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Escaping the northern hemisphere winter in the Santiago area?

Escaping the northern hemisphere winter in the Santiago area?

Old Nov 13th, 2019, 05:20 PM
  #21  
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Sounds like a nice itinerary, londonbug. I am sure you will enjoy your trip.

We are flying to Santiago on January 21, still a while away though, and are following the news and also in contact with Chilean friends on the ground as to get a sort of "reality check" other than relying solely on sensationalistic seeking newscasts. Based on this our plans have not changed and I am not too concerned so far, we are staying in Las Condes which is normally removed from any problem areas from what I can tell.

It seems to me that as long as one keeps away from any protests/demonstrations, things should be fine. Hope I am not too naive LOL.
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Old Nov 15th, 2019, 06:25 AM
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No, you are not naive! Three top tourist destinations (Easter Island, San Pedro de Atacama and Torres del Paine) have had 0 problem other than a peaceful march through town at the start of all the protests.

​​​​​​​Government and opposition have now signed a protocol for writing a new constitution and a plebiscite will be held to choose the form it will take. We all hope that, if not the end, this is the beginning of the end.

As usual with these situations, the media and internet will always show you the worst possible scenes. They never show you what is working but only what is broken. Aside from advising people to change their lodging from certain locations near major protests and to remain flexible about opening and closing times of things they might want to see there was little anyone could do to fight the tsunami of distorted visuals. .
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 03:20 PM
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Kanadajin - What a great recommendation you gave us for Baco! We have just arrived in Santiago and after a quiet afternoon, we ventured out and had a wonderful light and EARLY dinner. The wine and food was excellent, and we so appreciated the wonderful serving staff. Thanks so much for all your help with our trip plans. We are thrilled to finally have made it to South America.

FYI - for other travelers concerned about the current situation in Santiago - our hotel advised us to visit the downtown historic area in the morning but to be aware that crowds start to gather after noon. Other travelers in our hotel said that Friday (1/17) is supposed to be another large gathering. After being warned (by our hotel and other travel boards) about taxi ripoffs and keeping ourselves safe, I must say we feel perfectly safe, everyone has been so kind, and we are very glad that we didn't cancel all together. One confusing thing - I left a little extra for our server at Baco (though I understood that tip was included) and he came after me and handed it back and just asked that we return the next night. I thought it was okay to leave some extra? Regardless, we do indeed plan to visit them again!
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 02:27 AM
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Thank you so much for your kind words, AltTravlr ! I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed Baco as much as we did.

Regarding tipping/service, when you pay the bill the server will usually ask if you wish to add tip (con propina). The rate is 10% and upon your agreeing it will then be added. That's it, nothing else is required nor expected over and above as you found out.

We always try to avoid taxis as our experiences have almost always been unpleasant, including even an Uber incident. (being overcharged by a few dollars, no harm done in the end but it is definitely an irritant - and I speak fluent Spanish!!!)

I appreciate the update on the current situation. Friday afternoon/evening gatherings appear to be a pretty steady affair. We are arriving next week, and do plan to visit the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo downtown before it closes on Jan 26 for the February summer recess. We will then aim to go late morning/noonish.

Enjoy the continuation of your trip!
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Old Jan 18th, 2020, 05:02 AM
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The situation in Santiago, and the rest of Chile, is quiet as it is summer holiday time. There are still gatherings in Plaza Baquedano (Plaza Italia) every day but small numbers. There was a larger gathering yesterday, Friday. Basically, avoiding that area solves the problem. There is nothing around the plaza of interest and the metro station there is still closed. It looks a mess with boarded up windows and graffiti but I can't see them repairing anything as the general feeling is that it will kick off again in March when schools and universities reopen. Even then, avoiding protest areas - and there is plenty of time to see gathering crowds ad move away - is the advice. There have been no tourists experiencing problems from protestors, indeed many have been ushered away from areas by protestors themselves.

The places outside Santiago with the most disruptive protests were Puerto Montt in the centre, Concepcion which is not really a tourist destination, and Valparaiso around the port. The lodging and restaurants on the hills above the port had no problem. So this is not a general chaos.. Choose you lodging location and avoid crowds. The places which rely on tourism, local and foreign, like San Pedro, Pucon and Easter Island have seen, at most, a couple of non threatening marches but few of those.

In October there was a lot of looting, initially by people with no former criminal record and then by drug traffickers using their own vehicles to collect loot to distribute free in communities they want to control. All of them were identified by their license plates. Tip offs by neighbours dealt with most of the amateur looters. But that has not been a problem since the first month. All of this went on mainly in the southern, poorer areas of the city where the loss of a supermarket is a big deal as they have few options. Locals started stopping looters themselves or standing watch over the places they shop. I don't think this is going to come back, certainly not in any significant way.

In my area of the city there has been no problem other than lots of schoolkids going into malls occasionally and banging pots, or large groups of cyclists doing a "go slow" to make a mess of traffic.

This is my reading of what it is like on the ground now.
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Old Jan 24th, 2020, 11:44 AM
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I want to put in a word for the lakes crossing from Argentina to Chile in adjoining national parks. Our itinerary was Buenos Aires, Bariloche, lake crossing Bariloche to Puerto Varas.
We chose to spend the night right over the Chilean border in a lovely lodge. Boats and shuttle buses between the lakes, volcanoes, all so interesting. We spent a few days in Puerto Varas.
flew to Santiago, stayed at winery in the Casablanca Valley, then drove to Valaparaiso where we stayed at Casa Higueras, a fabulous hotel upon the hills. Then up to Zapallar where we spent a few nights. It reminded us of a smaller Santa Barbara. Upscale, beautiful homes. Wonderful seafood at the casual El Chiringuito. We stayed at Hotel Isla Seca.
Returned to Santiago to attend a private event. March weather was perfect.
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Old Jan 24th, 2020, 04:03 PM
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HappyTrvlr, that sounds like a great itinerary to me. If you hd added a couple of nights in the Colchagua valley it would have been ideal!
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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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Hello just wondering how everyone is on this oldie but goodie thread!!
we did not make it to Chile due to obvious reasons but have now booked again for Feb 2023.
am thinking I’ll change our original plans but cannot wait to return to LATAM.
hope you are all keeping well,
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Old Mar 16th, 2022, 06:25 AM
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So glad that you are booked again londonbug! We arrived back from our Chile/Argentina trip late February 2020. On our flight out of Buenos Aires we noticed someone wiping down the chairs in the airport - we thought it was odd... Two years+ later and we are back flying, so welcomed after a year of road tripping around the US in order to see our kids. We even bought a yeti cooler and carried two weeks of food with us so we didn't have to go into grocery stores! But since we got vaccinated we've been to Europe and the Caribbean as well as many more trips to see family.

Our SA trip ended up having many more short stays than we usually do but I had such a hard time trying to decide what to include and what to leave for "next time". I'm now VERY grateful that we saw as much as we did and, of course, hoping to return. The past two years (and past 3 weeks) have sure reinforced our resolution to not take travel - any kind of travel - for granted.
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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 12:03 AM
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Yes we have managed quite a few trips mostly Europe but also Mauritius ( it was a one and done TBH)
this year looks good unless crazy manPutin goes even more mad.
we have a safari booked for September so exciting its a first for us!!
in a strange way its made me much more appreciative of travel and how lucky weve been.
sounds like you have made the most of your opportunities!
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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 05:55 AM
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We have had a few trips as well, all domestic though, some by plane and others by driving. I am hopeful for resuming international travel later this year which I really miss, but have no actual reservations yet. (I know, first world problem when so many others are striving to survive each day, so sad)

AtlTravelr, if you have a chance I would be interested in just a few words of your general impression of Buenos Aires. I have really been hearing mixed reviews.
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Old Mar 18th, 2022, 01:30 AM
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We went to Buenas Aires in Jan 2018. We stayed near Recoletta . It was a fantastic city to visit. We had a guide for a day whose details I can find who was fabulous.he was British bit married to an Argentinian and his knowledge was great. He took us to the main sites, there is so much to see and learn. A lot of it horrendous from the time of the dictatorship.
I must say we felt very safe despite all the warnings. The food and wine was second to none.
there were fabulous restaurants near the hotel
we then did a road trip from Salta to Mendoza ( yes we like wine!!)
Salta was really interesting and Mendoza was beautiful.
wed really like to return in fact writing this has made me think why arent we going back???
we went with a company called poncho tours. Again a British expat who was excellent.
he is on instagram
we saw fantastic scenery some of the hotels were amazing all were reasonably priced especially in comparison to looking at the Chilean ones.
if you are interested I can look up more details?
sorry for butting in by the way!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2022, 03:29 AM
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We enjoyed Buenos Aires and would like to go back EXCEPT would like to go at a time other than summer. It was very hot and that made it harder to walk around for the hours and hours that it takes to explore this very large city. As londonbug says, restaurants were wonderful, we definitely felt safe, and we enjoyed the wine way too much! We did 4 different AirBnb experiences in this city and that may have contributed also to our enjoyment of the city - always nice to talk to other travelers.

Biggest surprise for us on this trip was how much we liked the little bit of Uruguay that we saw. Took the ferry from BA to Colonia and stayed the night - such a great and easy trip even for just an overnight. We continued on with a car though and drove the coast almost to Brazil. The beaches were wild and wonderful. Returned for a few days in Montevideo and then got the ferry back in time for our evening flight to the US. Highly recommend as an add on to exploring BA.
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Old Mar 19th, 2022, 08:34 AM
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Big thanks to both of you, londonbug and AtlTravlr, for your kind comments. This is helpful to me, especially in that they are favourable overall impressions. I am aware that the summer climate is apparently more humid/muggy there than in STGO (which is certainly dry and very pleasant, at least to me). Also happy to hear that you felt safe (it sometimes seem that everyone I know and his dog who went there somehow had some sort of misfortune). I am also noting your unequivocal endorsement of Uruguay, AtlTravlr. I must admit this smaller country was a little off my radar screen but your glowing comments are enticing me to look more into it.

My current thinking is that we would do a hop over trip flying in from STGO as a getaway during one of our extended sojourns there. Again, I do appreciate your views and impressions.

Saludos cordiales
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