Chile was voted as one of the must visit places in 2018 by Lonely Planet. My most favourite countries have always been New Zealand (NZ) and Norway, as I have loved every bit of those countries. So, if Chile was voted above NZ and Norway, then Chile had to live up to its status. My friend and I were visiting Chile for my Christmas break in 2017 and I had very huge expectations from the country.
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First day in Santiago, my friend and I took a taxi from Santiago international airport to downtown, and unfortunately, we were conned 😕. At the end of the taxi trip, we were charged USD 65 for 18 kilometres by the driver stating it was on the meter. My friend had traveled the same distance and route previous day and he had paid only USD 30. I was disappointed and I was taken aback.
Tip: The taxi from Santiago International Airport to Santiago downtown costs 13300 Chilean Pesos.
For the next two days, we had more problems. Despite informing our banks respectively, my friend’s and my travel cards had stopped working for some reason. All the cash that we had taken from the money exchange were all spent as we had to pay for our accommodation in cash. And we had no money left. This was very stressful, and we had a very tough time.
I had landed in Santiago over the weekend on a Saturday, everything, literally every single store in the downtown area was closed. We had no food. Fortunately, I was carrying a pack of noodles to survive for the day. I was again disappointed. We had so many challenges and such difficult time for the first two days in Santiago.
Why do I love Chile?
But in spite of all these challenges, I now love Chile, and here are the reasons why:
- Things changed from the third day. We went on a glacier hike of 16 kilometers in El Morado national park. The hike was spectacular with such beautiful landscapes. My guide Gonzalis was very nice and friendly. He was knowledgeable and was very passionate about his work. We were very well taken care of. The disappointment caused by the first two days was reduced and forgotten a bit.
- On the fourth day, we visited the colourful city of Valparaíso. The city was extremely vibrant and beautiful. And as I am a big fan of street art, Valparaíso was the place to be. It was spectacular. The disappointment that I had towards Chile changed into liking. The ice cream at Valparaíso helped as well.
- On the fifth day, we hiked up to the volcano. The hike had amazing views of the mountains, really powerful huge mountains.
- During these hikes, I saw not one but two condors, Chile’s National bird.
- The two guides during our hikes were amazing. They were very friendly and again were passionate about their jobs.
- Two little birds interacted with me during my hike and as an animal/ bird lover, this was very special for me. I had started to love Chile because of this.
- On the sixth day was the highlight, we visited the Inca lagoon. Oh my God! It was stupendous, simply mind blowing.
Few more reasons include why I love Chile
- Chileans love their dogs. There are so many stray dogs all around the city but none of them were skinny and undernourished, they were all very well fed and again this was a huge reason why my fondness grew more.
- The food in Chile was delicious and beautiful. I had some amazing grilled fresh salmons. They were delicious and tasty.
- Pisco, the super special drink of Chile, is mind blowing. I loved it!
- Lastly but not the least, the Chilean wines. They are fresh and super delicious. Carmanere, which was thought extinct from the world, was discovered only here in Chile and now exists only in Chile.
I highly suggest Chile to be on top of your bucket list and it is a country for any kind of traveler. It has so much to offer and I do hope to visit the country again to spend more and fall in love with it all over again.
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