So many places to see!
Favorite thing: With Chile you'll get varied landscape e.g. Patagonia, Atacama deserts, the Andes in Peru, Easter Island for natives etc, the gorgeous earth (see my videos), a beatiful fifteenth century port city etc etc :-)
Do not book with Visitchile.com
Favorite thing: I wish I had read your post before booking flights with visitchile.com. I made the mistake of making flight arrangements for a trip in November and it was the worst decision I have ever made! The personnel at visitchile.com are not helpful. I booked a roundtrip flight and every couple of weeks I get an e-mail with a change to the date, destinations or times. I have e-mailed back to get these corrected and was told that I would need to purchase a new ticket. I went to their website to verify my arrangements and get a message that my reservation does not exist. I recommend you buy airline tickets from a more reputable source, such as LAN, rather than visitchile.com. They have no regard for customer service. Mariangel will not help correct a problem and she gives fake e-mail adresses for her uplines. Save yourself money and headaches and do NOT use this website.
Flora and Fauna - National Parks
Favorite thing: There are around 30 national parks, 38 national reserves and 11 natural monuments in Chile. These are protected by Sistema Nacional de Areas Silvestress Protegidas. Some of the parks include Chile's top attractions such as Torres del Paine, Laguna San Rafael and Volcan Villarrica. The purpose of the park is to protect and manage the flora and fauna and ranging from one park to another. These parks are managed by CONAF, Corporacion Nacional Forestal, and part of Chile's Ministry of Agriculture. You need to pay an entry fee to visit any of the parks and there are opportunities to stay in the national park's campsites and refugios.Related to:
- National/State Park
Flora and Fauna - Plants and Animals
Favorite thing: With Chile having a wide range of altitudes, latitudes and different climates, the country has an amazing diversity of flora.
In the North of Chile it is common to see cacti in the deserts and, on the Altiplano, there are tough grasses and bushes provided for the herds of the grazing alpaca. In between and travelling down to Santiago, there is the semi-arid landscape with sparse vegetation. In Central Chile there is a balanced range of flora accommodating the Mediterranean like climate including the endangered Chilean palm trees mainly situated in Parque Nactional La Campana, near Santiago. Travelling down South you will see a high number of tree species found there including the araucaria, known as the monkey puzzle trees, and rare beech trees including coigue where these are commonly seen in Parque Nacional Huerquehue. Further down in Patagonia, there are endangered evergreen beech trees protecting the ice fields and glaciers. The national flower is the Copihue which is grown mainly in the Chilean Lake District.
Chile has a diverse animal kingdom and wildlife. In the North's Altiplano you can see llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guancoes that are vital to the Andean communities. The animals easily adapt to roaming in high altitudes. There is a wide range of bird life varying from the Andean condor; pink flamingoes residing at the Salar de Atacama; and to the Magellanic penguins in the South.Related to:
- National/State Park
Flora and Fauna - General Impressions
Favorite thing: Being the longest country in the world with approximately 5000 km in length, Chile has an abundance of beautiful landscapes with such different contrasts in which attracts many visitors and Chileans alike to explore. The landscape, in the very North, ranges from the driest deserts in the world to the high altiplano in the Andes. Travelling slightly South down to Santiago, there is the semi-arid landscape changing from the North's barrens deserts to the country's fertile valleys. In the region there are attractive coastal resorts with amazing beaches and in the cordillera, there is the beautiful Elqui Valley. Travelling South from Santiago there are the Central Valley's orchards and vineyards while further down there is the Lake District that are renowned for its lakes, volcanoes and forests. Travelling via from Puerto Montt, via ferries and road, you come across Carretera Austrel's virgin temperate rainforests, fjords, glaciers and ice fields for 1000 km. Between the Southern city of Punta Arenas and the town of Puerto Natalas there is Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, with its dramatic peaks. At the very bottom of the country there is Tierra del Fuego with the Magellan Strait separating the mainland.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
No Es Barato
Favorite thing: Don't be fooled by the conversion rates. Great seafood restaurants. Totally impressed with the food, service, and wines. There is a ton of Chilean pesos to the dollar. Make certain that you understand what you are paying for. I walked out of a top line restaurant with a $200 dinner. Loved the seafood and wine. I sampled a few dishes though. But, $200 worth? I'd still go back.
Fondest memory: The food! Some of the Best Seafood dishes that I've ever had. Ranks up there with Tunis, Tunisia.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Chile thermal baths
Favorite thing: CHECK THIS OUT
there are really nices places and not fancy
I have been to one many times
TERMAS DEL FLACO
3 hours bus ride through a mountain road and picturesque places before you reach the baths...very natural and popular with couples and families
Experience with visitchile.com
Favorite thing: Chile is great, but don't book with visitchile.com. We did. We booked the Lago Genral Carrera tour which was supposed to integrate a flight from Chile Chico to Balmaceda as part of the return trip. This flight is also part of the promition of the lodge as can be seen in their promotional videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XksuRSFwtGQ. However, after arrival at the lodge, we were confronted with the fact that this flight is no longer operated and we got a car ride.
Furthermore, a strongly recommended option to fly t Laguna San Rafael was no longer available, either. Both flihgts were the main reasons for us to book the program.
visitchile.com personnel was not to be reached during the program, and afterweards they didn't do anything to settle the problems either.
We are outraged!Related to:
- National/State Park
- Mountain Climbing
One too many pisco sours?
Favorite thing: Feeling in need of an energy boost? If you're in Santiago or somewhere in central Chile, why not try a speciality of the region - mote con huesillo? More a meal in a glass than just a drink, it's a bit of an acquired taste and certainly looks odd in the glass the first time you see it, but Chileans drink it with great relish.
Boiled barley is placed in the bottom of the glass, then sun-dried peaches are added and the whole thing topped up with peach juice. It's quite an energy booster really, nutritious and very filling. I used to like my grandmother's lemon barley drink so thought I'd give this a try, but found it a bit too sweet for my taste.
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The Mapuche people
Favorite thing: When the Spanish Pedro de Valdivia arrived in Chile in the 1550s, he no doubt expected the native people would soon fall under the yoke of Spain. He was mistaken - the Mapuche Indians living in the south of Chile, who had only arrived in the region a hundred or so years earlier, had no intention of giving up their land. They mounted a fierce resistance, Valdivia himself was killed fighting the Mapuche. Finally a treaty was signed in 1641 that defined the Mapuche nation - the only such treaty in all South America.
Over the next two hundred years however, there were more and more incursions of Europeans into Mapuche lands. Missionaries converted the people from their own religion to Catholicism, and the sureties granted by the treaty were eroded so that by the late 1800s the time was ripe for their complete dispossession and removal to reservations. Since then the story of the Mapuche has been a bleak one. Small steps are being taken today towards land rights and restitution but life is still hard and most Mapuche live in poverty these days on the outskirts of Chile's cities - a very long way from their homelands.
For most tourists, Mapuche means silver jewellery, skilful weaving, strange masks and artifacts in museum cases. Their battle for recognition has a long way to go.
The one and only hiking - Clem Lindenmayer
Favorite thing: If you plan to do serious hiking in Patagonia, I even would warn you not even think of buying any other book than Lonely Planet's Trekking in the Patagonian Andes. All my Patagonia hikes I did with this book (have all 3 editions by now :-). The descriptions are reliable, the maps accurate, the trek hours as well (I knew at any point how much to add to his hours to meet my pace).
Once I thought to increase my Patagonia library by buying a german hiking book - even from a well known alpine publisher. What a waste of money !!! They seemed to have copied Clem on their trails, added their own fantasy here and there and I was either quicker or slower than them??.
"Trekking in the Patagonian Andes", 3rd edition, by Clem Lindenmeyer, ISBN: 186450059X, 296 pages, 36 maps, USD 19,99.
The author, Clem Lindenmeyer has hiked Patagonia for years, and each edition adds some new treasures to the known hikes.
(and no - neither Lonely Planet nor Clem Lindenmeyer pay me for this :-) )
Update (June 2006):
In a recent forum discussion I have read that LP pays additonal authors to write parts of their books.
Well, for this LP guide, I almost would bet that Clem Lindenmeyer makes sure that new tips are correct. He wrote all 3 editions, the maps are correct, the informations have not been outdated, and the whole writing speaks of his passion for this part of the world.
Fondest memory: Lonely Planet Patagonia
Update October 2007:
I just found the very sad news in Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum that Clem Lindenmayer is no longer with us. He died in May 2007, when hiking in China. His body was found on July 2007.
Here is the article from The Independent.
I cannot express how sad I am about this news. Clem Lindenmayer shaped my senses for Patagonia, he was like a guadian angel, always "with" me when I hiked there.
May he rest in peace. My thoughts are with his family.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
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Los palafitos of Chiloe
Favorite thing: Remains of Palafitos have been found even coming from Neolithic Time. Initially they must have been built for fishing. Later they were converted to summer houses and finally it's the most common sight in South East Asia, West Africa and South America. Especially in the warm climates, obviously.
They are very practical because they protect from beasts and snakes. It 's perfect in case of flood. (Although sometimes I am wondering if these flimsy legs will support the whole thing next time...! But it seems they do..) They use the shade underneath for keeping their animals and their supplies and boats. It's cool and has got great views most of the times. The next step towards the evolution of palafitos is the floating villages, as in Cambodia and Peru !
I can't do without telling the well-known story where Venezuela took its name by the surprised Americo Vespucci when he saw it for the first time. He looked at the "palafitos" built by the indigenous people , the Anas, and exclaimed "Venezuela", this suffix-zuela- meaning "small", which he meant to be "Little Venice"..
Connect with TRAVELOGUERelated to:
- Family Travel
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The blue whale..largest on Earth !
Favorite thing: Blue whales are sea mammals. Scientists believe they are the largest animals that have ever lived.
They can be up to 33 meters long and up to 190 tons heavy ! It can gulp down 14 million of krills, small fish and squid a day! Krills are little crustaceans like tiny shrimps. According to recent reports only 5,000-12,000 blue whales are left although there has been a protection law since 1966 by the International Community.
And some..useless information..: Females are larger than males. The new born whale calf can be 7 meters long!! They grow up fast... at the speed of 4 kilos an hour !!!The heart is as large as a small car and weighs about 2 tons and the diameter of the main artery is 1,80 meters !!! They live for 90 years in average.
Click on photo to learn more -->
Extra info here Blue Whale PhotoRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Whale Watching
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Pablo Neruda said...
Favorite thing: "Yo vine aqui para cantar y para que cantes conmigo.."
I came here (to life) to sing and for you to sing with me..!
"Asi cada manana de mi vida me traigo del sueno a otro sueno."
So every morning of my life I travel from one dream to another one..
"Hoy es hoy
y ayer se fue ..no hay duda..!"
Today is today
and yesterday has left..
there is no doubt !
So realistic, so optimistic and full of love for life... I like it !!!
"..Amor que puede ser eterno
Y puede ser fugaz.
Amor que quiere libertarse
para volver a amar."
* * * * * * * * * *
Love that can be eternal
and that can be fugitive
Love that wants to get free
so that it can fall in love again.
Beautiful !!! I noticed he liked using contrasts to give emphasis..
Fondest memory: From POEMA 15
Mariposa de sueño, te pareces a mi alma,
y te pareces a la palabra melancolía.
""""""""""" """"""""""""" """"""""
Me gustas cuando callas y estás como distante.
Y estás como quejándote, mariposa en arrullo.
Y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te alcanza:
déjame que me calle con el silencio tuyo.
Déjame que te hable también con tu silencio
claro como una lámpara, simple como un anillo.
Eres como la noche, callada y constelada.
Tu silencio es de estrella, tan lejano y sencillo.
* * * * * ****** * * * * * *
Butterfly of dream, you are like my soul
and you are like the word melancholia
I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.
And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.
and from POEMA 20
Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.
Porque en noches como esta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
He is great indeed.."es tan corto el amor , es tan largo el olvido...!!!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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Favorite thing: Springtime in Patagonia sees the countryside a blaze of red as the Chilean Firebush - Embothium coccineum, a form of protea - known as notro here, comes into bloom. An insignificant shrubby tree most of the year, it is the glory of the region in Spring and summer, blooming for 4 months of the year. The further south we went, the more intense the colour became until it was absolutely dazzling against the bright green fields.
Hummingbird heaven - the long tubular flowers are especially adapted to being fertilized by hummingbirds - last spring was a bumper year. Glenn, our host in Villaricca told us his hummingbird feeders were all left neglected as the trees were putting out such a mass of blooms.
The flowers posed problems for photography - in sunlight the intense red was inclined to blow out, turning the flowers an insignificant orangey-red that bore no relation to the true colour. A dull overcast afternoon was a much better opportunity - 20 shots later ....
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