Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Post 9: Traveling Throughout the Region (and the Semester)

Ok here comes a long post, at least in terms of number of photos. To recap, (or see my first post), I am living in Viña del Mar and studying in Valparaíso, two coastal cities in central Chile. In other words, this is where I have spent a good chunk of my days these past months:

Jealous? This was taken while I was doing homework!

But while the majority of my time, and all of my blog posts, have centered around my home base, I have also made a bunch of trips, short and long, to see new things. This post is mostly to show photos and some very brief descriptions. I have been lucky enough to go all over Chile as well as to Argentina and Peru, and seen so much in just this semester.

Keep in mind that these journeys left me with many stories and hundreds of photos and for sure this post will not do all of them justice. If you want to find out more about or plan a visit to any of these places, this post will not help, you’ll have to do your own research. I have found Lonely Planet’s website to be great and informative for travelers as well as the obvious choice Tripadvisor.

Day trips

Isla Negra:

-early September, IFSA-Butler trip, 1 1/2 hours south of home

Isla Negra is the location of Neruda’s most famous house, and the one he spent the most time in. This is the view he had, and it would inspire me to write poetry too! On this trip we also went wine tasting and visited a nearby village.

Portillo Ski Resort:

-Early October, 3 hours west of home

Portillo, located high in the Andes, was a spectacular setting for some incredible skiing. In another post, I put up this other picture of my ski trip.

Santiago:

-1 day trip and 2 one-night trips in October and November, plus various airport trips, one IFSA-Butler trip, 1 1/2 hours west of home

The changing of the guards at La Moneda, Chile’s version of The White House.

A view of part of the Santiago skyline, taken from Cerro Lucia. On the left is Cerro San Cristobal, which I climbed on a different visit.

A view of part of the Santiago skyline, taken from Cerro Lucia. On the left is Cerro San Cristobal, which I climbed on a different visit. Santiago is an enormous city, home to one third of Chile’s citizens, as well as some awesome museums, parks, and a great subway system.

 

Cerro La Campana:

-Mid December, about an hour northwest of home

I snapped this pic as we began our ascent of the mountain. It's bare rocky peak looks far away from where we were.

I snapped this pic as we began our ascent of the mountain. Its bare rocky peak looks far away from where we were.

It was a tough, 5 hour climb but getting to the top was worth it! La Campana is famous for, among other things, having a view of both the Andes and the Pacific Ocean.

It was a tough, 5 hour climb but getting to the top was worth it! La Campana is famous for having a view of both the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. From this angle though, we see the nearby town of Olmué.

 

Weekend Trips

Mendoza, Argentina:

– Early November, 6 hours (plus border crossing) west of home

We stayed right near the main plaza, where this sign hangs. Mendoza has many big and beautiful plazas, making it a very walkable city.

We stayed right near the main plaza, where this sign hangs. Mendoza has many big and beautiful plazas, making it a very walkable city.

This statue is at the top of Cerro La Gloria, one of hte largest hills in Mendoza. The people in the foreground are some of my travel buddies.

This statue is at the top of Cerro La Gloria, one of the largest hills in Mendoza. In addition to traveling around the city we also went wine tasting, hiking, and rapelling in the nearby countryside. The people in the foreground are some of my travel buddies.

La Serena:

– Mid November, 7 hours north of home, IFSA-Butler trip

La Serena is a beach town, but it lies close to the fertile grape filled Valle de Elqui. We biked through this valley, visiting museums and local artesans.

Not far from La Serena’s town center and long beach lies the fertile grape filled Valle de Elqui. We biked through this valley, visiting museums and local artesans. At night, this valley provided some unmatchable stargazing.

San Pedro de Atacama:

– Late November, 20+ hours north. I took a 2 1/2 hour flight instead.

P1050602

The first day of the trip, we biked to and floated in the Lagunas Cejar, a series of salt lakes in the middle of the Atacma desert. Stunning!

P1050672

The colors of the desert were beautiful, especially as the sun started to set here in Valle de la Luna. The atacama desert is the driest in the world, with some areas NEVER having recorded rain.

 

I hadn't slept at all when we set out at 4 am to see the Geysers Tatio. In spite of the cold and exhaustion, they were a gorgeous site.

I hadn’t slept at all when we set out at 4 am to see the Geysers Tatio. In spite of the cold and exhaustion, they were a gorgeous sight.

Longer Trips

Southern Chile:

-Mid September, during the Sept. 18th Chilean independence day festivities. We went first to Puerto Montt and Chiloé, 15 hours south, and then to Patagonia, two more hours south by plane (probably around 15 more by car). Total: 7 days.

It rained most of the time we were in Puerto Montt, but that meant we saw a lot of rainbows!

It rained most of the time we were in Puerto Montt, but that meant we saw a lot of rainbows!

P1040639

Curanto is a tipical dish on the archipelago (island chain) of Chiloé. Meat and seafood are cooked together underground making for a yummy and protein filled meal.

P1040822

Volcán Osorno as seen from Salta Petrohue. Oooooh ahhhh what a view

P1040882

Some crazy colors at Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine, Patagonia.

Guanacos, in the llama family, hanging out in front of some giant mountains in Torres del Paine.

Guanacos, in the llama family, hanging out in front of some giant mountains in Torres del Paine.

 

The sun sets over the towers (in spanish, "torres") that give the park its name.

The sun sets over the towers that give the park its name.

Peru:

– Early December. We first went to Arequipa for 3 hours flight plus 7 hours bus north.  Then we went to Cusco, 10 more hours north. From Cusco, we did a four day trek on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Total: 11 days.

While horseback riding in a valley near arequipa, we ran into a shepherd and his sheep. Can you spot my horse's ears?

While horseback riding in a valley near arequipa, we ran into a shepherd. See my horse’s ears?

The view of Cusco from a hill near the bus terminal. Cusco is a beautiful city, one whose buildings show clearly the transition from inca to spanish rule.

The view of Cusco from a hill near the bus terminal. Cusco is a beautiful city, whose buildings show clearly the transition from Inca to Spanish rule.

 

A craft fair in the nearby town of Pisac. The vendors do a good job, I wanted to buy everything!

A craft fair in the nearby town of Pisac. The vendors do a good job, I wanted to buy everything!

The ruins near Pisac are a great example of Inca terracing. Inca's made these flat stripes to farm on, but left the shapes mirroring the mountains they are hued from.

The ruins near Pisac. Incas made these terraces to farm on, following the natural form of the mountains they are hued from.

P1060078

This is guinea pig, or “cuy,” and I ate it!! My friends and I sampled cuy and alpaca steaks at a fancy restaurant in Cusco, and enjoyed both of them. As a side note, local “Cusqueña” brand beer is also delicious.

This curving staircase is part of the Inca trail.

This curving staircase is part of the original Inca trail, built about 500 years ago by the ancient empire as a way to link various villages and cities.

Finally after four rainy, challenging days of hiking, we arrived at Machu Picchu, the mysterious and gorgeous inca ruin.

Finally after four rainy, challenging days of hiking, we arrived at Machu Picchu, the mysterious and gorgeous Incan ruin. I had to take the classic tourist picture from the guard house.

 

For me the coolest thing about Machu Picchu was the juxtaposition of the ancient buildings and the extreme and gorgeous natural setting.

For me the coolest thing about Machu Picchu was the juxtaposition of the ancient buildings and the amazing natural setting.

All this traveling has opened my mind to how big the world is, and how much I like and want to explore. I have met people from all over the world and been inspired by their stories and adventures. My trips have involved a fair amount of physical activity such as hiking, swimming, horsebackriding, etc which has made me appreciate my youth and want to do even more. In short (well actually in long) traveling rocks!

Share

Leave a Reply

Are you human? *