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This could be you, standing at the edge of a calm salt lake in the world's driest region: Chile's Atacama Desert. Or perhaps you prefer wine tasting in the vineyards outside Santiago? Or what about glaciers a stone's throw from Antarctica, in Chilean Patagonia?
Whatever sounds best, it can be yours for free, as LAN has just opened up a massive contest to begin their "Only in South America" campaign. The idea: to show exactly what makes the entire South American continent worth occupying a spot at the top of your bucket list. Naturally they're beginning on home turf, by giving away a luxury once-in-a-lifetime adventure around Chile.
Although Argentina often gets called the most European country in South America, its next door neighbor Chile does have some strong influences left over from the colonial days. One of the most surprising is "Once," a Chilean late-in-the-day snack or small meal that almost always involves tea.
There are two different theories about how Once got its name. The first is that Once (pronounced “oan-say”) is Spanish for “eleven,” and the tradition comes out of the British habit of Elevenses. However, the Chilean version is served later in the day – most people in Chile eat their largest meal at lunchtime and then eat a lighter meal later that night.
Snow Travel / Ski Travel / Skiing / Active Travel / Santiago Travel / Valle Nevado Travel / Snowboarding / Winter Travel / → All Tags
Ahhh, Valle Nevado
It's 90 degrees in New York City and in the Midwest today, and even hotter looking south. Thus, all we can think about are sno-cones, making snow angels, and perhaps a nice hottub dip after snowboarding. Sense a theme? The hottest, muggiest days of summer have us pining for the return of snow.
Of course there are regions of the world experiencing their heaviest powder days right now. It's winter in the southern hemisphere, which means places like South America and Australia/New Zealand are airing out their snowboots for a return to the slopes. Here's three summer snow destinations to consider hitting for summer 2013:
While the US was burning up in the late summer heat last year, we were atop the Andes and snowboarding in a long-sleeve shirt. Valle Nevado boasts 24 miles of runs, the newest in ski lifts and gondolas, a heli-skiing port and ski school, and a beautiful mountaintop village with a range of resorts and more powder than the nearby ski area of Portillo.
If the vertiginous vistas don't get you, the novelty of it will. This isn't the Alps; it's the freakin' Andes and that means different food (and wine!), a welcome laid-back attitude, Spanish and English spoken versus Italian, French and German, and the sense that you've really discovered a secret skiing paradise.
Location: up in the Andes mountains, about an hour-and-a-half's drive up from Santiago. Accessible by rental car, or with weekend packages and car shares out of Santiago.
Price: a day pass for the slopes starts at 29,000 CLP ($58).
Jaunted Reporting Live / Aviation / 787 / Airplanes / New Routes / Flight Reviews / Boeing / Boeing 787 / LAN 787 / Photo Gallery / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / LATAM / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / LAN / South America Travel / LAX / Los Angeles Travel / SCL / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
It flies! It actually flies!
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a headline hog. You can read all about it and its drama (lately more than ever) throughout major media, but there's nothing better than actually stepping onboard with a ticket to ride.
After more than a year of hanging out with the 787 on the tarmac, we finally flew the darned thing as South American airline LAN celebrated the inaugural flight of their new Los Angeles-to-Santiago, Chile 10-hour non-stop with the spiffy new bird.
So, what actually happens onboard a 787 flight? Is it really so different from any other airplane? Having just stepped off of this, our first 787 flight, we can finally answer those questions: lots of stuff and yes.
To describe a 10-hour flight is akin to boring neighbors with photo slides of a water park vacation. Instead, we're breaking it down into the hourly highlights ("the short of it") and, for those rapt with pleasure for every detail, the long of it, in first-person:
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While this week hasn't exactly been all sunshine and rainbows for airlines flying their Boeing 787 Dreamliners around the world, last week sure was. On January 2, we stepped onboard aircraft CC-BBC, the gleaming new third 787 delivered to South American airline LAN for what would be a monumental inaugural flight, non-stop from Los Angeles-LAX to Santiago, Chile-SCL.
Our ticket read seat 1L. As the first row, first window on the right, that's practically a cockpit jumpseat (though our legroom and recline would be better). This would be more than a first 787 flight from LAX; it would be our own, personal first 787 flight. To say we were psyched is a gross understatement. The energy and optimism rippled through the line of waiting passengers in all classes, holding all types of tickets, as a special party for the full flight began at the gate.
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How do you say "787?" Seven-eight-seven or seven-eighty-seven? Though technically both are perfectly acceptable, the language may vary depending on the country to/from which you're flying the new airplane. And, since United is the only US operator of the airlines with Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the international names for the bird are more prevalent.
Before we set off on last week's LAN inaugural flight from LAX-SCL on their newest Dreamliner, @PointstoPointB tweeted us to ask: "how do they call the plane in Spanish onboard? Siete Ocho Siete? Siete Ochenta y Siete? El Sueñoliner?"
Well, dearest @PointstoPointB and future flyers of the LAN Dreamliner, we cleared up the issue firsthand with LAN's flight attendants. Their answer:
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
Warning: Celiacs, Atkins Dieters and carb haters look away now!
Hallulla. It's so close to "hallelujah" and coincidentally that's exactly how we feel upon finding the round, flat breads of this name in Chilean grocery stores. Chileans love bread, and there's typically no shortage of fresh baked varieties for the taking. Still our heart goes out to Hallulla (actually pronounced "ah ew yeh") for its satisfying taste and reliability.
Got a couple coins in your pocket and a rumbling stomach? Hallulla is there for you. Got a few paper bills in your wallet? Pick up some ham and cheese slices to complete what is nearly a staple in the Chilean diet.
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Hello from LAX! Today we're off to Santiago, Chile (our 2012 Destination of the Year), though this time it's not the city we're checking out; we're flying 10-ish hours each way simply for the airplane taking us there. That's rightit's the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and this is yet another huge entry on its history timeline as LAN inaugurates a fresh route with their spanking new wings.
LAN Airlines was the fourth carrier to receive a Dreamliner, but first in the Americas. Today they tack on a few more records, as this inaugural flightLAN 603 LAX - SCLis...
· The first 787 scheduled service from LAX
· LAN's first 787 route to North America
· The first 787 service overall between North and South America
· The first non-stop service from LAX to Santiago, Chile (a new route that'll operate 3x/week, Wednesday-Friday-Sunday)
Jaunted Awards 2012 / Travel Awards 2012 / The Jauntys / Chile Travel / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2012 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready for 2013, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2012 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
Every year at this time we're forced to look back on our travels to choose one place, just one place, we loved so much that it gets our highest recommendation. Last year, that honor fell to Bangkok, Thailand. For 2012, we're hopping to another continent across the world to declare Santiago, Chile as 2012's Destination of the Year.
Why? Well, there's the usual stats we could list, like how it's been ranked the safest city in South America and how it's a hotspot for creative and tech companies expanding their international offices, but it's really as simple as this: the city is freaking awesome and we enjoyed every little bit so much that we went twice in 2012 on our own, spending some weeks there to get a good feel for the place.
And any country that offers helicopter bungee jumping above a volcano...we want to go to there.
Sports Travel / Helicopters / Chile Travel / Lists / South America Travel / Wine Travel / Ski Travel / Snowboard Travel / Awesome Stuff / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
What countries do you think of when it comes to extreme sports? Costa Rica, sure. Switzerland, all right. Australia and New Zealand, definitely. But Chile? CHILE.
Though Chile may be known as the safest country in Latin America, it's not above gassing up a helicopter for some unique adrenaline-addled adventure. Here's the three that figure highest on our bucket list:
· Heli skiing & snowboarding at Valle Nevado
We'll start out easy as almost everyone's heard of heli-skiing, right? If you're experienced, taking a helicopter up to go off-piste means more than just bragging rights; it means stunning Andes views and natural snow conditions. Valle Nevado, being perched on a mountaintop as it is, offers heliski trips that lift off from less than five minutes' walk from the hotels, at a very low cost compared to what you'd pay in Aspen or the Alps.
Wine Travel / Photo Gallery / Chile Travel / Santiago Travel / Drinking Travel / South America Travel / Winery Reviews / → All Tags
In honor of #winewednesday, and partly because we're really feelin' the Chile lately, today we visit a winery within Santiago's city limits (believe it or not).
Viña Aquitania sits in the Maipo Valley, but is still very much a part of the city even if the presence of the towering Andes in the background suggests you're way out in some nearly untouched swatch of nature. It's not a humongous winery, nor is it teensy-weensy. It's just right for an hour-long visit with a tour and tasting, and even accessible via public transportation (subway to a bus).
We headed out here with Santiago Adventures for a super-brief taste of what they typically offer in full-day form; that is, entire excursions to visit multiple wineries plus activities, for the wine-serious. It is spring in Chile just now, so the vines weren't anything near their greenest, but the tours continue.
Santiago is divided up into quarters and, within them, neighborhoods (barrios). Here we're focusing on these barrios because, if you go to Santiago and ask a local to point you to one of the quarters, then you're going to be met with a quizzical look for such a broad question; it's a bit like asking how to get to lower Manhattan, when you should specify Tribeca.
· Barrio Bellavista: Where you'll find us! Bellavista is within the Providencia quarter, but sat right at the bottom of the Cerro San Cristobal mountain. From the Mapocho River, walk straight up the street Pio Nono to pass a slew of outdoor restaurants and an excellent churros truck, plus the outdoor Patio Bellavista mall-like complex.
It's a bohemian quarter thanks to the presence of the large Universidad San Sebastian and the University of Chile Law School. Pio Nono ends at the hill, with the city's Zoo and a funicular railway and hiking path, but turning off onto any street (Dardignac is especially good) will yield tons of street art.