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Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

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Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Previously, I have heard it said that when looking for the cheapest airfare, the best approach would be to search a number of sites. Therefore, I dedicated a considerable amount of time to compare the prices of flight tickets as presented in several sites including cheapflights.com, farecomapre.com, and travelmath.com. The websites skyscanner.net and kayak.com were particularly helpful. I learned that Chile is approximately 5,444 miles from California. I also discovered that several airlines fly along this route. All connecting flights were cheaper than the non-stop ones although their duration was longer. I decided to use a direct flight to Chile since this would take me approximately 12 hours instead of connecting through other airports and take almost 24 hours traveling. Taking a non-stop flight was advantageous for me. Apart from avoiding long layovers in New York, it would help me save energy and time for my trip. To avoid being stranded at the airport, I booked my flight one week in advance. I decided to travel on Sunday despite this being one of the busiest days when air tickets were sold at higher prices.

When I arrived at the airport for my flight, I found long queues as a result of heavy passenger traffic. Luckily, the immigration officials were determined to ensure no delays. After queuing for five minutes, it was my turn to be served. My travel documents were checked and stamped. Soon afterward, I boarded my plane. The 11 hours flight was long enough to allow me to watch 10 episodes of the film The Empire Strikes Back while taking some naps in between. I also enjoyed the business class meals especially beverages and snacks that were later complemented by outstanding wines.  After 12 hours of flying, we finally landed at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport that is located in Padhuel, downtown Santiago. I passed through the immigration officials and later collected my luggage before hurrying towards the taxi ranks that I spotted just outside the International Arrivals area. Here, I a caught a cab that took me to Santiago.  I had already booked for accommodation at the Santiago Marriott Hotel that is located within the city center.

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

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Photo: Business class lunchtime meal

Photo: Evening meal that was served in the plane

Google Earth: Location of Santiago Marriott Hotel in the city of Santiago

 

 

 

 

 

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Day 1: Monday, 29th October 2018

On the first day of the tour, I woke up at 5 in the morning. I took a cold shower before heading to the Santiago Marriott’s main dining room for breakfast. Within the first 12 hours of my visit to Chile, I had already familiarized myself with Chilean long list of traditional food. On this particular day, I decided to try out pan amasado and manjar as it was indicated on the menu. Upon being served, however, I discovered that these were simply fresh bread and a milk-based delicacy respectively. The main ingredient in manjar was sweetened milk that had been cooked to thicken.

On this particular day, I was going to visit Cerro San Cristóbal, a hill that is located within Santiago and that would give me a good view of the city. I had heard a lot about this city, its beauty especially as a result of being surrounded by many hills and mountains. I also knew that the city was a great tourist destination since it gave them an opportunity to view the city from above. To get to the hill, I decided to hike. I was not easy to get lost since I had my Google Maps application with me. Moreover, there were many tourists riding or walking in the same direction as I.

The journey to the hill took approximately one hour. However, it was the nature of shoes that made the encounter difficult. Being early in the morning, the stones’ steps were slippery slowing me down whole those with study shoes climbed much faster. After 30 minutes of climbing, I got to the top. It was extremely thrilling being at its peak with a 360° of the city before me. It took time to explore various murals and statutes that are placed at different sites on the hill. In the evening, I went back to my hotel and ate Pastel de Choclo for dinner, which consisted of corn stew with meat stuffing.

 

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Photo:  Amasoo, traditionally prepared meal

Photo: Manjar

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Google Earth: San Cristobal Hill

 

 

Photo: of Santiago Marriott Hotel

 

Day 2: Tuesday, 30th October 2018:

On this particular day, I had planned to spend my time in a ski resort skiing and snowboarding. I had already read in travel journals about tourists who visit Chile specifically to hit the slopes. For breakfast, I decided to try Barros Luco, the typical Chilean breakfast food. The staff at the hotel explained to me that this is a traditional sandwich that got its name from one of the Chilean presidents. The sandwich is supposed to be the bread of any kind. It was served in small pieces and had a rich taste of cheese and beef steak.

I decided to visit Valle Nevado, the largest of the three ski resorts near Santiago. It took 90 minutes’ drive from the city via a cab to get to the resort. It was amazing to find that although the place was sunny, it still maintained dry powder snow settings due to its high altitude. I enjoyed snowboarding and skiing at high altitudes of above 3, 700 feet above sea level. The resort was well-equipped for freestyle riding. I also enjoyed the classic view of the surrounding peaks, some of which were as high as 6,000 meters. During my visits to the resort, I had the opportunity to use advanced lift system that consisted of a high-speed detachable quad. I used one of a six-person car to move to Bajo Zero Restaurant, a mid-mountain cafeteria for lunch. I learned that charquican is a steamy hot stew is prepared from dried meat and has a mixed taste of beef, carrots, and potatoes in addition to Chilean spices. I spent several hours at the restaurant since it had a great view of the surrounding snowy slopes and alpine.   In the evening I went back to my hotel, had dinner, took a shower, and later retired to my bed ready for the following day.

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

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Photo: Bajo Zero Restaurant

Photo: Lift System in Valle Nevado

 

Photo: Charquican

Google Earth: Valle Nevado

Day 3: Wednesday, 31st October 2018:

I woke up at nine in the morning feeling tired as a result of the previous day’s activities. I took amasado and manjar for breakfast. This is the same food I had eaten the first morning I spent in the city. On this particular day, I was going to walk around the city. I caught a train at the nearest metro station to the hotel where I was staying. After thirty minutes of a train ride, I got off at El Golf metro station. My desire was to have a first-hand experience of Santiago’s largest financial center. I discovered that the city had great some of the most awesome sculptures and architecture I have ever seen. There were a series of painted horses that attracted my attention and reminded of my early years when I would spend every weekend riding horses. At one point, I felt tired but luckily, Chile’s main financial hub had clean and well-painted benches. It was a pretty place for me to get some rest.

Later on, I decided to have a walk near the area around Costanera Torre, South America’s tallest building. On my way, I came across Costanera Center, a large shopping mall, as a searched for a place where I could grab a cup of coffee. Although I came across several cafés, I was particularly attracted to El Taller due to its spacious and cool settings in addition to the soothing music that was being played in the background. I noticed a group of young women and men sitting around a large dining table at one of the corners. I could tell from their physical appearance that they were from my home country. I moved towards their table and greeted them. I later learned that indeed we were from the same city but were on a two months’ vacation in Chile. As I came to learn, their names were Nadia, Laila, Lucas, Adam, Momtaz, Zishan, Dave, Sarah, Asia, and Mary.  They also informed me that the following day, they would be having a biking tour of the city and invited me to join them. Later on, I returned to my hotel. I felt so tired due to walking that I did not take any other meal. I simply took a shower and went to bed.

 

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Photo:  Amasoo, traditionally prepared meal

Photo: Manjar

Google Earth: El Golf

Google Earth: Costanera Torre

 

Day 4: Thursday, 1st November 2018:

This was going to be my last day in Santiago. The day was well planned for. My newly-found friends would pass by my hotel and pick me for a biking tour of the city. I knew I was not familiar with the city. But since they had several guides, there is no way we could get lost. I knew how to ride a bicycle. The problem was not where to find one either since Lucas had already promised to hire one extra bicycle for me. Without a doubt, this was going to be one of those few days in my life when I get involved in physical activities. I had to feed myself properly. However, I had missed last night’s dinner. Therefore, I settled on a two-course menu. After eating my favorite amasado and manjar, I decided to have congrio frito, which I could describe as a fish fry. By now I was ready for the tour of the city.

After waiting for less than 30 minutes, my friends arrived in two SUV. They had 13 bicycles for each of us. There were two additional bicycles for the two tour guides that had accompanied them. The tour was going to start at my hotel and had been precisely planned. For instance, they took the precaution of carrying helmets for everyone since we would use public roads. It was a great opportunity for me to explore the capital city of Chile. We covered more distance that it could have been possible on a walking tour.  Moreover, I had the opportunity to visit numerous local approved areas that are not common with tourist. Moreover, we visited Parque Forestal and Plaza de Armas tourist attraction sites. At some point, we felt hungry bought empanadas. This is a common Chilean street food that consists of a tasty dough prepared using beef or seafood. By the end of the day, I felt tired and exhausted. Although I had intended this to be my last day in the city, my friends convinced me to spend the following day with them and be part of a special invent that they did not tell me more about. I returned to my hotel and had pollo arvejado for supper. It was a delicious chicken preparation mixed with carrots and green peas. Later on, I retired to my bed.

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

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Photo:  Amasoo, traditionally prepared meal

Photo: Manjar

Photo: Congrio frito

Pollo Arvejado

 

Photo: Embanadas

Google Earth: Santiago City

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Day 5: Friday, 2nd November 2018:

I woke up at 9 in the morning. I felt extremely tired as a result of the strenuous bike riding activities of the previous day. However, there was nothing much to do on this particular day. After having breakfast, I took a cold shower before heading to my friends’ place. They were staying at the Renaissance Santiago Hotel, a 10 minutes’ walk from Marriott Hotel. Upon arrival, I found Lucas already at the reception waiting for me. It was then that I learned this was going to be a post-proposal party to celebrate Adam’s engagement to Nadia. The couple-to-be had decided to celebrate the moment with their friend.  Adam had proposed her soon after I had left them at El Taller two days before and Nadia accepted it. They wanted me to be there to celebrate their joy.

It was a simple party that, although not fancy, portrayed the excitement of engagement. The venue was the Renaissance Santiago Hotel. Lots of drinks were served. We also popped champagne and ate light food. The most exciting moments for me, however, were the photo-taking sessions.  I also liked the way Nadia showed off the ring and told her story about Adam. Adam had already captured Nadia’s reaction to his proposal using a ring cam and we all enjoyed watching this footage.

By now it was already 3 in the evening and I knew I did not have much time. My plan was to return to my hotel, do clearance, and catch a flight to the Northern part of Chile where I would spend the next two days. I spent the next ten minutes saying goodbye to my friends and giving them hearty hugs. We did not forget to exchange phone numbers and email addresses. By five in the evening, I was at the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Moments later, I caught a Sky Airline 120 flight that took me to El Lao Airport, near Calama city. The flight took 2 hours and five minutes. I would spend the night in one of the numerous Calama city hotels. For supper, I took pastel de choclo, a traditional pie prepared from beef, corn, and chicken, and served with boiled ages.Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

 

Work Cited

Google Earth: Renaissance Santiago Hotel

Photo: The venue of the party

Photo: Pastel de Choclo

Photo: Milcaos, a potato delicacy that we ate at the party

Photo: Mote con huesillo, a tasty drink that was served at the party

Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Google Earth: Santiago International Airport

 

Day 6: Saturday, 3rd November 2018:

I woke up early in the morning. After taking breakfast, I was ready for a one hour thirty minutes’ journey by bus that would take me from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama, a town that located in the northern part of Chile. My intention was to visit the famous Atacama Desert that I had read about many times. The moment I got to the town, I joined a group of 50 tourists mostly from Europe and Northern America tourists. We had several tour guides that would take us around the desert.

I was astonished to find that Atacama’s landscape was different from what I expected. Whereas I had expected to find flat sandy lands extending far beyond the horizon, I was surprised to find that the landscape was sensationally varied. Our tour guides took us straight to Valle de la Luna, which in English means the Moon Valley. Driving through this place felt like being on the moon. Its high accessibility meant that a lot of people visit it each day. Despite this, we enjoyed climbing over numerous ridges and dunes that dot its landscape. Moreover, it gave me a rare opportunity to hike to my heart’s content.Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Our next stop would be El Tatio geysers, situated at volcano Tatio’s base. This was one of the most spectacular sites of the tour.  I enjoyed taking a long shower in a thermal pool. It was amazing to see the tour guides prepare a nice lunch for us straight from boiling hot geysers. I found the chocolate, in particular, to be extremely tasty. We then proceeded to Piedras Rojas, which when translated in English is Red Rocks. It was amazing to see bluish water lapping against extensive formations of sandstone that would glow red in color in the sunny evening. The sight of snow-capped volcanoes at the background was captivating. As the night drew near, we headed to Tierra Atacama lodge where we would spend the night.Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

Google Earth: Atacama Desert

Google Earth: El Talio Geyser

   Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

 

Day 7: Sunday, 4rd November 2018:

This was going to be the last day of my tour. I woke up in the middle of the night because I wanted to join other tourists who were already outside stargazing. I discovered that the high altitude of the Atacama Desert and its low population density meant no light pollution, which in turn created the best conditions to gaze at the Milky Way. In the morning, we visited Salar de Tara, an expansive field of salt flats. The area had snow-white ground that made our photos appear lovely. I was also surprised to find turquoise lagoons right in the middle of the desert. Miscanti and Miniques lagoons, in particular, stood out as the most beautiful. The mirror-like lakes produced a mixture of colors gave a picture-worthy view.

Our next stop was Chacabuco Nitrate Village. This particular site made me realize that there are man-made features within the Atacama Desert that are worth visiting. Based on the information I got from the tour guide, the abandoned town was first built in 1924 following the establishment of nitrate mine a short distance away. It experienced rapid growth as it housed more workers together with their families. In the late 1930s, however, synthetic nitrate was created. This resulted in its sudden shutdown. I could identify a playground and a gazebo at the town’s center square. In the evening, we passed by Laguna Chaxa. I discovered that Laguna Chaxa is a salt lake with numerous pink flamingoes that come here to feed and also breed. It was an amazing way to end my trip by catching a glimpse of these creatures.Flight and Hotel Information to Chile

In the evening, we headed back to Tierra Atacama lodge. That was my last day of the trip. We had palta reina for dinner. This was simply a meal consisting of eggs, prawns, and tuna that had been stuffed in slices of avocado. It was served with lemon tinges. It had an invigorating flavor. Afterward, I retired to bed. The following day, I took a bus from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama. Here, I boarded a plane that took me to Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. I was ready to return home.

 

Work Cited

Google Earth: Salar de Tara

Google Earth: Chicabuco Nitrate Village

Palta Reina