We flew overnight, via Colombia, from Cuenca Ecuador to Santiago Chile on Nov 11, arriving at 6 am. Char felt like a Zombie from the Night of the Living Dead. Even a great cup of coffee was for once not welcome! Sleep was the only remedy and that had to wait until 2:00 pm checkin.
Our general plan is to spend a few days in Santiago, and then rent a car for 6-7 weeks for a drive down through the Lake District. Then we will take an organized tour of southern Patagonia, using the same tour company our friends Craig and Joan Cummings used.
We have learned a number of interesting things about Chile:
- It is a very long country, second only to Russia. Its length is equal to the distance from Alaska to the bottom of Baja California. Most of the population is concentrated in a few cities near the center of the country, and these cities have the same Latitude (South) as California (North).
- Whereas in Ecuador we found the the differences between there and home, in Chile we find more similarities. In Chile, we drove down the interstate 5 to Los Angeles, passing Santa Barbara! In Chile, people are taller, so we don’t feel like giants in comparison. Also, the styles (of clothing, houses etc.) are more “modern”.
- The indigenous culture is not as evident (as in Ecuador). So, similar to the U.S., unfortunately, the indigenous people seemed to have been pushed to the margins, so as to be almost invisibile.
- Economically, Chile is quite prosperous, and everything costs about as much as it does in California.
- People seem to be much less concerned about burglery and violence, particularly in the South of Chile. All of the fences, guards, and barbed wire melt away as we travel South.
The map below left shows our route in yellow, and the map below right shows the portion of Chile covered on our trip so far.