South America Baby!

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End May 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Happy House Hostel Santiago
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Santiago Free Tour

Flag of Chile  ,
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We left Auckland at 4pm on the 27th December and arrived in Santiago at 11am the same day after a 12 hour flight – Doctor Who moment! LAN Chile had run the flight and it was very pleasant although no veggie food so I had double salad and rolls J First stop was to find the hostel which was remarkably easy. We took the bus and jumped off at Los Heroes, then walked for about 10 minutes to Barrio Brazil, a student area with lots of bars including one with an impressive selection of Belgian beer – I tried Gulden Druuk, very dark and strong but yum!

Happy House Hostel had moved 3 blocks up the road after a 2009 earthquake so it took us a few minutes longer to find it, but the building was stunning. I've stayed in many hotels for a lot more money that weren’t even a patch on this place. Art Deco interior, beautiful pool and terrace and the staff were really great.

First stop was to crash for about 3 hours after the flight and then head out for some pizza and a few beers. We walked back past the main park in Barrio Brazil and saw a large group of young adults dancing and doing circus tricks, pretty cool. As everywhere the police were on standby just in case!

Next day after brekkie we headed for the bus terminal, a 2km walk past shops galore in one of the less pretty parts of the city. We bought tickets for Mendoza on the 30th, all in Spanish, very successful first attempt J 15 for recliner seats on an a/c coach with snacks for 6 hours, not bad at all! Then in the afternoon we took the metro to Plaza de Armas in the Centre for the free guided tour of Santiago. Our guide, Felipe, was brilliant, giving us lots of political history of Santiago and Chile as a whole. He got several claps from locals too after his speeches! It was a 4 hour tour with a stop for Pisco Sour halfway through. I don’t know - 35% alcohol in the middle of the afternoon. Good job there were thirty of us or I might have got lost J We finished in Bellavista were we and a lovely American couple, Robert and Deborah joined us for more Pisco Sour and a really lovely veggie sandwich. They were returning from an Antarctica trip – wow! We then walked home, about 45 mins but well worth it, lovely and cool and lots of people around. We stopped for another beer in Plaza de Armas on the way. Chilean people are so lovely to street dogs, they feed them and pet them. All are discernible breeds and many do have homes but just go out on the town for the evening. My kind of place!

Next day we crashed, exhausted by the huge walk but we did have drinks with another American couple, Jenny and Nick who were on holiday in Argentina and Chile. We had a very nice evening and then went out late for food and Belgian beer.

Next day, an early rise to get to the Terminal de Alameda to catch our bus. Really amazing landscape on the way up, then a one hour wait and bag scan at Customs in the Andes. The Chilean and Argentinean border booths are right next to each other, check out of one and then check into the other. The ride down out of the Andes was beautiful, faintly pink rock, with a quick view of the snow capped Acongagua. We arrived in Mendoza (wine capital of Argentina) at 3pm in boiling heat, high humidity and no breeze! Thank goodness our accommodation, Hostel Lao was only a 5 minute walk from the bus terminal!

- Liz
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Bill on

Hi James , Liz , is it cold there or just , CHILLY, sorry guys still SH-TE jokes to remind you of home, we got the cards at Xmas and happy new year to you both , Bill and Den. Looks fab.

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