Posts on Chile by Kyle the Vagabond:
Over 3000 miles long but rarely 200 miles wide, Chile is a fascinating first world nation squirreled along the southwestern coast of the continent.
Offering virtually every natural splendor you can think of, the beauty of Chile stretches from the desolate sand so the Atacaman northeast, to the deep glaciers and fjords of a little place called Patagonia. A traveler could spend months simply exploring the peaks and shorelines of the lakes district, or slip silently into the urban rush of any number of thriving Chilean metropolises. The most expensive country in South America, to properly is visit Chile is a journey of many years that must start somewhere with a single step.
Chilean Peso; Exchange Rate: $1 = 462 Pesos (May 2, 2011). For more currency info visit xe.com
When to Go:
One things for sure, and that is that it isn’t going to rain on you up north. The Atacama desert is one of the driest areas on the planet, and any time of year is virtually a good bet for weather. If intending to journey across the salt flats of Bolivia from here, May-November is best before the rains come in and turn the place to a puddle. Speaking of rain, if heading down into Patagonia the weather can be wet, windy and unpredictable virtually any time of year. About the one thing that you can predict is the temperature, which plummets to well below freezing in the winter months (May-September), with trails and roads thawing out by October-November before the mad tourist rush of the high season (December-February) kicks into full gear.
Take a night bus to save yourself a little dough. The buses are amazing and then you don’t have to pay a night’s accommodation. Also, flying into Chile as an American will cost you a hefty visa of around $140, but take a bus across the border and your visa is free.
The Vagabond’ s Personal Favorites:
1. Peer over the brim of an active volcano
along the spine of the Andes, the most popular option for volcano scaling is Volcan Villarica outside the town of Pucon. While doable in a day, crampons and ice axe are still required.
2. Soak in thermal hot springs
I recommend Los Pozones Hot Springs outside of Pucon, but the entire lake region is littered with them and they range from the uber-simple to the super trendy.
3. Ride a mountain bike around San Pedro de Atacama
One thing’s for sure: it isn’t going to rain. The best way to explore this desert landscape is on 2 wheels and the wind at your back.
4. Get off the tourist trail