Andrea was far more diligent than I, and kept a 'Diary of Observations' during our 6-week, 2018/19 trip to Chile, Argentina & Brazil. The following text is a 'raw dump' of that diary (or, at least, the Chilean bit of it - not sure where the rest is), for posterity's sake...

Day 1

All round a great first day.

Day 2

Day 3

The jet lag has cleared today, so we are definitely more observant!

Today we clocked up a monstrous 17½-km on foot - no wonder we had so many observations! Off to Valpo tomorrow for something a bit different!

Day 4

Thankfully a shorter list today - mainly due to MUCH longer spent lying around this morning in bed than planned (Valpo trip cancelled due to rioting)!

A pretty cruisey 10-km day! We'll be back to our favourite roof top bar later - in shirt sleeves! #LoveThisClimate

Day 5

Today's adventure was to take three metros and local suburban bus to Santa Rita winery - 2½-hours out of Santiago. The place was delightful, lunch with a Reserve Chardonnay was super and the company was the best!

Days 6 & 7

That's it! Next stop Chiloe - much colder and wetter (much to Holly's delight) but I'll be missing the lovely dry 30°C of Santiago!


Ancud and surrounding area - a day exploring the island from a sunny start, through 'West Coast of Ireland' rain, and finishing with much hilarity and bad Spanish with our taxi driver got us home in pitch black countryside!

Touring the UNESCO churches - sadly not blessed by blue skies in the morning but they were fascinating and we even got to hang out at the local 'kitchen' (Chilean version of a food court run by local mums!) and try the famous local Chiloean dish call Curanto in the lovely village of Dalcahue (our favourite village in Chiloe)

We said goodbye to lovely little Chiloe and headed Deep South to Puerto Natales, Patagonia to celebrate the new year! It's got an amazing 'end of the known world' feel about it - what a different place to welcome in the new year.

Puerto Natales, Patagonia Chile Observations (and some late comments from Chiloe)

Punta Areanas,Chile - 53½° South! The furthest south I've ever been (ever likely to be!).

So, Sundays in Punta Areanas there isn't much happening but we still got sunshine (a rarity I believe), another crazy rich cemetery, 1900s era mansions, whales, lupins, and the amazing Straits of Magellan! THIS is the end of the world for sure!

Our favourite holiday beer - from Punta Arenas coincidently! Like many things in this part of the world it has a name to do with 'austral' which means Southern.

La Serena, Chile - horrendously early flight to cross half the length of Chile in one go!

We checked out a locals-only spot for lunch, we admired our view (complete with hummingbirds!) and tried more local beer!

La Serena - bit more Costa del Spain than anticipated and sunburn to boot! But hey we did a 25-km walk and had possibly the best ice-cream ever?!

The Enchanted Valley, Ovalle, Chile - amazing figures carved into the stones from 1000-500BC.

Must have been pretty special if Holly said 'that was a lot better than I thought it was going to be!' High praise indeed!

And because I have a shocker of a cold our guide insisted on feeding me cactus fruit as it's the best cure for a cold (full of vitamin C)!

Elqui Valley, Chile - Alfa Aldea

We saw the sun, the moon and lots of stars - we all LOVED it - and not just cus we got wine, tomato soup and garlic bread!

Vicuna, Elqui Valley, Chile - this is the front by runner for our best day of the holiday yet!

We did a morning tour of the working astronomy research centre Cerro Tololo - Holly quote 'THAT was THE most amazing thing EVER!'; followed by a great little lunch spot; and then some Pisco tasting and a tour of the Aba Distillery 'and THAT was also really interesting!'... will be sipping macqui and Pisco cocktails by the pool soon! (And that's like actually healthy like!)

Round-up of 3½-weeks Observations

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile - so yesterday we had our first full day in San Pedro - it's everything you could imagine of a stereotypical, pretty South American town full of amazing looking people and adorable adobe buildings.... and millions of backpackers! This is CLEARLY on the route of every 20-something doing their South America Experience! But I can see why - it is pretty special!

At 2400m above sea level (so that's higher than Mt. Taranaki for the Kiwis, and about 1000m higher than Ben Nevis for the Brits) and one of the driest places in the world it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit since being a kid doing geography!

San Pedro,Chile - Valley of the Moon and Death Valley

Atacama, Chile - full day exploring the Lugunas - utterly amazing colours and seemingly endless variety of shade and tone - I was utterly enchanted! We also got up to 4,200 meters above sea level - another first for me - the highest I've ever been!