After Argentina, we spent five days in Chile before flying up to Peru. To get there we took an 8-hour bus over the Andes, slowly climbing up the range and plummeting back down the western side. The ride was full of breath-taking scenery and included a more literally breath-taking trip down La Caracol, perhaps the most frightening-looking strip of highway I’ve ever seen:
That’s no guard rails, no shoulders, sheer-sided highway, as seen from the second story of a bus. Whew.
In Chile, we spent three nights in Valparaíso, a beautiful but somewhat rough-edged seaside town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town itself is famous for its cultural atmosphere – music, art, and poetry – as well as for its major port and its beautiful beaches. After Valpo we spent two nights in Santiago, Chile’s capital and main metropolitan center. Santiago was far more bohemian than we expected, especially because of the neighborhood we stayed in, and overall we were pleasantly surprised with how much we liked it despite it being such a large, bustling city.