I am only two days returned from my latest trip, a three-week stint through Chile and Costa Rica. Even though I’m drowned by a huddle of deep gray rainclouds in the winter of a New York February, my mind is still lapping up waves on the silky sand of Costa Rica’s beaches, and the rolling hills and refreshing winds of Chile are a not-so-distant memory. Seems like the right time to commit my trip to something more reliable than my head and iPhone.
I want to start by giving credit where its due: my entire trip-planning process was helped immeasurably by the wealth of resources online, including posts by other travel bloggers. I’ll specifically name two: Globetrotter Girls and Steve at back-packer.org, which were instrumental in letting me know places of interest, packing necessities, and planning details.
If you would like to read about my planning process, including hostels, buses, and logistics galore, I’ll be covering that in a later post,
Part 1: Santiago
Left: the view of mountains as I flew into Santiago; Right: the view from San Cristobal hill
I will keep my post on Santiago brief, much as my time there- the city is wonderful, the people are exceptionally hospitable, and the use of English is minimal. I would say this latter point is a reflection of most of Chile, as many of my conversations were brief due to my poor grasp of Spanish. I regret how little time I had in Santiago, as I had recommendations to check out many of the neighborhoods – Providencia, Bellavista, Lastarria – but ended up settling for climbing the San Cristobal hill and eating at the Mercado Central. While not comparable to New York prices, it was surprising to me how steep the costs were for a meal – roughly $10USD for lunch, when I had pollo a la pobre (1/4 roasted chicken, potatoes, two eggs on top)
Left: ceviche; Right: centolla (king crab)
And seafood, the specialty of Chile, was even more expensive. If I’m honest, I have to say I liked the ceviche of Peru much better – Chilean ceviche seems to have much more juice, causing the fish to be less tender, but the other seafood dishes were fantastic.
After having stuffed myself, I returned to my hostel and planned for the next day – a quick trip to Valparaíso.