Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Last year, I visited Chile for the first time. Before my visit, I did not know much about this country except Santiago and San Pedro De Atacama nor did I research anything. However, once I arrived there, I found Chile offered far more than I expected. It has the narrowest and longest strip of land in the world with the Andes mountain range in the east and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean in the west, with lakes and volcanos and lush forests in between, and such diverse geography creating a country with bustling metropolis, tranquil villages, scenic landscapes, and diverse cultures all at once.

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I ended up spending three months in Chile and it was one of the most exciting journeys I have had. My travels there are filled with wonderful moments and surprises, and even the rain, cold, and wind will not stop me from exploring. Here, I share with you the reasons why I love Chile. I hope my experience inspires you to take the plunge and visit this beautiful South American country, and have a memorable experience of your own.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Diversity

When I traveled in Colombia and Peru, I was amazed by the culture and geographic diversity. However, Chile has taken this diversity to another level. It is unbelievable that the world’s narrowest and longest country can have so many different ecosystems, landscapes, and cultures in different regions.

I have traveled overland from Arica to Puerto Williams, and that is from the northernmost part of Chile to the southernmost city. I saw the ocean and the large desert span in the north, bustling metropolitans and the Andes in Santiago. Then not far away from the capital city, as the terrain is flat and surrounded by the sea, you can reach area with vineyards.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Santiago – the capital city of Chile

Then when I flew to Easter Island, the mysterious background of moais, vast land, and the ocean gave the perfect natural environment for an outdoor adventure. In Northern Patagonia, I was constantly walking alongside the temperate forests, bay area, and flora and fauna while the central and the south has windswept mountains, deep fjords, transparent-colored blue lakes, and hanging glaciers. Chile’s natural beauty is a masterpiece of the earth’s creator and it will steal your heart.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Easter Island, Chile

I climbed a path and from the top looked up-stream towards Chile. I could see the river, glinting and sliding through the bone-white cliffs with strips of emerald cultivation either side. Away from the cliffs was the desert. There was no sound but the wind, whirring through thorns and whistling through dead grass, and no other sign of life but a hawk, and a black beetle easing over white stones.”  ― Bruce Chatwin, in Patagonia 

All the wines

Chile’s wine is arguably the best wine in the world, and the quality is on par with Bordeaux in France. The 2,700-mile coastline, the Andes, the cool ocean breeze, and year-around sunshine promises rich resources to produce wine with both quality and variety. There, you can take a winery tour in the vineyard near Santiago or visit a supermarket to get a bottle of Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah for a low price.

Cost of travel in Chile and how to keep your travel expense low

Shopping for wine in the supermarket in Arica, Chile

Delicious Seafood

Seafood is my favorite dish and I could find an abundance of seafood everywhere in Chile. Additionally, seafood meals can be ordered from Menu Del Dia, where you have soup, a seafood plate, and bread from $3,000 to $8,000 CLP. Owning to the proximity to the sea, fisherman frequently go out on boats to catch fish, crabs, and mussels and sell them to the market and the restaurants. In the south and Arica, I can just walk to the seafood market, which is 20 minutes from where I stayed, and get different types of freshly-caught fish, squid, and huge mussels for a cheap price.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Eating seafood lunch in Arica, Chile.

Friendly and nice people

 People in Chile are friendly and interesting. They are shy and take time to open up but once they know you are friendly and good in nature, they will welcome you into a part of their circle. They will make you laugh, ask about your travels, tell you stories, and even take you out on a trip and invite you to their homes. Locals there are not salesy or want to take advantage of you, they just genuinely want to help you and wish you are happy and have a great time in their country. I am so blessed to have crossed paths with so many wonderful people there and it made my trip a memorable one.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Patagonia

If you love nature and the outdoors, Patagonia is your paradise.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

The vista there is really out of this world.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Classic Santiago

I love walking on the streets of Santiago, where the old Spanish colonial architecture, modern structure, Latin-American flair, and vibrant city life come together all at once, and it is well reflected in the economic potential of Chile.

In the hustling metropolitans, there are parks and hills that you can walk by and relax. People in Santiago have respect for law and order; they line up for everything and the cars yield to pedestrians. If you are a foodie, Santiago is your place as it has a variety of food scenes and you can even find some good food from your own country.  My favorite places to eat ethnic cuisine are on Merced Street and Mojitas Street where you can find Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and French restaurants and lots of cool coffee shops.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

Eating Thai curry for dinner in Santiago de Chile

If you are interested in exploring Santiago’s history and culture, you can join a free walking tour available daily starting from Plaza De Armas.

Endless Adventure

There you have the opportunity to raft in the world’s widest rapids in Futaleufú, view the moon-like landscapes in San Pedro De Atacama, walk on the glaciers in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, surf the waves in Arica, and hike in Concepcion and Patagonia. There is always something for everyone, which makes Chile a wonderful destination for adventure seekers.

Eight Reasons Why I Love Chile

View of Muelle De Las Almas after a 45-minute hike

Relax and laid back lifestyle

When I was in Chile, I got to realize how tense my life was back in North America. I was always on the go, under lots of stress to get things done on time, work, and study, and did not have enough time of my own. In Chile, family time is highly valued. People get together with their friends and family, hang out and share meals, celebrate holidays and birthdays, and help each other out in critical times.

People in Chile are relaxed and chill, and they are not in any rush to meet deadlines. In this case, you will find yourself in a situation where the trip is delayed, people do not have a sense of time and so forth, and this had initially troubled me. It taught me the most important aspects of life and how to enjoy the moment. There is no need to get stressed out and what needs to be done will eventually get done.

I wish my experience there will inspire you to take your time and visit this country, and you will not regret it. And remember Chile is an expensive place to visit, and if you want to keep your budget low, check out this post on how much it costs to travel in Chile and budget-travel tips.

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South America travel inspiration: 8 reasons why I love Chile

 

Julie Cao
 

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and has made her way to Toronto Canada. In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people and the place.

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