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Trip Report Two weeks in Chile

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Short trip report: in Chile Dec. 23 to Jan. 6th. Loved, loved, loved the country and highly recommend it as a travel destination. Incredibly diverse and there is much there to interest EVERYONE. Started in San Pedro de Atacama; stayed at Tierra de Atacama and strongly recommend it; it's "all inclusive" your excursions too. Only thing extra to pay for is spa services. Wonderful, helpful staff. They promote a feeling of community which is very nice. We tried to balance R&R with excursions. The museum in San Pedro no longer has mummies, BYW. They were returned to the indigenous people in 2007. Flew Lan Chile from Santiago to Calama. Bags they let us carryon in Santiago they would NOT let us carryon from Calama?

Next: Santiago. Really liked the city. Mild climate. Stayed at San Cristobel Towers with points; very luxurious. Did food tour with Liz Caskey organization. Great guides, young but well informed. Be sure to go to La Vega, central market if you have an interest in food. Also, be sure to try merken, the Chilean spice. Try chirimoya (custard apple). When dining out, we found portion sizes to be HUGE so keep that in mind when ordering. Need to experience "coffee with legs" (well covered by Anthony Bourdain). Typical Chilean lunch at Galindo in Bellavista area; should try pastel de choclo. Enjoyed touring Pablo Naruda's house in Bellavista.

Fancy dinner at Astrid y Gaston (my husband is a foodie). Excellent; great service, too but expensive.

Toured wineries in San Antonio Valley: Matetic and Casa Marin. Lunch at Casa del Bosque in Casablanca valley. Very nice.

Next went to Valparaiso; very interesting city. Also visited Vina del Mar, which is much like Miami. Stayed at Casa Higueras; lovely boutique hotel. We recommend it. Had dinner at Pasta e Vino, which we found to be overrated. Loved touring Pablo Naruda's house here.

Flew to Temuco and then stayed a Villarica Park Lake Hotel. Lovely property but it is BETWEEN Pucon and Villarica so if you don't have a car, it's a $14 cab ride each way. Wouldn't recommend eating dinner there every night. Also, they don't seem to have easy access to boats, kayaks, etc. if you want to go out on the lake. Did have a nice trip to hot springs (Termas Geometricas) and another fabulous white water rafting excursion (with Politur). Road horses on Huitquenco Fundo; the lunch that was included was our favorite meal in Chile! Especially the sopapillas with pebre.

Back to Santiago and then a wine tour of Cochalgua Valley: Vina Casa Silva, Neyen, fabulous lunch at Viu Manent (our second favorite meal). This tour was also with Liz Caskey.

If you have questions I could answer, I'll try to keep checking the post. But GO TO CHILE!!!

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