Best of Uruguay/Chile - Jul 25 - Aug 4, 2018
I have done a good few trips and this one was definitely up there with the best. I travelled the length and breadth of Chile - which has plenty of the former and very little of the latter, so it meant a lot of flying north and south. I feel like I got a taste of the entire country, from Atacama to Patagonia. Could doubtless have spent longer at a few key places, but on the other hand, Chile is such a long way to come from the UK I felt I had to pack as much in as possible on this one trip. I met some lovely people, both other travellers and tour guides (especially Roderigo, tour guide to Valparaiso, Elvin, guide to Osorno and Petrohue, and Victor, guide to Chiloe island). My interactions with natives were curtailed by my regrettably poor Spanish - it was noticeable that many Chileans spoke little or no English, including airline staff and even people at Information desks, so English speakers should be aware that many of the service personnel do not have the level of English that some other countries do. This is not a criticism, and the attitude of the Chileans that visitors to Latin America should speak decent Spanish is perfectly reasonable. Having some command of the native tongue is obviously desirable, and I am sorry that mine was limited. That aside, the people were helpful and things ran smoothly - I was impressed by the efficiency of the Chilean airline Sky and the airports that I passed through; the embarkation, departures, and bag claims were some of the fastest I've experienced, which takes a lot of the hassle from flying. The scenery throughout was spectacular, notably in Atacama, Lake District and Torres del Paine. I also enjoyed a couple of days in Santiago, which is an underrated city. Some great food and drink, not least the pisco sours. All in all, a memorable trip and a country I would strongly recommend. Thank you kimkim, and Maria!