Chile Travel Guide
Welcome to Chile. Want to star in an “Indiana Jones” movie? You’re in luck.
Dust off your felt fedora and practice your bullwhip crack, because the Montaña Mágica Lodge looks like something straight out of a Harrison Ford flick. In fact, the only way to access this luxury hotel, which is nestled within a 300,000-acre biological reserve in the southern Andes, is by traversing a swinging rope bridge of wooden planks.
To really up the adventure ante, request that staff hide behind thickets and assail you with poison-tipped blowgun darts! (Just kidding, they don’t do that. Well, maybe if you ask nicely.)
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If you're in Santiago, Chile and need a little pick-me-up, in more ways than one, consider one of the city's Cafe Con Piernas, or, "Coffee with Legs." No, this is not some super strong coffee that gives you a marathon buzz. Instead, it's coffee served by pretty ladies wearing short dresses and skirts. Seriously short dresses and skirts. Like, expelled from Catholic school short.
True, this is not some topless coffee shop but it is pretty risqué for Chile, or any city for that matter. (Except maybe Amsterdam.) Yet despite the naughtiness, it is quite popular for business men to hold informal meetings. There are even a few chains of cafe con piernas scattered about Santiago.
We strolled by the Cafe Bombay near the Plaza de la Constitucion last summer, where ladies wear all sorts of shorty, short dresses, at least according to the Foursquare photos. (This page just might be the ultimate up skirt photo opp spot.) However, we opted to go inside a smaller, more low-key cafe nearby where the women wore tight, black, short dresses and serious looks on their face. If Suicide Girls had a cafe con piernas this would be it. (Unfortunately, we forgot the name.)
As for the coffee, it was very simple (no frappucinos here) but there was a very chill vibe inside. People weren't gabbing on their cellphones or hoarding bandwidth on their WiFi. They were actually talking, in soft voices, to each other. In between lusty glances at the waitresses, of course.
While Lastarria is still a must-visit 'nabe, we also recommend seeking out the serene scene of Barrio Italia.
Located mostly on Avenida Italia (fitting) and the parallel street of Condell in the greater Providencia district, Barrio Italia was settled in the early and mid 1900s and many of the original warehouse buildings still stand today. (According to this LAN blog, it got its name from the Teatro Italia movie theater that was built there, more so than any Italian influence.)
In recent years, the neighborhood has emerged as a new shopping and cultural district for the city, but there are no brash shops or big brand names here. Instead, you can meander through intimate storefronts (usually grouped together in one building) selling original artwork, handmade clothing and blankets, interesting jewelry, and other specialty items.
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If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.
Chile's Easter Island (also called "Rapa Nui" and "Isla de Pascua") is an incredible destination. Travelers to this place in the Pacific Ocean, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, go here because it is a dream destination. There's a great deal of planning and passion behind their itineraries, and the great majority fly in on LAN via Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti, currently the only routes serving Easter Island.
The island's climate is subtropical, most of it is a protected national park, and it's on the Southern Hemisphere's calendar of seasons (January is in summer, July is in winter). Those interested in geology, archaeology, astronomy, hiking, surfing, and general exploration will find Easter Island exhilarating. To best plan when to go, we have some suggestions:
Food Worth Flying For / Chile Travel / Patagonia Travel / Only in South America / Hotels / Punta Arenas Travel / Food Travel / → All Tags
That croissant in Paris. The char kway teow in Singapore. That cup of hot chocolate in Perugia. This is Food Worth Flying For. In this new series, Jaunted's contributors share the foods they'd gladly fly around the world for (and probably already have).
Patagonia is a bucketlist destination for sure, and staying at the 5-star Singular Hotel on Last Hope Sound is certainly elevating an already superlative experience. If ever you find yourself in this corner of the world (and you really should), step into the hotel's restaurant and order the best red meat dish we've ever eaten: sous vide Tierra del Fuego guanaco with native wheat.
What's "guanaco?" Well, it's an animal (a camelid like llamas and alpacas) that enjoys hanging out in the mountainous regions of South America. They have to be seen to be believed, and their meat eaten for the exquisite tastiness to be understood.
Homemade Pastel de Choclo
When visiting the center of Santiago, a walk through the Mercado Central or La Vega is a must for foodies looking to discover the local scene. Always chatty and full of color, these markets carry a lot of personality and plenty of opportunities to munch along the way. But if you want to discover the traditional dishes that Chileans chow down on when they go out for a casual meal, be sure to make the rounds to the local restaurants and order these favorites:
Ski Travel / Chile Travel / Portillo Travel / Valle Nevado Travel / Santiago Travel / South America Travel / Active Travel / Snowboard Travel / Snowboarding / Skiing / Heli-skiing / → All Tags
In this post, we highlight the two most recognizable for out-of-towners, Portillo and Valle Nevado. What's the difference between the two, and which is right for you? Read on to find out.
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View from the top of Toco Mountain at 18,385 feet on the border of Chile and Bolivia
Beautiful, isn't it? The Atacama offers an awe-inspiring combination of desert landscape, towering peaks, and refreshing lagoons, and travelers should spend as much time as they possibly can exploring these incredible outdoor opportunities. Just make sure you don't do it alone.
Hiking alone, or in a group that lacks someone with knowledge of the area, is never a good idea. It's a pretty basic rule of thumb when it comes to the wilderness. But it's even more true in Atacama. One wrong step, and you could find yourself missing half your leg. No, it's not the monsters from the movie Tremors. The real reason is perhaps even more peculiar: There are thousands of active landmines stashed throughout the region.
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When you visit Chile for the first time, you'll notice very quickly that while the locals are technically speaking Spanish, their dialect is 1) very fast and 2) filled with slang words. You will be understood if you speak proper Spanish, but understanding a local will be much easier if you spend some time learning their lingo. Plus, you want to sound cool, right? Below, we've provided a few words that are simple to remember to help get you started:
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Chile Travel / South America Travel / Booze Travel / Lists / Santiago Travel / Portillo Travel / → All Tags
Everyone knows that Chile makes one hell of a Pisco Sour, and last year, we told you how you can put a twist on it by adding in some of the Atacama's medicinal plant, Rica Rica. But did you know that the most common way the locals drink Pisco is in soda? When you're ready to go beyond the country's famous cocktail, here's what you should be drinking in Chile:
Starting at the edge of the Laguna Del Inca, skiers take the El Plateau chair lift up to Portillo's on-mountain restaurant, Tio Bob's. As you'll see in the photo essay below, it's one of the most scenic lunch and apres ski spots in South America, if not the world, thanks to its location amongst the jagged peaks. Next week, we'll break down Portillo and how the ski area compares to the nearby competition. For now, enjoy the dramatic views of the Andes Mountains:
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It might still be sweltering in many parts of the States, but it's wintertime here in Chile.
This week, we're getting an early start on the traditional North American ski season in Portillo, located in the Andes about two and half hours from Santiago. It's where many Olympians and celebrity skiers come to train during the "offseason." We're here to soak all that in, as well as investigate how Portillo differs from Santiago's other ski region, Valle Nevado.