Chile 2007

Mention Chile, and the first thing most people think about is its shape - long and skinny. Spanning 4300 km from Peru in the north to the Strait of Magellan in the south and at no point more than 180 km wide, it is all coast on one side and almost all mountain on the other. Its unique shape alone makes it an alluring destination, but in reality it's attractions include an interesting mix of nature, culture and adventure activities.

In the north is the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Further south there are lush and fertile valleys, an extensive Andean mountain range and a rainy and green Lake District. South of that, the Andean mountain peaks loom over impenetrable forests and some of the most inaccessible parts of the country. And to the very south is the barren Patagonian steppe. At the foot of the country is a jumble of fjords, glaciers and the crowning jewel, Torres del Paine, a national park with spectacular granite pillars.

Our plan was rather ambitious - to sample something from all these regions in the course of just three weeks. And cap it all with the classic "W" Trek, a 4-day hike inside the Torres del Paine national park that allows you to explore the heart of the Chilean Patagonia.

From Santiago, the capital, we made a trip north and south using a combination of buses, ferries and local flights. The red line on the map traces our travels through the country.

Itinerary (Nov. 10 - Dec. 1 2007)

Nov. 10 Saturday Arrive in Santiago, Santiago Centro
Nov. 11 Sunday San Pedro de Atacama, Valle de la Muerte, Valle de la Luna
Nov. 12 Monday Salar de Atacama, Altiplano Lakes
Nov. 13 Tuesday El Tatio, Pueblos Andinos
Nov. 14 Wednesday Fly to Santiago, Santiago sightseeing, Bella Vista, La Chascona, San Cristobal
Nov. 15 Thursday Bus (via Ruta 5) to Pucon, Cabalgatas
Nov. 16 Friday Sanctuario Cani (Pucon)
Nov. 17 Saturday Bus to Puerto Varas, Frutillar
Nov. 18 Sunday Lago Todos los Santos, Puella
Nov. 19-22 Monday - Thursday Depart Puerto Montt , Navimag Ferry, Arrive in Puerto Natales
Nov. 23-26 Friday - Monday "W" trek - Torres del Paine National Park
Nov. 27 Tuesday Bus to Puerto Natales
Nov. 28 Wednesday Bus to Punta Arenas, Seno Otway
Nov. 29 Tuesday Fly Punta Arenas to Santiago, Bus to Valparaiso
Nov. 30 Tuesday Valparaiso
Dec. 1 Tuesday Bus to Santiago, Return from Santiago


What to do next?

Putting this website together was quite a bewildering experience with content pulling us in different directions. It is understandable if you are not sure what to do next. For starters, you can click on these links to be taken to the respective web pages. Finally, you can view the entire photo album by clicking on the icon in the last row.
Atacama  Click to view Atacama page
Torres del Paine   Click to view Torres del Paine (W trek) page
Valparaiso  Click to view Valparaiso page
Chile Photo Album (for all other locations click here)

Google Map with Markers of places visited on this trip

NOTE: Because of the large number of waypoints and tracks, Google Maps has divided this map into multiple pages. You have to scroll the left window and navigate through all the pages.

 
View Larger Map

Google Earth file

Click here for Google Earth KML file of the trip.
Malini Kaushik & R. Venkatesh