Travel all over the county
Chile is a long and slender country and therefore has a lot of very different climates and geography all in one place with pretty easy access to everything. While I was there I went skiing in the Andes, exploring and sand boarding in the desert in the north, went to the beach, and climbed an active volcano in the south of Chile. If you want to go to Patagonia you should travel to Chile in the winter (their summer) otherwise it can be inaccessible. Chile is easy to get around. Most of the traveling I did was by bus. There is so much to explore in Chile I would highly recommend traveling through out the whole country if possible. Many of these places are great weekend getaways from Santiago.
Talk to people and make friends everywhere you travel
Chileans are really friendly and inclusive. That is the best way to really learn about the country. I tried to meet people in every city that I visited and stayed with a host family though out my time there. I was able to see so much more everywhere I went than if I had only participated in the tourist attractions because I met people when I traveled. They can show you the best local attractions from a cool place that has salsa dancing on Saturdays, to a local party in the dessert, or a good restaurant not in your guidebook.
I always loved having the Andes in the background of the city. I would recommend climbing Cerro Santa Lucia which gives you great views of the whole city. Or walk around the Los Dominicos village which has lots of traditional Chilean arts and crafts. There are also lots of great museums. It is a huge city and the best way to get around in the subway or walk. I very rarely too taxis. Mostly only at night when the subway was not running.
Remember the seasons are the opposite
There is really no specific time to travel to Chilean. It is just important to remember that the seasons are the opposite. But the winters are pretty mild and if you want to go skiing it is best to travel during their winter.
Post by Sarah Elkin (CLAS ’12)
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