A Travellerspoint blog


Cruise to Easter Island and Tahiti

Here is a short summary of our trip to Easter Island in January.
Ocean Princess Cruise Itinerary

Jan 02, 2015. Embark in Fort Lauderdale

Jan 03 At Sea
Jan 04 At Sea
Jan 05 At Sea

Jan 06 Panama Canal -Scenic Cruising 5:00AM 4:30PM

Jan 07 At Sea
Jan 08 At Sea

Jan 09 Guayaquil 9:00AM 7:00PM

Jan 10 At Sea
Jan 11 At Sea

Jan 12 Lima (Callao) 7:00AM 6:00PM
Jan 13 Pisco 7:00AM 4:00PM

Jan 14 At Sea
Jan 15 At Sea
Jan 16 At Sea
Jan 17 At Sea

Jan 18 Easter Island Tender Required 12:00PM 9:00PM

Jan 19 At Sea
Jan 20 At Sea
Jan 21 At Sea
Jan 22 At Sea
Jan 23 At Sea
Jan 24 At Sea

Jan 25 Bora Bora Tender Required 7:00AM 6:00PM
Jan 26 Moorea Tender Required 8:00AM 5:00PM
Jan 26 Tahiti (Papeete)

We spent a couple of nights in FortLauderdale before our 25 night cruise. I was a little apprehensive because it was a very small ship, just over 600 people, but in the end I preferred it to the larger ships. We made some great friends on the journey and really enjoyed this cruise. We did not have a lot of stops, and the highlights for me were the Panama Canal transit, Easter Island (the reason for the cruise) and the South Pacific. We spent 5 nights in Moorea at the end and then flew to Maui for another five nights before coming home.

Our trip to Easter Island, although the highlight of the trip, almost didn't happen. Day one of the cruise the captain informed us that we have around a 20% chance of being able to tender, because the ocean is so rough and there are so many rocks.
Here is my message from my Facebook post:

Today was the best day!!! We were so blessed to arrive at Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Only one of four ships that attempt are usually able to anchor close enough to tender passengers ashore, due to high waves, but although touch and go, we eventually got ashore, yesterday we would not have been able to go. For the past two weeks all 600 passengers have been very anxious after the captain informed us that there was a good chance it may not happen. As we got closer we were all so excited, as for most this was the main reason for the cruise. It was very slow going, and when our group finally got on the tender we all cheered and clapped.
Easter island was certainly a highlight of the travels in my life and one that I never really thought I would see. But I did, and it was all I had hoped it would be and so much more. The landscape was beautiful, much like Hawaii in many areas with gorgeous flowers and plants.
The main reason that I love to travel is to learn about the country and its history and this was certainly no exception. A truly fascinating experience and one we will never forget.

On Bora Bora we did a helmet dive and island tour as a shore excursion. I am glad that we choose Moorea to stay on as we liked it the best of the three places we stopped.

Maui was a great way to end our trip. The Humpback whales were in huge numbers, calving and teaching the young how to jump and feed. It was an awesome sight. We did go snorkelling out to Molokini crater, but it was very disappointing . I has changed a lot since we were here last.





Posted by debbep 10:45 Archived in Chile Tagged island tahiti easter bora Comments (0)


sunny 26 °C

Day 13.
John, our host, suggested we may like a drive to the coastal town of Maullin.
It was on the way to the ferry to Chiloe and on the same highway we had done twice before, but we decided to check it out. We were hoping to do some hiking in the area but the bugs have us turned off the idea unfortunately.

The first town was a typical small Chilean town and we talked to some locals and sat in the park by the lake for a short while.

We headed to the next town which was on the Pacific Ocean. The bay was dotted with many colorful fishing boats and quite picturesque.
Lunch was in order so we stopped at a small store and purchased cheese, bread and ham. There was a policeman in the store and he gave us directions to a larger beach close by to have our picnic.

We drove to the end of a road and found a wide expanse of sandy beach before us.
There were no picnic tables so we ate our lunch of sandwiches, cucumber and carrot in the car and were entranced by the many different birds that landed on the sand in front of us. Some looked like they belonged to the falcon family.

Only a few others were enjoying the beach, a couple of families with young children playing in the waves. I put my feet in the water, but as is our west coast ocean, the water was quite cold. We didn't see any indications of life on the beach other than birds. No small crabs or even kelp. Just sand and beautifully colored smooth rocks with fossils.

Tall cliffs bordered the beach and it looked like the trees on the crest would topple down at any moment. We walked to one end and found two young men in the water harvesting what we think were mussels from the rocks in the water.

I really enjoyed walking barefoot on the sand for a while, it was warm and felt great on my feet.
This evening was spent down by the lake enjoying a wonderful dinner and the view of Osorno volcano. The temperature is up to 24C today and the lake was packed with families enjoying the water.

Day 14.
We had planned to just spend our last day here hanging around town, but Theresa, our hostess, suggested heading north to the hot springs. As the morning was cloudy and drizzly we thought it might be a good idea.

We should have stuck with our original plan. It was a much longer drive than we had anticipated with the many delays due to road construction and never did get to the hot springs. The sun came out and it got very hot so the allure of the hot water was not so inviting any more.

We got as far as Entrelagos, bought some picnic food and went to the lake to have our lunch before headed back.

This evening we walked back into town and Doug had some Chilean sea bass which he said was amazing. I had some tomato soup which was really good as well.

Our last evening sitting by the lake and enjoying this lovely little town of Puerto Varas before heading back to pack our suitcases for our flight north in the morning.

Day 15.
We are going to miss this amazing breakfasts that Theresa prepares for us in the morning. Fresh plates of pineapple, mango, strawberries, banana and other fruit, eggs and toast start our day off well every day.

Today we were joined by a fellow who was a fishing guide from Montana and came to do some fishing with John. John is also a fishing guide and people come for catch and release of trout and other lake fish. It was great to talk to him and find out about his travel plans in Chile, all based around fishing.

Our drive back to the airport was uneventful, we didn't get lost which is always a bonus, and the car return was easy.

Our flight to Santiago arrived at 1:30PM and after collecting our bags we took two busses to get to the town of Valparaiso, two hours to the west.

First impression of the town. Dodgy at best. But bus stations are usually not in the best area of town.

The centre is near the port and in a flat area. All the homes are on the hills, some would say the cliffs, above the town.
We found an area for taxis and I show the cab driver my hand written name of the b and b and street name. He shook his head. Did not know it. He drove off.

A man who had a sign around his neck saying he was a taxi guy came to help. I told him where we were staying. His English was great as he had lived in Calgary for a few years.

He proceeded to tell us that the B and B was in a bad area of town, a terrible place and a longs ways off from the centre and on a very steep hill. No taxis will go there.

I said, well then how do people get there?
He said, no one stays there. It is a terrible place.

Well this is not my first rodeo and I have been at train stations and bus stations in other parts of the world where they tell you the hotel burned down etc. so they can send you to their brothers place. The reviews of this B and B were outstanding so I did not back down. Although I did wonder...

We finally found a taxi that would take us there and the home was just fine. The woman who ran it was lovely and the room, although very small, was clean and charming.

Our hostess does not speak one word of English once again. After checking in we took a map and walked down the hill into town.

First impressions of Valparaiso? Still dodgy. But colorful and lively. A port town.

We walked for a couple of hours and then stopped at a local restaurant for some dinner. It was a very bizarre place called the Mastodon. It had very strange decor but the place was packed with locals and the food was good and prices cheap.

Valparaiso used to be the busiest port in South America until they built the Panama Canal. Cruise ships start or end here for trips around the tip of South America, The Horn.


Day 16.
Vina Del Mar is the next town north so we walked down the hill and took the train (metro) for the short 20 minute or so ride. Our stop was under the ground and when we came up the stairs to the street we we so surprised to find a big modern noisy city. Somehow we envisioned a sleepy little beach resort town.

Completely unprepared for this we walked blindly for a while until we found a tourist center and got a map and some instructions of where to go. It was very hot walking to the beach but in half an hour or so we came to the waters edge and what was very obviously the tourist area.

Horses with carriages were lined up waiting to take you for a ride along the waters edge as were souvenir sellers and the many sidewalk cafes. We stopped to cool off at one of them for a cold drink and a snack and then continued on to the swimming beach area to look.

There are many lovely parks in the cities in Chile that we have been at so far, and Vina was no exception. We found a bench in the shade and just watched people for a half hour or so. Lots of young families were enjoying the playground and bike trails as well as having a picnic lunch and escaping the heat like we were.

We made our way back to the metro and arrived back to Valparaiso where we climbed the hill back to our B and B to konk out for a few hours.

Tonight we found a very small cafe with traditional Chilean food which Doug enjoyed and I had a very nice salad. More chilean grapes were purchased from a sidewalk vendor to enjoy in our room.

There are two dishes that are very popular in this area, especially with the younger people. One is called Chorrillana and is often shared. It consists of a huge plate of french fries smothered in different kinds of meats in gravy, sausages, and then all topped off with two eggs sunny side up.

The other is a hot dog with lots of avocado, tomatoes and then I thought it was topped with melted mozzarella , but it is thick with mayonnaise.

Needless to say neither of us tried either one of these.

Day 17.
We were joined by two Ozzies about our age for breakfast this morning and we had a great conversation. They are traveling for 6 months and have been to Ecuador already so it was great to get some information from them.

There is a walking tour of Valparaiso so we high tailed it down to the meeting place and arrived just before the departure time of 10AM. There were five other Canadians on this tour. Two are from Chilliwack and on our cruise tomorrow, and the other three from Calgary. They have a brother who is racing in the Dakar race, which unfortunately for us, ends here tomorrow right near the cruise ship terminal right around the time we are supposed to be there.......hmmmm. We will have to do some homework on that.

The others were American and three young girls from Uruguay whom I talked to. They did not speak much English but I was asking questions about where to go in Uruguay and got some great ideas.

The tour took 3 1/2 hours and went to places we would have never seen on our own. We both love walking tours as they consist of small groups and you get to see places that the busses cant get to.

As I mentioned Valparaiso is on a series of steep hills, so we climbed a few of them up some narrow streets. We also rode two funiculars up and then would walk down. All in all we had a really wonderful morning. Our opinion of Valparaiso has changed dramatically, and now we can see the charm of this port town.

On our way back to our B and B we stopped at a vegetarian restaurant and had lunch.
It is very hot today and by the time we climbed the hill back home we collapsed on the bed in our room and lay in front of the welcome breeze from the fan.

Our last night in Valparaiso and in Chile, except for on the cruise. The folks from Calgary told us that they ate at a restaurant that we passed on our tour and that it was fantastic.
We flagged down a cab and he dropped us at the museum at the top of the hill on the other side of town.
I thought I remembered where the restaurant was, but I was wrong. We wandered up and down the hills for about an hour and things were getting a little tense between us.
We were on the verge of giving up and voila....there it was. Complete fluke as we were no where near where we thought it was.

The patio overlooked the harbor and the furnishings and decor were beautiful. It was a very high end and expensive restaurant but we didn't care at this point. Luckily we were able to get a table without a reservation and both had the best meal we have had for a long time.

Doug had a curried shrimp and rice dish and I had a vegetarian gluten free lasagne that was the best I have ever had.

They called us a cab and we arranged with the driver to pick us up again at our hotel tomorrow to take us to the cruise ship. Hopefully it all works out okay.

I won't be posting until around the 2nd of February now as internet on the ship will be very slow and extremely expensive.

We will be able to check email and face book once a day, so would love to hear from you.
Our cruise leaves Valparaiso tomorrow night and heads south, around Cape Horn, past some glaciers and then over to the Falkland Islands. From there we continue north ending up in Buenos Aires on Feb. 01.

Thanks for coming along with us on our South American adventure.

Posted by debbep 18:04 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Patagonia, Chile

sunny 20 °C

Day 5.
We had a lazy day and did not get out until around noon. We walked back down to the Plaza de Armas and went into the Museum of National History. It was small and had a few interesting pieces in it. From there we walked across the old part of Santiago and over a bridge that crossed a fast running river the color of chocolate milk.
The area across the river is called Bario Lastarria which was a funky little place with many restaurants and shops on two main roads. Most of the buildings had amazing graffiti art paintings and made it a very interesting afternoon.

Our walk back took us through a park that is narrow and spans around 10 or 12 blocks in the middle of town. Always a well used park, it appears to be full of mostly middle class, not many affluent people here. Many families and lots of young [and old] lovers laying on the grass escaping the oppressive heat.

In the middle of the park is a huge four story fountain and it is full of children and some adults trying to beat the heat. Many fountains are around Santiago and we see people dunking their heads in the water to cool off. Dogs go into the lower fountains to drink and cool off as well.
The park in the city had a number of dog houses for the many strays.


Day 6
A change in plans meant a visit to the local airline office which was very busy and consumed a few hours this morning. The plan was to take a bus to Concepcion, a five hour ride, spend the night and then rent a car to head south. Looking at it on the map last night we figured we would be spending most of the 8 days in the car, which is not my idea of a good time.

Instead we will fly to Puerto Montt and rent a car for the time and then fly back to Santiago to head over to where our cruise leaves from.

We went for a walk back to the first restaurant for another quinoa avocado salad and then I went back to the room and Doug went off walking. He came across an old railroad station, unused for trains since the Second World War, and found them getting ready for a huge art show in two weeks. Some limes and bananas were purchased at the local market and then we went back to pack for tomorrows flight.

Day 7. The flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt showed fantastic views over the Andes mountains, many lakes and a few volcanos

Upon arrival we collected our bags, (thankfully they arrived with us) and our rental car. This was the fastest and easiest car rental of any we have done. They upgraded us from a small Chevy sprint to a mid size car which is very comfortable. The highway 5 runs from Alaska all the way here and ends at the bottom of the island we are going to.

Following the highway finds us to a port and a large blue and yellow ferry waiting for us. We are waved aboard and there is not an inch to spare as we are sandwiched between many large semis. The island will do all it's import and exporting by these ferrys which leave continuously all day. It is about the size of the Denman Island ferry and takes 40 minutes to reach the other side. The weather is much cooler here, in the low 20s and wonderful. I got out of the car to look at the ocean and thought I saw a very strange looking duck in the water beside me. Upon closer investigation I realized it was a penguin. My first penguin sighting. We also saw a couple of very large sea lions swimming beside us.

Continuing our drive south on the Pan American highway takes us through rolling hills of perfect patchwork squares of greens yellows and browns. Sheep and cattle graze on the Patagonian hillsides. We are on the island of Chiloe, pronounced Chee Low way and not the way I was saying it, Chloe, like our grand daughter's name.
It is very pastoral and peaceful and we are glad to be here.

Two hours later we arrive at our destination of Castro. Lunch was in order and we found a restaurant and the food was so so. This is the second largest town on the island with a population of around 20,000 people. It is a town that is all one way streets and we seemed to go down the wrong way a few times. No one got mad at us they just flashed their lights and waved.

We found our B and B which we had booked last night on line for three nights. It was the nicest house on the street, which is not saying much, a very middle class home with early 60s decor. We had the only room with a private bathroom and it came in at just under $100 per night. Why? We kept asking ourselves that question. Castro is very expensive and we are not sure why that is. I immediately changed our reservation to two nights instead of three which was not a problem.

It was a family home and Maria, Mom, did not speak one word of English. Her Spanish was a completely different dialect so it was very difficult to communicate. Her son came home and he spoke a small amount of English so he changed our reservation for us and answered a few questions.
Then we met a young woman, Elaina, who was working there for two weeks helping out in exchange for room and board. She was around twenty something, incredibly well travelled for her young age, and from Italy but currently living in Portugal. She said that even she had a hard time understanding their Spanish so I don't feel so bad. The island was separated from the mainland for so long that they kept a lot of their own language.

Elaina gave us a lot of information on the area and ideas of where to go on the island. Other than her we are the only guests in the home at the moment.

Dogs. There are a lot of dogs here. Most families seem to have two or three but there are still so many strays. They are all mid size nice looking dogs, docile, friendly and quiet. Driving down the side streets are like an obstacle course going around them sleeping in the road. They sure don't look like they are going to move. They must be tired after all, they spend all night marauding and barking non stop.

Day 8. Breakfast was included in our room rate and consisted of home made breads jams and nescafe coffee. I will be off coffee until we get on the cruise ship I think. Tea will substitute for the time being.

There are two tourist draws to Castro. One is the colorful row houses on stilts at the edge of the water. The other are the over 16 wooden Jesuit churches in the area painted many bright colors.

Starting off to take a picture of the homes on stilts we are reminded of Ucluelet and Bamfield homes on the waterfront. The older wooden homes of the working class, but painted in bright colors. We went for a walk on the street side and went into a gorgeous cafe to get a real cup of coffee. The cafe was wonderful but the coffee was once again a disappointment. Being summer there are many beautiful roses, hydrangeas and other flowers in bloom.

Driving south we came upon one of the churches and stopped to explore. They remind me of the little houses we built as kids in summer camp with the wooden popsicle sticks.
We only looked a three churches and not all 16. Having just done similar ones in Romania and Russia we were not interested in seeing churches all day again.

The scenery is breathtaking as we go past many rolling hills of farmland and fields.
Road construction ahead. There was a red sign, Pare, so we stopped. The young man just looked at us. We gestured "do we go?" He just stared at us.
So we went.
We looked back and realized that we just passed a long line of cars at the side of the road waiting.
Well we are committed now, keep going.
No one is yelling at us to stop, they are all just staring at us as we drive by. The road is being widened and we are driving on rough gravel beside large machines at rest and men working and resting.

After about ten minutes of driving on this one lane gravel road we see big trucks barreling towards us. Thankfully there was a place to pull to the side as they passed. We can see a woman ahead with a sign, the red side is facing us. As the last truck passes she turns the sign around and the green is facing us. We continue on. She gives us a look as we drive by. I think it was " stupid tourists" look.

After the next few check points we figured it out. There was a sign that they put up that said stop and they would disappear into a shed to get out of the sun. When we could go they came out and flipped the sign around to green.

This was the longest road construction we have ever seen. It went on for hours.

We finally came to what we think was the end and had lost our desire to go further south at this point. Looking at the map showed a different route back, but
we had to go down a short dirt road to get there , only 7 KMs.

This one lane road took us by few farms and a lot of vacant land over high hills with a large lake below. Traveling at 10KM an hour it took close to an hour to get to our destination. It was a very dicey road for sure. It didn't look like it was going to improve any time soon. I saw a woman in front of her home so went to ask if a paved road was in our future. Charades had me shaking like I was on a bumpy road and then on a paved road nice and smooth. It must have looked hilarious. She kept insisting that we needed to turn around however. No paved roads ahead. Damn

The fields are full of Gunnera, also known as Chilian Rhubarb. It is a prehistoric looking plant with huge green leaves and it can get 6 feet tall. It is everywhere here.

On the side of the road we spot a small animal. We find that it is the elusive Pudu, a small Chilian deer that is hard to see. It almost makes this detour worth while. Almost.
The road seems worse going back. Chiloe only gets 60 days a year without rain so these roads get washed out all the time. They are very steep and we were so worried we would get a flat or other car problems and be stuck out here.

But we made it. The pavement, for the short time we had it felt wonderful, and then back to the long construction road north. We knew the rules this time however.

One of Chile's National Parks was off to the left so we ventured down this long winding, but paved road past more farms with sheep cows and horses. We picked up two young people hitchhiking to the park and had a bit of a conversation as they had little English and we little Spanish. It is the summer time here and the kids are off school and out of University so you will see many backpackers and families on vacation.

One of Chile's longest beaches is beside this park and the vegetation once again changes. The trees are small and bent from the constant west coast winds, very similar to the West Coast of the island. We spent a bit of time here but it was getting late and so we headed back. It is great that it does not get dark until 10:30PM here now.
Day 9. What the B and B lacked in style and charm it more than made up for in hospitality. The family was so wonderful and caring and we felt bad thinking that it was not worth the price.

Driving south again we decided to walk the park we were at yesterday. There were some hiking trails that looked inviting.

We picked up a young man hitchhiking who was from from Argentina. He spoke English quite well and told us of places to visit when we are in Argentina.

The paths around the park are mostly boardwalk and the landscape changes again to a combination west coast moss and ferns but with some tropical plants as well. The temperature here is very similar to Vancouver Island and usually does not get much colder than 0.

After a great lunch at a roadside stop we headed back to the north to our destination for the night, Ancud. This is the town that is very near the ferry to the mainland.
I had booked the hotel the night before and it did not take long to find it. The setting was spectacular. On a bluff above the Pacific with views of small islands and rock outcroppings below.
The lovely woman at reception showed us our room. It was very similar to the one we stayed in last night, basic furnishings, very dated, but two main differences.
The large window looking out to the view made it so you didn't even look at the room. And this one only cost $63. We were thrilled to be here.

I had wanted to spend the night here to be able to do the penguin tour in the morning so we found our way into town and a travel agent to book the tour. Thank goodness for Google Translate. The young man did not speak English and I had a million questions so we would just type in our question/response on his laptop. In a half an hour we had all our questions answered and bought two tickets for 11 AM tomorrow .

On the way back we purchased some fruit, bread, cheese and ham and then sat on the front area of the hotel at a picnic table to have a small dinner and drink in the view.

We were joined by a young Chilean woman with three children for a while. She did not speak any English and I tried to communicate but she was rapid fire with her questions and I could not keep up. Her husband joined us and he spoke English so we had a wonderful conversation with them. Their young boy has Down Syndrome and was quite a handful and made me nervous sitting at the edge of the bluff.
When they left us they hugged and did the fake kiss on the cheek thing. This is very common here.
Two young men traveling from Argentina joined us next. Everyone here is so friendly and helpful.
We saw two black faced Ibis wandering the grounds. The bird life here is quite different and interesting.


Day 10. The hotel provided a small breakfast which we enjoyed and then went out to the parking lot to wait for our 'closed box' (aka van). There was another woman waiting as well and we spent the afternoon with her. She was a recently divorced 63 year old gorgeous German woman who works at a hotel in Majorca in the summer and travels in the winter.
We were the only two non Spanish people on the tour so it was great to get a few explanations from her here and there.
Our group of 10 drove south and stopped a couple of places on the way to see the wonderful views. The landscape keeps changing but it is always so beautiful.

The van drove through a small stream and then down the beach to a restaurant at the end. We were to preorder lunch before going out on the boat.

We are definitely on the west coast, Pacific Ocean. It is so familiar yet so different as well.

We put on our life jackets and then walked to the edge of the water. A cart on wheels was our chariot as a man pushed us out to the boat so we wouldn't get wet. How decadent. It is an open boat with around 18 seats.

This is the only place in the world where the Humboldt and Magellan penguins live in the same place. We cruise by three small islands that are not far from shore. Some of the younger ones still have their fluffy down. They are born in December and will leave in March. It was fun to watch them jumping into the water and splashing around.

We also saw a number of different birds, cormorants, Ibis, and some others that I could not name. A river otter also swam beside us and made his way up to the rocks on the island.
We were so lucky to have such a beautiful sunny and calm day. The beach was gorgeous. Kelp was being harvested by some men and women. Seafood is very abundant in Chile. Salmon, Chinook, and fresh water fish as well and many mussels and shrimp. We see a number of Atlantic Salmon Fish farms,( Norwegian) and in the past some sea lions broke into some of the nets and a lot of the salmon escaped. Now there is Atlantic Salmon in the ocean as well as the fish farms.

Our tour was to have us back by 2PM, but at 2:15 we were still at the beach. Chilean time. No one is worried.

Upon arrival back at the hotel we said our goodbyes and drove to the ferry. Once again we were waved on right way for the crossing back to the mainland. Our destination was Puerto Varas, about 2 hours from here and in the lakes district.

Our B and B owner gave us great instructions and we found it easily. Puerto Varas in on lake Llanquihue and a town and seems to be the centre for a lot of backpackers and hikers. There is every outdoor store you can imagine here. North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, Soloman, just to name a few. Prices are the same as at home.

Our B and B is a big home that has lovely gardens, and looks like an old character home but was built in the 50s. John is from the USA and his wife Chilean. They have three lovely children and we are the only guests. We have the entire upstairs to ourselves and the room is beautifully decorated. We are here for five nights to explore the lakes district.

We walked down to the main centre and the boardwalk on the lake. We were overwhelmed by the snowcapped volcano on the other side of the lake. It is so impressive and the reason a lot of people come here. Osorno is the most impressive but there are two others on the mountain range as well. Just stunning.
Day 11. We spent the morning walking around the town and getting a feel for the area. There are a lot of other vacationers but most of them are Chilean. Children are playing in the lake, people kayaking, canoeing sailing and windsurfing. It appears to be a very popular summer vacation spot.

The temperature is only about 16-20 C but feels so much hotter. The ozone layer is very thin here. Even with sunscreen on and only after a short while I had a sunburn.

We heard some music coming from the Plaza De Armas so headed over to escape the heat and enjoy some chilean grapes that we bought from a sidewalk vendor. A trio was playing Chilean music and they were fantastic. Various pan pipes from 12 inch to 5 feet long, the sounds were amazing. We enjoyed the music for about and hour and then bought three of their CDs and hope they work at home.

After enjoying some down time in our room we headed north to two other lake side towns. There is a very large German influence here and then next town had a lot of Bavarian homes. Many more people were swimming in the lake here, the beach was packed.

Our drive north and the scenery just seems to get better at every turn. So pastoral and peaceful with so many farms of cows horses and sheep.

Day 12. After an early breakfast John drove us down to the main square to catch our bus for our day trip to Lake Todos los Santos. We started on a large comfortable bus and the guide narrated in both English and Spanish which was great. Our first stop was a small waterfall. It was flowing over black lava rock which was different for us.

We then boarded a large 200 passenger catamaran for our two hour journey across the lake. The catamaran had seats inside which was good to escape the strong sun. We could go outside to take pictures and enjoy the fresh air from time to time. The lake is glacier fed, emerald green located at the foot of the Osorno volcano and very striking. The trip was very enjoyable and peaceful on the lake.
Outside was a bit of a challenge due to the horseflies the size of hummingbirds. There were large in numbers and very tenacious. I was bit a few times, it was not that bad but really annoying.

We were going to have a three hour stop at the end of the lake and the company offered some excursions, one of which was horseback riding which I was looking forward to.
The young man said that it was cancelled due to the horseflies. I assumed it was because they would bother the horses, and then figured no, it would be the tourists flailing their arms around that would terrorize the horses.
The only other one that appealed to me was the helicopter tour to the glacier, but it was quite expensive.

We were out on the deck and I was standing next to a German man about my age. We were almost at our destination when a helicopter buzzed overhead, circling and banking left and right, having a great time. He and I looked at each other and said "oh yeah, that's what I am doing!!!" He said " hey, you can't take it with you!"

It only took four people so Doug and I and he and his wife ran down and booked it. Talk about an effective sales pitch.

When we arrived we were taken to the helicopter pad and waited in a screened canopy tent to escape the flys. Unfortunately there were as many inside as out.

Our 12:30 helicopter arrived for us at 1:30PM. We went to board and the fellow told me to get in the front in the copilot seat. YES!!! I love the front seat, you have glass in front, side, above and below you. The young man flying was very cute and personable. We took off in no time and were flying about 10 feet up from a river down towards the mountain, banking this way and that. It was like a roller coaster ride.
We flew over the glaciers and the tops of the mountains over many lakes and waterfalls. It was breathtaking and worth every penny. We were very glad we were so impulsive.



All in all a wonderful day and after a great lunch we took the boat and bus back to town. We slept most of the way back and enjoyed dinner before heading back to our home. We are here a couple more days and then fly north again.

We would love an email with any of your news at ho

Posted by debbep 05:28 Archived in Chile Comments (2)

Part two. South America.

Hola Amigos, desde Santiago Chile.

sunny 30 °C

Day 1.
Jan 01, 2014. Our flight is on the 2nd but we decided to play it safe and overnight in Vancouver. Sydney picked us up at the ferry and we went for a wonderful Malaysian meal before checking into our airport hotel for the night. It made it so much less stressful than trying to do it all in one day.

Day 2. Our flight to Dallas left at 1:40PM, or it was supposed to anyhow. A mechanical had us delayed on the runway for over an hour and then upon arrival in Dallas they could not find a gate for us. There were a lot of folks connecting to other flights and therefore some very anxious passengers. We had originally two hours until our next flight and we had made up some time on the way so still had an hour. As we were leaving from the same terminal we were not too worried.

Our flight from Dallas to Santiago left on time at 9:30PM and the next 9 hours were incredibly long. We are seriously going to try to avoid overnight flights from now on.

Day 3. Arrival in Santiago was on time at 9:30AM. So were the other five international flights. It was crazy busy in the small airport. We had to line up for 40 minutes to pay our reciprocal fee of $135 US and then another hour or so in the immigration line, to be followed by fighting our way through the congestion to the baggage area. We were the last carousel and because we took so long to get there all the baggage was off. Unfortunately ours was not among the ones there. Our bags did not make the flight.

We then stood in another long line behind many other American Airlines passengers who did not get their bags either. When we finally got the the front she said they located one bag in Dallas but the other was still unlocated.......... Hopefully both will be on the flight tomorrow and we will have them tomorrow night.

We then had to stand in another very long line to go through agriculture, where you put your baggage through an xray machine [leaving the airport], to check for plants and food etc.

Finally, outside we catch a cab to our hotel.

Santiago is a very large city, 6 million people [almost half the population of Chile lives here]. Our apartment in the the centre of the old part of town and because it was only 1PM we had to wait an hour to check in. We both felt like zombies from lack of sleep but ventured out to find a cafe for some lunch. We managed to find an excellent little sidewalk cafe and had a wonderful quinoa salad and vegetable crepe. And the best Americano Coffee that we have every had, or it seemed that way anyhow.

At 2P we were back and checked into our very trendy, Bohemian style small apartment. It looks like something that would be in Yaletown. The downstairs has a small leather couch, basic kitchen and brick wall and a small balcony overlooking Santiago. We are on the 16th floor and have a great view of not only the city but the Andes which surround Santiago.

There is a floating staircase to the second floor where we find our bed and bathroom. There is another small balcony here. The only thing kind of strange is that the balcony door is glass and there are not any curtains on this window, just the ones in the living room. The sun rises at 6:30 so I guess we will be getting an early start which is okay.

We slept for a few hours and then went out to find dinner. We came upon a recommended area that has many cafes with out door seating and alive with wonderful street musicians and artisans selling from stalls. It is Friday night and the places are packed with young couples out on the town. It is a very young area but that means it is very lively as well.

Our food was wonderful in the chic artsy restaurant that we found. Dinner is usually not until 8PM or later here. On the walk home we stopped at a grocery store to get some breakfast food and fruit.

Day 4. Slept through the night until 9AM!!! What a treat. At 11 we wandered off to the main area, Plaza de Armas. A large church invited us inside and we sat and listened to taped music by a woman with a magnificent voice.

We spent the day wandering the old city. The two museums that we really wanted to see are both closed which is disappointing, but we went to a very small archeological museum which had some hats and decorative items that I had never seen before. A very small sidewalk cafe was attached and we both had fantastic salads and amazing iced tea.

The weather is 30C but there is not a lot of humidity. By the time we walked back to our apartment, around 4PM, the smog was thick. We could not see the mountains from our room, and could barely see the skyscrapers near by. Santiago has a big problem with smog because it is surrounded by the mountains. There was no wind today which made it worse.

We were so ecstatic to see both of our suitcases in our room upon our return. Mine had been opened, which I don't mind, it looks like everything is there, however they did not put my lock back on. But we are thrilled to have our bags, and summer clothes!

After a sleep we went back to the same area as last night for another great meal but at a different restaurant.

My Spanish is coming back. Not many people speak English which is great and I am hoping by the end of the three months I am pretty comfortable speaking and understanding.

We are in Santiago for a couple more nights and then will take a bus to the coast and rent a car to explore for a week. I will post around once a week again,.

Posted by debbep 18:49 Archived in Chile Comments (2)

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