Finally having left Argentina for good, I arrived in Púcon inmidst the Chilenean lake district. and checked into my hostel French Andes – a very nice and new one with actually the best hostel beds I’ve ever slept in. Then I discovered that Jonathan who we had met a couple of weeks before in Uruguay, was in Púcon at the same time. Thus, we went to Cani National Park together the next day – it was a nice but pretty hard hike through woods and bamboo forests up to the top. Nevertheless, we were rewarded with a great view over five lakes and three volcanoes.
On the way back, we met Pedro – a Chilenean staying in his holiday house nearby in Huerquehue National Park. He invited us for the next day, put a pizza on the BBQ-grill and took out the kayaks for the lake. What a great and relaxed time we had all together! 🙂
We also decided to do the volcano tour on our own instead of with a guide. Unfortunately, we had to turn around soon since the wind brought the gases in our direction and we didn’t have equipment like gasmasks etc. Nevertheless, it was a great hike with awesome views! Afterwards, we took a stroll in the town of Villarrica, chilled at the beach in Púcon, and had a drink before I took the night bus to Santiago.
Having arrived in Santiago, I was welcomed with a free breakfast in Boutique Hostal Merced 88 (very clean and great breakfast but a little sterile and the staff is not very helpful) where I immediately got to know Lars from Switzerland, Ethan from England, and Daniel from Mexico to spend time with. So we went shopping for outdoor gear and did some sightseeing in the city before I hiked up the San Cristobal hill, got lost and ended up in the mall again… That night, we had dinner and drinks on the rooftop – lots of fun, glad I got to know you guys! 🙂
The next morning, Lars and I took the bus to Viña del Mar at the coast North of Santiago. There, we got lost looking for Hospedaje Casa Recreo but after having given them a call, they picked us up and we spent the evening at the sand dunes Concon where we had dinner in awe of this amazing view. Afterwards, we headed to the fan party happening because of the International Song Festival that was going on in Viña del Mar – the greatest and oldest in South America! And that night, the Backstreet Boys were in town taking many fans back to their teenage years… 😉
After having slept in, we went to Valparaíso just a couple of minutes away by bus. And what a great hostel we stayed at here! Check out Hostal Las Latas – lovely staff, great deco, good breakfast, amazing views from 3 terraces, and even free laundry! And what a unique city with all those hills, funiculars, and street art! Really worth a visit and a stroll through the streets – and that’s what Lars, Daniel and me did. At night, we hung out at the hostel and the next day, I went back to Santiago in order to take my plane to Brazil where carnival had already started…
Having arrived back in Chile after 4 months, my fellow traveler Débora from Portugal and I had to get used to the higher prices here again. These are at least double the ones we paid in the other countries. Well, at least Rey Lagarto Hostal in San Pedro de Atacama was a nice one and it also included free bikes. 🙂 Having chilled at the hostel for a bit, we went into town to check out the cute little pedestrian streets in the center.
The next morning, I took one of the bikes and left with Francois and Antonio from Switzerland for a bike tour. We went to the Moon Valley near San Pedro where one can find the most unreal landscapes ever. It really looked like on the moon there with the salty hills, the huge sand dunes, and the impressive canyons. Best expressed in pictures:
Afterwards, I just rode the bike around the area and up on a hill where I met Sol and Eric from Chile and watched the solar eclipse with them. A quite breathtaking spectacle right before a beautiful sunset took place.
At night, I took the bus to Iquique in order to see a bit more of the North Pacific region of Chile. Having arrived in Hostel Club Cavancha veeery early in the morning, Cesar was so kind to give me a room at that ungodly hour. For me, that meant sleeeeping in before exploring the city! And it indeed is a very nice one with a long promenade along the sea, numerous sea lions at the harbor, and a beautiful city center with houses in colonial style.
The next day was traveling day… I took it very relaxed and arrived in La Posada Gallo in Arica in the evening. In the morning, it was time to check out the city center with its cathedral designed by Gustav Eiffel, the harbor, and of course the hill where the last battle between Chile and Peru took place in 1880. This place is historically very important since Chile annexed Arica with its victory. And they are very proud of that as everyone can see on the hill. 🙂
In the afternoon, I crossed the border to Peru where I took a Cruz del Sure bus from Tacna to Lima (24 hours in total) in order to catch my plane to Mexico…