Christmas Vacation: Santiago

After our time spent in Mendoza, Argentina, we hopped a bus that took us through the enormous Andes Mountains and into Chile.

Driving through Andes Mountains

Crossing the border into Chile was one of the easiest, fastest, and smoothest border crossings I’ve ever experienced. The fact that my bag of almonds was confiscated (apparently they count as dried fruit?) dampened the experience a bit, but I lived, snackless as I was after that.

Driving Through Andes Mountains 2

We arrived in Santiago, Chile, a large and bustling city full of life and color.

Santiago, Chile 12

We did a lot of walking around to take in the city, which was getting ready for its New Years Eve festivities.

Santiago, Chile 13

We saw magnificent architecture, grand statues, went to an impressively put together museum, and ate at an incredibly busy fish market.

My favorite building of all was the one below that took advantage of its location at the foot of the Andes. Check out that reflection.

Santiago, Chile 6

We noticed the town of Santiago did have a bit of a problem with graffiti. It seemed to be everywhere.

But luckily, most of it was spectacular works of art greeting you with brightness, scale, and weirdness at every turn.

Graffiti in Santiago, Chile 11

We even took a day trip to the nearby port town of Valparaíso which had charm all its own. The colorful houses resting on thigh-burning steep hills, the quaint spot we found for an incredible lunch, the views of the harbor from the top of a hill after a creaky funicular ride, and taking in the paintings that appeared on so many of the buildings were a few of my favorite things in Valparaíso.

Valpairiso, Chile 16

We were back in Santiago for our last couple days in Chile for New Years Eve celebrating and then some hiking on New Years Day. We hiked up a steep trail until we reached what we thought was a big white Jesus statue but turned out to be the Virgin Mary when we got up close and personal.

Santiago, Chile 16

Santiago, Chile 17

And finally we achieved the reason for the trip in the first place – a picture of Nalena Santiago with a Santiago sign. Unfortunately our Santiago “sign” was the title of our map that we made her hold up in the airport as we were returning to Paraguay. It’ll do.

Santiago Map

By the way, Jon and Nalena were awesome to travel with. It was easy and fun and we enjoyed the same things. We had  a great time with them! Check out their trip recap (and their gorgeous photography) to see if they felt the same way.

Isaiah was sad to see the trip come to an end, but the adventure continues here in Paraguay. And I’m sure there will be many other trips to tell you all about in our future!

Leaving Santiago, Chile

Anyone have any must-see South American cities to recommend? What are your thoughts on graffiti – is it a must go or a work of art? What’s your favorite vacation activity? This trip’s theme seemed to be good food and scenic walking. Nice.

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