If I was a tourist, the would go in Chile to Santiago first of course, cause from there you can go wherever you want inside the country. Santiago is not that cheap, but you can buy cheap stuff in plenty artisan markets, specially downtown. If you wanna eat cheap in Santiago, and in CHile in general, go to a typical chilean food restorant, but be careful to go to a fancy-looking one or to a very..folk one; I guess that’s common-sense. Santiago is beautiful (though most people that live here don’t get that); if you get time go tour around downtown; Lastarria, Cerro Santa Lucia and the goverment’s buildings are gorgeous.
Anyways, the best thing about Chile, for me, is the south. You can start in Chillan, which is like 5 hours from Santiago (bus tickets can be really cheap, just look around in the terminals), and later to Pucon. Pucon is a tourist town, and can be expensive f you’re not careful, but it totally worth it! The city is in shores of a big lake and in the bottom of a volcano (if it’s season yet you can go skiing) and almost all houses are made of wood…I love it. Pucon is also the center of adventure and eco sports, and there are plenty of guides there; I have done some stuff there (canopy, paintball) and you can get cheap prices, but is also cool to go by yourself to explore the woods if you get the chance (I’ve done that too).
The north of Chile is great too. You can easily go to Peru first (Macchu Picchu, Arequipa are incredible!) and then hitch-hike to Chile. The Atacama desert is crazy! San Pedro de Atacama is AWESOME too, though is kind of expensive (at least for chileans, cause prices are made for tourists).
Uhm..I don’t know what else to say. Oh yeah, Buenos Aires is amazing too, and Argentina is cheaper than Chile =P
South America rocks, you’ll love it. I love to live here, btw. People are so kind, everywhere you go, and you can find help anywhere…is not really dangerous either, you have to be careful nevertheless, just as anywhere in the world :P. Food is awesome and cheap too.
I hope this helps you, have a great trip =D
Juliana Jups asks,
It’s kindda difficult to tip you, since Chile is so long. Maybe if you tell me where are you planning to go?
In advance, I recommend you to go south, is just amazing.
Juliana Jups asks,
OK, San Pedro de Atacama is awesome too, I loved it, and it’s always full of tourist so is really fun. Kindda expensive though, but there’s good food. The Salar de Atacama is beautiful, I hope you’re lucky enough too see the flamingos flying (I saw them!!). I do not have too many tips cause I went there just last year in a school trip…so I couldn’t wander around; but the trip worth it, everything is breathtaking. Oh yeah, go to the museums in San Pedro and Arica, they’re good.
The south is AMAZING! Pucon is my favourite place to go on summers, though is crowded in February, luckily you’ll skip that. There’s lots of things to do!, canopy, hikking, even paintball; the lake and the volcano are beautiful (I don’t recommend you Pucon’s main beach, is disgusting, you better find a more private one, there’s tons in the way to Villarica). The city is really beautiful cause they planned to build it in wood with a German style..oh yeah, food is good too, be shure to try German cakes and pastries.
I haven’t go to Chiloe (in fact is in my 43 places I wanna go), but I know is incredible since most people I know have seen it, so you’ll have a great time there.
Osorno…my cousins lived there so I went there like 10 times or more…the city it self is not very appealing, kindda boring in fact, but the sorroundings are sooo gorgeous, the Volcan Osorno is one of the most beautiful of the south, and during this time of everything is green and nice. Near Osorno there are various hot springs like Puyehue Resort (you can go for a day), or the Lake Ranco (for me the greater one in the south). So if you want to go to Osorno I recommend you to trip around the city. There are great German restorants in there too.
I haven’t go to Puerto Montt either, so I can’t tell you anything about it :P
You can pass to Argentina from Osorno, in bus through the Cardenal Samoré way, or also in bus from Puerto Varas through the Parque Puyehue pass, or from Puerto Varas to Bariloche in a boat, the so called “Cruce de Lagos” http://www.visitchile.cl/crucedelagos.htm
Oh yeah, some tips…Chile is really safe, but be careful nevertheless, since “gringos” are sometimes appealing (if you’re in touristic places I don’t think you’ll have problems though). Things are way cheaper than in the States, but have common sense; is better to buy things were chileans buy things. Some flee markets are really cool, Santiago has some good ones, and San Pedro too (but is expensier there). Food is good, not as “exciting” as mexican, the best thing in Chile are the basic stuff; fruits are the best, and you’ll be lucky to come here during summer! Try rare ones like chirimoyas or lucumas, and in the south berries are good. I really recommend you German pastries in Pucon and Osorno!
I hope this helps! You’ll love Chile :D have a GREAT trip.
Spring, with no doubts. Summer is too hot, from north to the center. In the south of the country it rains no matter what station (of course it doesn’t rain a lot in spring-summer, but is not as hot as in the north), but you won’t have problems. September and October are the best months, and in september you have the independece day too!
thanks for the restorants tips! We have italians roots, I’m sure we’ll love those places :) Thanks again!
We’re “old”; my parents are in their mid 40s, I’m 18, and my siblings are 17 and 13.
I red about Newbury St (and I know that Urban Outfitters-which I love-is there); we’ll go for sure. Thanks for the Quincy Market tip, it sounds awesome.
We’ll staying near Cambridge, so we’ll probably go to Harvard too, thanks =)
Thanks for the cash tip too, that’s useful!
I red about that in one Lonely Planet, but I wasn’t sure what were them…now I’ll beg my family to go see the flowers! Thanks :)
We checked all the T system, even to go to Salem, of course we’ll use it (that’s the best way to move here in Santiago too…)
OMG, that restorant sounds awesome, we may go, thanks!
Chinatowns are always cool, at least NY’s was fun…I don’t know if we’ll have time, but thanks anyway for the tip!
Yep, he’ll do that. He runs at least one marathon every year (he ran the Washington Marathon in 2006, he went three times to NY, and to Toronto, Chicago, several half Iron Man in Chile, etc..), so he knows it all about them. We even checked the course in Google Earth! Thanks anyway
I was wondering about Harvard’s museums, so thanks for the tip ;)
Karen Johanson asks,
I’m chilean and I live in Santiago..
About galleries and stuff, if you don’t have that much time, then don’t go. Nowadays there’s none worthy show in any museum here…Museums in Santiago aren’t that good. But downtown near the Museo de bellas artes, is really pretty; cerro Santa Lucia, Lastarria ST. and the Forestal Park are nice. Though if it’s raining don’t go haha.
Nightclubbing can be risky in some neighborhoods like Bellavista or Suecia, but there are some really good and hip ones around. It depends in your age though, I’m 19 so I don’t know where adults go, but I can tell you that there are some great bars and discos in Santiago; just ask.
Pucon is incredible, I love that city. There are some good bars too there, but the best things there are the lake and all the outdoor sports spots there. I recommend going to one of the springs that are near Pucon :)
Since you’re coming during the winter vacations, I don’t think the subway will be as crowed as is it the rest of the year; it is a great way of moving through the city, is modern, clean and fast. Taxis are a good option too though they’re more expensive of course.
Between cities buses are the best option; TurBus goes from Santiago to everywhere in the country and there are some buses that are super-comfortable (the best way of traveling south is in nightime, because distants are long). Air is a good option too; I know that you can go from Santiago to Pucon by plane, in LanChile (which rocks), but obviously going by bus is way cheaper than on plane.