Thursday, October 13, 2011

Warning to budget driving travelers, Chile is freaking expensive and they won't let us leave

Day 1 in Chile, after leaving the boarder late around 4 pm we detoured around Santiago, to get near the coast. Our first night was spent at a toll booth just outside Vina del Mar. Wasn't as noisy as we thought, we had a good nights sleep and next day we arrived in the town early and had to wait in front of the tourist office because there late. When the lady arrived she gave us in English, info on places to stay, see and recommended a seafood restaurant up the coast in Concon, because the ones in town are expensive. First we checked our the Wulff Caslte, that was free to enter, it was having a 2 month long free knitting class for all and a tour guide took us upstairs, which had stunning views of the Pacific. Next we visited the Fonck Museum that houses interesting photos and information about Easter Island. After a long morning of site seeing we drove up the coast to Concon, to have lunch. After lunch we check out a few obscure camp grounds south of Valparasio, and decided to turn back and stay in the city to call it a night.

huge casino on the coast
Wulff Castle hangs over the ocean

Day 2 was spent just exploring the colorful UNESCO city of Valparasio, checked out all the back alleys and its unique art work or graffiti depending how ones looks at it. We took a funicular (kinda of elevator but slop) up to see the colorful rundown homes on top of the city.  Had a late lunch, seafood again for about $40 usd not as good as Concon. After we decided to drive down Chile and re-enter Argentina down south (what a mistake) so we filled up and it cost a whopping $110 for 60 liters. We drove alone the coast as long as possible than started to head inland towards Hwy #5 the panamerican, I wanted to stop off in Santa Cruz to check out this cowboy town, but got lost and spent way too much time and gas searching. Now we are back on the Pan-Am its getting dark and we just stop off at a gas station to rest for the night.

plaza Victoria

check out the wiring on the streets

independence celebrations 

yup kings alive in Valparasio
Day 3 Bright and early we are back on this nice paved hwy with tolls of $5 at every 100km interval and I start to notice the price of gas rising at every station we pass. We made a stop near Los Angeles, to see the waterfalls of Aslto del Laja, it was very easy to excess and free to see. Back on the road with more tolls and need more gas at this point we at just under $250 bucks in tolls and gas for a 500 km stretch of hwy. We exit the Pan-Am just before Temuco and head for the boarder as we drive towards the Andes, the views change to snow covered alps. We reach the boarder at 7pm, when we enter the officer they tells us we can't pass tonight because of icy roads. So we are stuck in Chile for another night and decide to just camp out at the boarder crossing with all the other truckers and travelers, picked up a bottle of Chilean wine and cooked pasta in the van and turned it in for the night.

these couple where selling hot empanadas at the gas station

camped out at the boarder 
locals entertained everyone with song and dance

Day 4 After a cold night we wake up and wait for the immigration office to open. They're about 15 minutes late and already loads of people from the tour buses are waiting inline. Lucky for us they had a separate line and we got our papers alone side the truckers but they still wouldn't let us pass until 11am don't know why. Meanwhile local Chileans waiting kepted us all entertained with music and dance after all it was Chile's day of independence and there stuck at the boarder, you think it would put a damper on their holiday plans but they all seem happy, just love the Latino culture. Back to Argentina after a an expensive 4 day detour.