The first Island we visited was the Uros Floating Islands. It was really interesting to see how the Islanders live, their island is made purely of floating reeds, and their housing of dried reeds. They survivie by eating fish, birds and by eating the reeds on the Island. Supposably the reeds taste like banana`s, after a quick bite I don`t really agree!!!
The islands feel really strange to walk on you feel like you are bouncing around, As usual I was getting excited and taking loads of photos and I took a few steps in the wrong direction, and put my foot right through some reeds and ended up almost knee deep in water...WOOPS :)

The next Island we visited was Amanti where we stayed overnight. Our host family was a family of 7. They provided lunch and dinner for us and took us out to the towns fiesta for the evening where we dressed up in the traditional clothing and taught us traditional dancing.
The meals were cooking in a mud hut with a fire and some cast iron pots, at first we were a bit worried that we would get sick as the food was washed and cooked in tap water, but so far, touch wood we are ok! They cooked us traditional soups, vegetables and rice.
The fiesta was fun. Adam wore a brown poncho and special beanie they had knitted for us, and I wore about 3 layers of skirts, a traditional top and a special headress. Wait till you see the pics, what a classic. It was really cold so I had about 4 layers underneath the costume, so I look like I`m about 25 stone!!

Today we visited Taquile Island, it wasn`t as interesting as the others, we hiked for about an hour to reach the top of the island where we chilled out in the town square.
Tomorrow we are heading to Copacabana in Bolivia. So till then take care and keep in touch

Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 14:48 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Survival of the Inca Trail

Machu Picchu - Peru

rain 12 °C

Hey all!
Well we have just arrived back in Cuzco from our two day Inca trail trek.
What an amazing experience! We were picked up from our hotel very early, then boarded the train for few hours. We were dropped off at the passport checkpoint, met our guide, then we were on our way. We booked a private 2 day tour so it was just the three of us which was really nice, we didn`t have to rush or worry about holding a group up if we were too slow.

As it ended up our guide told us we were very fit and going faster than the average person! At one stage he had to ask us to slow down as he needed a rest! We walked 6 kilometers, a mixture of up and down stairs, and some flat areas, through the valleys, and past Inca ruins, for this part of the trip the weather was mixed, we had our jumpers and rain coats on and off the whole time.

We finally reached our first stop off for lunch after about 4 hours of hiking. After lunch we walked a further 6 kilometers, this part of the track was a lot easier, less stairs to begin with and flatter ground, however it was raining the whole time which made the paths pretty slippery! We both nearly stacked it several times! Afer a further 3 hours we finally reached the Sun gate where we had our first glance of Machu Picchu. Tottally amazing :) The area was fairly clouded so a bit dissapointing, but as we made our way down the final decent the clouds lifted and we got some amazing photos.
In the evening we relaxed after our big day and had dinner with our guide.

The following day he took us and another smaller group for a 3 hour tour of Machu Picchu. Was really fascinating to learn about the history and how the Inca`s lived, the only downside, it was raining the whole time he was talking to us, So I donned a lovely purple plastic poncho to protect the camera goods and keep me dry! Wait till you see the pics! CLASSIC!! When the tour was finished the rain eased and we spent a few more hours taking pics and walking around. We caught a train back to Cuzco and arrived late last night.

(If anyone was wondering the normal trek for the Inca trail is 4 days 50km, we did the 2 day one because of my back, I still think it was a MAJOR achievement for me, as three years ago I couldn´t walk for 15 minutes without pain! Very proud of myself :)

We are having a relaxing day today, then making our way down to Lake Titicaca tommorrow, we will be spending a night on the Islands with a family so should be really interesting!! Keep in touch!

Kristy & Adam

Posted by Kristo 09:34 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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