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A Journey Across a Thin Gorgeous Country: traversing the Length of Chile! 🇨🇱

By Ricky Tablada

Our extravaganza takes place via motorcycle, trekking and cruising

__ and the voyage begins in the far southern reaches of Chile, where the frigid waters brush against Punta Arenas, a city that gazes defiantly at the sprawling wilderness of Patagonia and the distant shores of Antarctica. Here, in this windswept outpost, the stories of early explorers and the indigenous peoples intertwine with the icy currents that weave through the Strait of Magellan.

Punta Arenas and the Gateway to Antarctica!

In Punta Arenas, the air is crisp, and the past lingers in the architecture—colorful buildings and monuments dedicated to Magellan himself. The city serves as a living museum, showcasing the rugged determination of those who've lived here. From here, some may venture further south, exploring the frostbitten realms of Antarctica, where silence is a language spoken by the ice itself.

Northward to the Lakes: Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas to Frutillar

Leaving behind the icy south, the ship sails northward to the lakes district, with its first stop at Puerto Montt. This bustling port city is the gateway to Chile’s lake country, where volcanic peaks reflect on glassy waters. Nearby Puerto Varas, perched on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, offers views of the perfect cone of Osorno Volcano and the cascading Petrohué Falls, where water crashes through volcanic rock, a spectacle of nature’s raw power.

Just a whisper away lies Frutillar, famed for its Germanic heritage and the Teatro del Lago, an exquisite theatre that hosts musical performances with a backdrop of the lake and mountains beyond. The town itself, with its quaint kuchen shops and gardens, seems to belong to a storybook, where each page turn reveals scenes of pastoral calm.

Music by the Lake: Chile 🇨🇱 for me is eternal Autumn: chill, with a breeze caressing my face as I am walking with a spring to my step: 🍁

Chilean Fjords!

Into the Archipelago: Chiloé and Castro, Chacabuco and Laguna San Rafael!

As the journey continues, the mystical archipelago of Chiloé emerges from the mist. In Castro, the capital, colorful palafitos (stilt houses) line the coast, a vibrant testimony to the maritime culture. Here, the blend of Spanish and indigenous influences is palpable in the rich folklore and the iconic wooden churches, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Further south, the ship docks at Puerto Chacabuco, the starting point for excursions to Laguna San Rafael. Here, the scenery is dominated by the San Rafael Glacier, a towering mass of ice that groans and creaks as it calves into the lagoon. This area is a silent witness to the breathtaking pace of nature’s creations and destructions.

Coastal Wonders: Viña Del Mar and Valparaiso

Back on the mainland, the cruise calls at the garden city of Viña Del Mar, where manicured boulevards and sandy beaches offer a stark contrast to the bohemian chaos of Valparaiso. This port city is a cascade of color, with murals that turn streets into open-air galleries, and ancient funiculars that creak their way up steep hills, offering panoramic views of the bustling port below.

Santiago and the Wineries

Inland, Santiago, the capital, rises against the backdrop of the Andes. A city where colonial mansions rub shoulders with modern skyscrapers, Santiago is the cultural heart of Chile. Nearby, the wineries of the Mai Valley beckon with promises of robust reds and crisp whites, the products of the sun-drenched Chilean soil.

The Desert Extremes: San Pedro de Atacama and Valle de la Luna

The journey concludes in the stark landscapes of San Pedro de Atacama. Here, in the driest desert in the world, the Valle de la Luna offers a landscape so alien it seems to belong to another planet. As the sun sets, the valley is set aflame with reds and oranges, a silent spectacle that speaks of the earth’s hidden fire:

Easter Island: The Navel of the World!

The voyage takes an ambitious leap into the Pacific to Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, known as the 'Navel of the World' by its inhabitants. The island’s moai statues are sentinels of history, their backs turned to the sea, guarding the secrets of a lost civilization. Each stone giant stands as a testament to the islanders’ ingenuity and the mysterious demise of their society.

Reflections on a Journey

From the icy southern reaches to the celestial observatories of the north, Chile unfolds like a tapestry woven with threads of wilderness, culture, and history. To cruise along its coast is to navigate a path of relentless beauty and profound contradictions, where each port tells a story of resilience and wonder. In this narrow country, set between the mountains and the sea, the past and present are eternally intertwined, each view a vista of timeless mystery. The profound connection to its land and people offers an ever-present invitation to explore deeper, to understand more, and to lose oneself in the endless narrative that is Chile. The pulse of its cities, the tranquility of its remote corners, and the spirit of its people create a mosaic of experiences that promises to enchant and educate any who traverse its long and winding path.

As the voyage comes to its end, the memories of Chile’s vast diversity linger in the mind like the aftertaste of a fine wine. The landscapes have narrated tales of the earth’s youthful fire and ancient ice, tales of deserts where stars light up the night sky with stories millions of years old, and forests where the air is thick with the whispers of the past. Chile is not merely a place to visit; it is a place to experience, a place that teaches the rhythm of nature and humanity in harmony.

The journey through Chile is not just about the places one sees but about the reflections they inspire. From the mystic statues of Easter Island to the bustling markets of Santiago, from the quiet valleys where vineyards thrive to the moon-like deserts of the north, each locale presents a piece of a complex puzzle that is uniquely Chilean. It is a country that defies simplicity, a land that demands the traveler’s respect and offers in return a view into the soul of the world.

Such is the voyage through Chile, a thin strip of land where dreams stretch as wide as the horizons, and where the echoes of history are as close as the wind on one’s face. It is a journey that changes those who dare it, teaching them about beauty, resilience, and the enduring power of the human spirit. In Chile, every sunset promises the rise of new understanding, and every landscape holds the key to a new adventure. It is a traveler's challenge and a poet's inspiration, a narrow thread tied to the vast tapestry of the earth’s most profound stories.

1 Comment

Wonderful blog documenting a journey by sea and land through the magnificent country of Chile. In it, you describe in great detail, through text, photographs, videos, and music, its diverse geography, art, culture, and natural beauty. It is definitely worth visiting and experiencing. Thank you for sharing another "Tica-Travel" experience and adventure with us.

I took the liberty of attaching the Spanish translation of the beautiful reflection you make at the end of this sensational blog:


Maravilloso blog de un viaje por mar y tierra a través de un grandioso país: Chile. En él, describes con gran detalle, a través de textos, fotografías, videos y música, su variada geografía, arte, cultura y bellezas naturales. Vale la pena visitarlo y…

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