A tale of two cities: Santiago & Valparaiso

After 19 hours on a bus, 2 days in the Brazilian consulate, and 4 days in Santiago and 4 days in Valparaiso, it looks like I might actually get my Brazil visa (after paying  $120,000 pesos….). Brazil will be for another post, this one is about Chile! So I arrived in Santiago which is the largest city in Chile with little to no expectations (I find this to be the best way to travel) and I have been pleasantly surprised. I was forewarned by fellow travelers and friends that Santiago is only worth one day, but due to the fact I was forced to stay in the area for 7 days, I think Santiago deserves some credit. I’ve spent a lot of time traversing across the city in the metro system here (which is awesome), and really got to see the diversity of the city. So what’s would I recommend? First off, do a free walking tour, I did a “Backstreets Santiago” tour with Spicy Chile (which was free) and learned a lot about the art, history, music, and food that makes Chile so unique. Cheers to Nicholas (our tour guide) for the info and for taking me to La Piojera (roughly translated, The Fleahouse…) to give their famous “Terremoto” or Earthquake, cocktail a go. This was a recommendation from Ms. Bre Arnold back in Vegas, and I guess I will say thank you for that headache the next day! A Terremoto is made with pipeño white wine, Fernet (an herbal spirit about 45 percent alcohol), bitters and grenadine, and then topped with a scoop of pineapple ice cream. Honestly, it’s nothing to brag about flavor wise, but what the hell. Follow it up with an “Aftershock” or  Cataclismo (the smaller version), equally unimpressive taste wise, but hey I’ve had worse famous drinks. By all means you should go and have on just to say you did and carry on into the markets that surround the area. 

 

After a couple of those, you may (will) find yourself in the popular nightlife area known as Bella Vista, which is a street that is laden with bars, clubs, restaurants, shops and all other things touristic. It lies at the base of San Cristobal hill (second highest point in the city) which is topped with a Virgin Mary statue, you can hike it in about 40 mins, or just look at it while you’re drinking another Terremoto from the bars (probably cross eyed at this point). Enjoy the very active nightlife scene, eat a late night Chorilliana or empanada and stumble back to your place of residence. Wake up fully dressed (shoes and all), pull your life together and jump on a bus to Valparaiso, they leave every 15-30 mins from the two different bus terminals. 90 minutes later, the lady next to you is giving you a weird look as you mop up your drool from her shoulder, and you have arrived in Valparaiso, the street art capital of Chile. For the American readers, it’s basically like San Francisco without the suits. I spent some time exploring the art on my own, but the recommendation is to take the Valpo Street Art Tours (just need to tip), or the Wally tour. Spend the mornings huffing and puffing up the hills that the city is laid out on, and the afternoons at the beach, on a rooftop bar, or chilling in a hammock on the deck of your hostel/hotel. On that note, I stayed at Hostel Mariposas, and I would highly, highly recommend. The owner Kent is awesome and the place is amazing, check the site (although it needs to be updated) here http://hostelmariposas.blogspot.cl . Otherwise, Valparaiso is a large port city for Chile and has some delicious food (especially the ceviche and fish dishes). It is cheaper than Santiago, and much cheaper than Argentina, thankfully. Spent 3 nights hanging out here, celebrated my buddy Anton’s birthday and gathered myself for what is going to be a wild couple of weeks coming up. I am leaving for Brazil at 4 am on the 28th and visiting 3 cities in 4 days (30+ hours of bus rides) and then spending 7 days in Rio for Carnival! So look forward to videos/photos/snapchats from that craziness! 

Before I ramble on for too much longer, I was thinking about starting “30 seconds in XYZ”, so like a 30 second video for each country/city that I visit. Would you guys be interested in that? Comment below and let me know!

Off to have a Terremoto or 6. Cheers.

Stay Wild

-Joe