Trip Start Aug 02, 2004
40Trip End Sep 25, 2005
Puerto Natales is a sea side port town lined with tin and wooden houses and serves as a launchin pad into the Torres del Paine National Park. It is quiet, cold and full of independent travellers preparing for extreme treks into the National Park.
In Chile we only spent limited time in Puerto Natales and Santiago because we added Bolivia to our already overstretched itinerary.
What we did and saw:
- Went into the Torres del Paine National Park and almost froze (an indication of how cold it was - Shaun had on a t-shirt, 2 long sleeve tops, a fleece and a rain jacket and was still struggling to stay warm)
- Got followed by a pack of homeless dogs on our way to the bus station in Puerto Natales - Leah played the unwilling pied piper.
- Visited Punta Arenas (albeit briefly) which will be our most southern point in the world to date (and damn close to Antartica)
- Hung out in the bars with the Santiago suits on a friday night
- Visited numerous Santiago sites including the Cerro Santa Lucia (a high perched cone rock giving views over the city), the Plaza de Armas (the main historical square where we tried to look at a menu of a cafe only to realise it was a film set- and the menu and cafe was entirely fake!), the fish markets (where you get bullied by the waiters to sit down - note we did not)
- Shaun hiked up the 300m+ San Cristobal in Santiago (part of the Metropolitan Park) to get some great views of the city at dusk
- We survived (only by walking out we think)the worlds weirdest Chinese restaurant in Santiago - picture an underground restaurant, no windows just mirrors, 1970s plush pile carpet, no patrons except us and a large bird cage full of budgies in the middle (we still of nightmares of their cries....)
Insights into Chile:
- Chile is more expensive than Brazil and Argentina - especially the tourist towns like Puerto Natales
- It is damn cold in the south - make sure your hostal has decent in room heating or you have heaps of clothing
Favourite things about Chile:
- Torres del Paine National Park
- Our hostal in Puerto Natales (Casa Cecilia) - a warm, cosy oasis where you smell fresh bread baking each night!!