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Viña La Playa Hotel: relax and disconnection in the Colchagua Valley

Viña La Playa Hotel: relax and disconnection in the Colchagua Valley

I was invited to discover Viña La Playa hotel and I was very happy to return to the Colchagua Valley. I have always thought the whole history of the valley around wine is very magical, but on this trip I discovered that there is much more to do.

 

The Viña La Playa hotel is a boutique resort with only 11 rooms, located 12 km from Peralillo, in a sector of endless tranquility in the middle of a vineyard, ideal for a few days of disconnection from the daily stress of living in a big city or to go discover more about the chilean wine if you are visiting Chile for the first time.

 

It is a colonial style twoo-floor mansion, whose premium rooms also have a built-in fireplace, very romantic. The decor is extremely warm, you feel like you are in a country house.

 

La fachada del hotel

The hotel

 

Among the things that are important to me when I go to an hotel, there are undoubtedly details and here I found details to spare. From toilet amenities inspired in the world of wine, to arriving at night tired and cold and finding the fireplace in the room lit and a jug of water with mint and lemon on the side table. For me is essential to have water when I go to sleep and this detail really made me smile.

 

Los detalles se dejan sentir: amenities ligados al mundo del vino y agua aromatizada en las noches en el velador

details are all for me when Im staying at an hotel

 

Encontrar la chimenea encendida y dormirte con el crepitar de la madera no tiene precio

finding the fireplace like this when you arrive at night is priceless

 

There are three types of breakfast and what I liked most was the warm bread in a cloth bag and the exquisite natural juice. The hotel staff is extremely frindly and in the dining room they are always attentive to what you may need.

 

Los desayunos estilo campestre me robaron el corazón

breakfast country style totally stoled my heart

 

Deliciosa comida estilo mediterranea, esa polenta estaba increíble

Chilean and Mediterranean food is what you may find in the restaurant

 

The hotel has a swimming pool, tennis court and even a landing yard for small planes. As you are in he middle of a vineyard you can do activities such as go for a bike ride or walk or ask in the front desk for a tour to visit to nearby vineyards or other less known ones, such as El Huique museum or the Casona Echeñique, places full of history, I will tell you more about them in another post. You may also taste the amazing wines of Sutil winery in a special room for this at the hotel with a sommelier.

Catando los exquisitos vinos de la viña Sutil

tasting great wines of Sutil winery at the hotel

 

I am an escapade lover as you may know, and the hotel was perfect for my kind of escapades, just two and a half hours from Santiago, to feel the connection with nature as it is.

Los colores de la viña en otoño

The colours of the wineyard in autumn

 

Im going to tell you now a secret, when someone invite me to visit an hotel, I logically know that those in charge will do their best bto show the best of it, thats why I become a researcher and check some aspects on my own before and after I go, to have an experience as real as possible (and tell you the truth about the experience, if I dont like a place, I wont recommend it, no matter what)

 

In this case a friend contacted the hotel to ask some questions about reservations and services and the response was super friendly and efficient. For me this is essential, because no matter how short the trip, you always start living it when you plan it and if the hotel you choose responds badly, is no good for me no matter how beatiful it looks in pics. Viña La Playa allows you to dream from the beginning.

 

The hotel also offers a reunion center equipped with the newest technology for business events in a unique environment and common spaces ideal for events such as weddings or any kind of celebrations.

 

La sala de reuniones destaca por la calidez de sus materiales

the reunion center, great for business events

 

I loved  visiting  Viña La Playa hotel in autumn and seeing a sunset in the vineyards, I hope to return in summer to enjoy the pool and the massages that they offer for a deeper relaxation.

Wine tourism, rural tourism and adventure tourism: 3 unforgettable experiences in the Maule region

Wine tourism, rural tourism and adventure tourism: 3 unforgettable experiences in the Maule region

On March I participated in a press trip in the Maule region thanks to the invitation by SERNATUR Maule. I confess that the region for me was a complete mystery and that everything I knew about it was in the context of volunteer activities in from the great fire that affected the south of Chile in February 2017.


This trip was made within the context of the Vendimia of Chile, Curicó 2018, which this year celebrated its 32 year anniversary.


I was really surprised with the wide range of activities in the Maule region and that undoubtedly puts this region on the map as an ideal getaway because it’s just 2.5 hours from Santiago. You can disconnect from the regular routine, which is one thing that I love about it.



Wine tourism – visit to Korta vineyard, Puertas vineyards and to the Vendimia of Curicó:


In the Maule region you will find numerous vineyards that puts the region as the largest producer and exporter of Chilean wines. During my visit, we stopped at 2 that I would highly recommended!


In Korta  Wines, we were able to enjoy an incredible lunch traditionally offered by the Korta Bucarey family in the context of the vendimia, matching each dish with exquisite wines among which the Cabernet Franc stood out for me, by far my favorite on this trip. The lunch ended with a selection of typical Chilean desserts.

 

Viña Korta

Korta Vineyard




The vineyard is a beautiful place to discover and the hosts really know how to make you feel at home. It is located in the area of ​​Sagrada Familia. If you visit the  Maule region you won’t regret visiting them and I’m sure you will go home with incredible wines from there.

 

Almuerzo en Korta Wines

Lunch in Korta Wines



In Puertas Vineyards we were greeted by José Joaquín Puertas. Here I learned that 98% of their production is exported. To check their high quality standards, they have a private laboratory they have for these purposes (you know, I am a laboratory mouse) and later taste their wines, I quickly understood why .

José Joaquín Puertas and Juan Cabello, tell us all about the wine production in Puertas Vineyard


 It is a vineyard that has received more than 300 awards and it is important to note that they produce 100% of their grapes and therefore have full control over the way they grow and are processed, free of chemicals.

 

I loved the colours of the bottles of wine



There were 6 wines that we tasted here; a Carmenère from the Milagro line (which was my absolute favorite), a Sauvignon Blanc from the Lujuria line. We also fired another favorite of mine which is the award-winning Blue Horse and a sparkling Rosé, Cava de familia. To finish the tasting, we had a velvety Late Harvest.

 

Wide selection of wines in Puertas Vineyard


In this vineyard you will find tours from $ 7500 CLP p / p for a minimum of 6 people, located in “El Milagro” farm in Convento Viejo, Curicó.


In addition to the visit to these two vineyards, we were participating throughout the weekend of the activities around the Great vendimia of Curicó and I really feel that it is something that you must live at least once in life, do not miss all the detail of the traditions of the vendimia of Curicó in the post that I dedicated especially to it.


Rural Tourism – a rural experience in Casa Rural Curicó:



The last day before returning to Santiago, we had the possibility of knowing Casa Rural Curicó, milkery where cheeses and yogurt are made, one of the 9, that still exist in the Maule region, after that in a moment they were more of two thousand existing ones. Located in Los Niches sector and owned by the Cubillos Gutierrez family.

We were received by Reinaldo Cubillos, who told us how they have diversified their offer, incorporating tours of rural experience for those who visit the area.

Reinaldo Cubillos nos recibe con sus mejores productos en Casa Rural Curicó

Reinaldo Cubillos tell us all about rural tourism in Casa Rural Curicó




They have a sustainable concept and the production of everything they carry out is 100% natural, with an emphasis on the circular economy and also empower other entrepreneurs in the area where they are located.

 

wide selection of cheese and pebre for everybody





Within the offer is to make a tour that includes a full traditional breakfast, walk to a heritage house and traditional chilean lunch, in addition to activities with farm animals such as feeding the chickens and ducks and share and learn about the cows to understand the care of these animals. Things that are so alien to us in the maelstrom of urban life. This tour has a value of $ 15,000 CLP per person.

 

Casa Rural Curicó

the cows in Casa Rural Curicó



In addition to this there is the possibility of taking a workshop to make your own cheese for $ 6000 pesos p / p and will soon incorporate cabins with a very interesting geodesic architecture, so that those who go can stay and live a truly rural weekend.



They are currently working on building a large chicken coop to start the production of happy chicken eggs, a concept that in countries such as France, will be law from next year. In addition to roosters and chicken Castellanos, they have a couple of Mapuche origin Quetros, known for laying blue eggs.

 

Los niños sin duda disfrutan mucho las actividades con los animales

Children had a blast feeding and peting the farm animals



For me it was a very enriching activity,  for a long time I did not have the possibility of connecting with rural life and I think that for those who travel with children it is even more enchanting. There were a couple of children on the tour and the excitement of feeding and petting the animals was tremendously genuine, a great experience for them, especially considering that children nowadays have less and less access and interest, for activities where there is not some kind of screen in the middle.

During lunch we discover Mundo Vendimia who connects and disseminate the Maule region’s wineries through various initiatives and Casta Chocolates, whose value lies in the production of chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa, filled with characteristic wines of the Maule Valley. It was a true experience to pair chocolates with wines and see how the flavors are enhanced and exploded in the mouth. Another must-see if you visit the area.
Adventure Tourism – River Teno Rafting with Chilean Adventures



As you may remember, Chile for the third year in a row was chosen as the best place to do adventure tourism in South America by the World Travel Awards and it was a surprise to discover that in the Los Queñes sector, in the Teno river itself, you can go rafting, activity I personally loved.


First of all I will be honest in telling you that I was scared to death, because despite how much I love the beaches and the sea, I do not swim, at least not enough to survive in adverse conditions.



When we arrived at the place we were met by Todd Ericson, an American based in Chile 15 years ago and founder of Chilean Adventures, who in addition to offering these activities, has in the sector cabins, jacuzzi, restaurant, swimming pool and a terrace with an incredible view to the Teno river for those who want to stay for a few days, I immediately thought how lucky he is to be able to wake up every day with such a breathtaking view.

Todd Ericson nos recibe y nos cuenta de sus inicios

Todd Ericson told us about how he got to Chile




Todd told us a little about his beginnings and then took us to fill out the necessary documents to carry out the activity and that the rest of his team gave us the necessary implements, which included water boots, neoprene suit, windbreaker, helmet and life jacket .

 

we are almost ready to start with the team of Chilean Adventures




Once equipped we went to where this adventure would start. The activity normally covers 14 kilometers, but due to time issues we only covered the last 4. The first was a safety talk with everything we needed to know to carry out this adventure that is 100% team work. What to do in case someone falls into the water, what instructions should we follow during the journey. We adjusted our helmets and life jackets well and we got on the rafts with emotion on the surface.

 

Todos atentos a las instrucciones de seguridad

Everybody attending the security instructions for the activity



Special mention to the kayaker in charge of security, he accompanied the three rafts during the whole trip and the truth to see him moving around the river was a real spectacle. He raffled the rapids with great skill and braked making real skids in a kayak that seemed to be part of his body and that being a river is much more unstable than the kayak that one usually knows. He was attentive at all times to problems that might arise in the other rafts.

 

Experiencias región del Maule

Amazing experience in the Teno river rafting




The value of this activity making the complete tour, including all the necessary equipment, instructions and guidance has a value of $ 17,000 CLP, which I think is a very low value if we consider that the same experience in other parts of the world can be pretty expensive. The best time of the year, as they told us, is November, where these rapids reach a category of 5-6 because of ice melting in the Andes.


I already want to repeat the experience, I feel that the team of Todd is highly qualified to have given us the necessary security to enjoy 100% this activity. Really unforgettable.

Una imagen vale más que 100 palabras, mi cara lo dice todo jaja

My face tells all, unforggetable experience



As you can see the activities that can be found in the Maule region are varied and the proximity to Santiago is undoubtedly an advantage when it comes to wanting to escape a weekend to forget about stress. They also have activities for all tastes, wine lovers, family trips, adventurous travelers and even to go with co-workers to strengthen teamwork and improve the work climate in an activity as entertaining and de-stressing as rafting. No doubt the invitation is made known and surprised with the Maule Region!

Quick guide to be a responsible traveler

Quick guide to be a responsible traveler

Do you know what it means to be a responsible traveler? I feel bad when I see photos on social media and around the world, of travelers with behaviors that attack our environment, biodiversity, the conservation of species, and against the inhabitants of the places they visit. In this post, I want to give you a quick guide on how and why we should avoid falling into these types of behaviors.

 

1) Photos or activities with animals outside their natural environment: Unfortunately the tourism industry has taken advantage of the desire of many to kiss a dolphin, ride an elephant or embrace a white tiger, but it doesn’t make it right. If you investigate a little, you will realize the terrible practices of coercion that the animals have to go through to interact with us; Tigers are absolutely drugged and stripped of will, elephants are mistreated with electricity and fire, and dolphins are locked in small pools forced to learn tricks just to satisfy the curiosity of man.

 

Aware of the rising trend of responsible travelers, the tour operators disguise the same abuse in the form of “sanctuaries”. In Thailand, several of these elephant sanctuaries now force these animals to bathe up to 8 times a day, so that people can groom them, which is absolutely exaggerated for their needs. Although, little by little, they have been forbidden to ride them, they still find a way to profit from them and continue to harm them (read here what my friend from La Vida Nómade tells about the mistreatment of elephants in Asia).

 

My advice? investigate, if you see that an animal is tied so you can take a picture with him, it is clear that there is abuse, investigate even beyond the obvious. It was fashionable to take pictures with starfish but it has proven that they only need seconds to die once out of the water. Even if you don’t take them out of the water,  they suffer from stress when they are poke and that the chemicals of the UV filters that we use affect their pH balance, something similar happens with the corals.

Gorgeous birds for a pic, but they are tied up… do not contribute to his mistreatment -Playa del Carmen – México

 

Many marine animals are losing their innate ability to get food, because they are fed on purpose to keep them closer to tourists, I will never forget in San Andres, Colombia the stingrays tour where they invite you to take a picture using a stingray as a table to hold your beer. In El Ñuro, Peru, something similar is happening with the turtles, which are over feed to stay by the dock so that people can go down to swim with them. In Holbox and the Philippines, as a great attraction, they offer you to swim with the Whale Shark, the largest fish in the world.  The stress caused by the noise of the boat engines has already been studied and many of the Whale Sharks have been injured because they get too close, in addition to being disoriented by the vibration that these boats emit.

 

If you are an animal lover, you will see that there are many conservation areas scattered around the world. You will have the opportunity to see them in their natural environment without any kind of human intervention and you are warned beforehand that you may or may not see animals. That it will depend on how lucky you are that they appear during your visit.

 

You can also investigate volunteering in places where they are responsible for the preservation or rescue of endangered species. In Mano Juan, a small town in the Dominican Republic, for example, there is a fisherman who dedicates all his effort to the preservation of the turtles. The turtle eggs are sometimes sold because they are considered an aphrodisiac.There you can see them up close in the effort that is made to preserve them.

 

This blog is committed to discard the practices of animal abuse related to tourism and belongs to FAADA (Foundation for Advice and Action in Defense of Animals), a global organization that fights for this purpose, if you want more advice on how to be responsible travelers with the animals do not miss out what they have to say.

 

2) Extreme bargaining in destinations visibly below the poverty line: this topic had previously touched on an article about fair trade. It is true that in many places bargaining is part of the culture and sellers expect them to do so, but in other places they are not. If you are in a visibly poor place where you can see how much effort people put in make the crafts they sell, if you can realize that it is not mass-produced products in China and that prices are already too cheap, pay what is worth, be a responsible traveler, leave your money in the hands of people who need it and contribute your bit to the development of the local economy.

 

Guna women showing their “molas” – Guna men fishing, value their work, dont pay less that they deserve – San Blas – Panama

 

3) Take “memories” of the environment they visit: It has become a trend to take sand from beaches around the world and then put it in a vase back home. It may sound exaggerated, but those “littles” are adding up and have made sandbars disappear around the world.

Same goes with seashells and even with stones that have been part of ruins of ancient civilizations that are considered world heritage sites. In China they even sold small live turtles condemned to die in the form of key rings. Avoid all these practices, be environmentally responsible travelers. In addition to the damage you can cause to the environment, in many countries, this constitutes a crime punishable by law. Do you want to expose yourself to that?

 

Taking corals to decorate your house is absolutely unnecessary -Cayo Icacos – Puerto Rico

 

Try that your premise is not to take more than the garbage of the places you visit. In addition to photos and your good memories and if you want to take something extra, you can buy some crafts and going back to the previous point, to help the local economy. I collect beer caps that later become magnets at home, during the trip they do not weigh or take up space in my luggage and they are also waste material.

 

These blowfish should not be adorning any house – Barbados

 

4)Not respecting the inhabitants of the places they visit: arriving and shooting the flash in the face of a person who is doing his daily life for your instagram is disrespectful. Let’s be respectful with people, if you want to take photos ask them for permission and better yet, if you can, then share the photo with them in some way. Get involved with people in the places you visit and you will definitely take memories and experiences much deeper than a photo.

Respect also that the fact of being on vacation does not give us the right to interfere in the life of the inhabitants of a city, that is why many cities are trying to stop the amount of tourists who arrive, Venice and Barcelona for example . In the same city where I live, Viña del Mar, which  is full of tourists in the summer, life can become unbearable, because tourists stay on the balconies of buildings singing while drunk until dawn, not caring much that people who live around have to work in the morning.

 

5) Post photos of children on your social media: children represent joy and innocence in its purest form and without a doubt are feelings that we often want to portray and that can represent very well the idiosyncrasy of a place. But did you know you could be hurting them? Various international organizations for the protection of minors (such as the International Convention of the Rights of the Child) have called for the dismissal of these practices, unless you have written permission from the parents of the minors. Therefore, by exposing them in a public way, including their geographical location and also being mostly vulnerable children, we expose them to trafficking networks. Unfortunately, this type of crime with minors is still a daily occurance in many places around the world and we do not want to be those who passively contribute to this happening. Let’s be responsible travelers.

 

6) Running stupid risks for a photo: ufff! This seems obvious, but there are travelers who are willing to risk their lives for a photo. The pic below was taken at Maho Beach, St. Marteen, a beach known for being close to the airport and because planes land and take off a few meters away from you. It is full of warning signs because the planes when turning on their turbines literally make you fly. A few months ago a woman fell on the berm and hit the head, causing her death immediately. However, there is always someone who  wants to take the risk.

 

dont care about danger, everything for a pic – Maho Beach – St Marteen

 

In the Tatio Geysers, located in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, there is a story of a traveler who got too close to the Geisers to take a picture and ended up falling inside, at that temperature and far from everyone else, it was impossible to save his life, and all for one picture. Evaluate the danger and do not take silly risks for having the best photo, it’s not worth it.

 

8) Do not follow the rules of protected areas: If you like to camp, follow the rules of the places you visit, be extremely careful if you do campfires, known cases such as Torres del Paine where thousands of hectares were burned by irresponsibility of a traveler making a fire in a forbidden area. If you are visiting heritage sites or sacred areas, be respectful with different cultures and take care of what you have in front of you. If you do not do it, not only are you contributing to the destruction of the site, you also expose yourself to pay thousands in fines or even jail sentences. Is this how you want your vacation to end?

Desastres naturales

That is how  south of Chile was left for human irresponsibility

It is up to us to contribute to making the world a more kind and safe place, respecting the inhabitants of the places we visit, their children and above all, taking care of the planet because we don’t have other one and we are destroying it slowly. Nobody is born knowing all these premises, I also made mistakes at the beginning of my traveler life but we can pass on the message to educate other travelers and reduce these practices little by little. Have you encountered any of these situations in your travels? tell me your experience …

Valdivia: a river fairytale city at southern Chile

Valdivia: a river fairytale city at southern Chile

To me, Valdivia has always seemed one of the most beautiful cities in Chile. Located in the XIV region of “Los Ríos”, with a particular geography, flanked by rivers, it lends itself to various activities both in its channels and in its surroundings. It also has a varied gastronomic offer and a wide range of artisan breweries, which position it as the country’s beer capital.

In this article, I will share with you how to organize a weekend getaway to enjoy the best activities in the city:

Friday: I left work and went straight to the Santiago`s airport to take a flight to the city of Valdivia. Once landed the airport is only a half hour from the city, depending on the traffic. Another option to get to the city is to take a night bus. I arrived at my lodging on the side of the Calle Calle river, I changed my clothes and went out to discover the city center, a few blocks away, with Diego, the tour guide that accompany us all weekend, from “Pueblito Expediciones”

Valdivia is a city of short distances that you can easily know by walking. After discovering the center, the main square and the surroundings of the market, I crossed the bridge Pedro de Valdivia (known for having resisted the planet’s strongest earthquake of 9.5 degrees richter) in the direction of Teja Island, to know a restobar that everybody recommended.

The city from above the “Pedro de Valdivia” bridge and the sea lions that you can see along de Calle Calle river

 

This bar was “El Growler” artisan brewery and restobar, with a lot of varieties of craft beers in addition to their own production, with dispensers arranged in the bar, where you can read characteristics of them such as bitterness and alcoholic degrees of each one. The boys who attend the local, know the varieties very well and seek to recommend you the one that best suits your tastes. In this place there is also a variety of food, such as buckets of rustic potatoes with perfectly cooked cuts of steak, blue cheese and bacon or other buckets of the same style but with seafood. Despite being full, we never noticed in the attention or in the quality of the products, all very efficient and exquisite, certainly recommended.

El Growler

El Growler

 

Saturday: this day I took the opportunity to know as much as I could, here I detail the activities you can do:

 

Navigating the rivers:  If you visit Valdivia, an activity that you can not miss is the navigation of its rivers, a fundamental part of the geography of the region. You will find boats that give you a ride from $ 5000 Chilean pesos (about 8 dollars), depending on its type and on the way you will know a variety of native birds like the black neck swan, that abounds in the zone, and you will be able to pass by CauCau bridge, with permanent open arms, an engineering failure. I took the tour with “Embarcaciones Bahía”.

Cau Cau bridge with its arms always open

 

Lots of black neck swans that you can see in navigation activities

 

visit the town of Punucapa: a very little town, ancient indigenous settlement and with several tourist attractions worthy of being known. First is known for its sweet apple cider, which has been recognized with appellation of origin. In “El mesón de la sidra” of Agropecuaria Punucapa, you will have the possibility to taste this preparation and buy it at a very good price, besides watching closely the presses with which it is prepared. It called my attention that despite being very sweet, has no added sugar, everything is fruit of the fermentation of the fruit.

The Punucapa pear that will receive you as you arrive

 

“Mesón de la Sidra” where you can taste this delightful preparation

 

After doing some shopping and already hungry, for lunch we went to “La Herradura” Restaurant,  to eat a traditional Chilean lunch, prepared by Mrs. Albina, owner of the place who tries to serve customers as if they were part of his family. In a very cozy atmosphere we ate an abundant and tasty “Cazuela”, some fried “empanadas” and the typical southern “sopaipillas”, which unlike those of the north of the country, are square and do not carry pumpkin. You can also find a variety of local beers on the spot. The prices are reasonable and it is the perfect place to feel the warmth of the people of southern Chile.

Cazuela at “La Herradura” reataurant

 

walking around Punucapa you will feel the peaceful

 

Oncol Park: To reach this private park, but open to the public for a $ 3500 pesos entrance, you can take collective transportation from Valdivia and get off at the Curiñanco crossroad, where is a workshop of native wood sculpture, point from where you will have to walk a little to the entrance or you can move in a private car, or hire a tour for about $ 25,000 Chilean pesos (about 40 USD), which lasts all day and includes guided tours of the park. As a side note, I would like to mention that the taxis in Valdivia are undoubtedly the cheapest in Chile, starting at $ 40 Chilean pesos.

The park surprised me, I did a tour with Mr Pascual Alba, who lives in the area and knows the biodiversity of the place. It was so doing a small trekking circuit, he told us that there are more than 28 species of ferns in the area and that there are cats Güiña and Colo Colo in the park that sunbathe in the Palo Santo. I met trees like Quintral, whose fruit is fed Monito del Monte when it ends its hibernation and whose nectar also feeds the hummingbird. In summer it is possible to see different species of amphibians, there are toads that bathe in the hollows of trees like the Melí and among the birds stands out the imposing Carpintero.

 

a great biodiversity to enjoy al Oncol park / Canelo tree

 

The quintral flower / hollows at the bass of a Melí tree

 

The park has several viewpoints and trekking circuits to get into the Valdivian forest, has camping areas, a small restaurant and even a canopy. Personally I loved it, I feel it is a great opportunity to connect with nature. For more information about the park, you can visit its website in this link.

Pascual Alba, our guide through the Oncol Park

 

Visit to Niebla: Even with some time available in the afternoon, but very late to get to know the fort located here, I visited Niebla, it is very worth going because the views both on the way and in the place are truly beautiful. At the corner of the main square that faces the village, there is a very picturesque café to enjoy a hot drink.

The stunning view from Niebla

 

Visit to the Kunstmann brewery: pioneer among the country’s artisanal breweries, it is located between Niebla and Valdivia and is therefore a must stop on the way. In addition to the different varieties of their own beers, they have a food menu for all tastes, as well as a souvenir shop of the brand, for those who want to buy souvenirs related to the brewing culture.

Back in Valdivia, you will see that the city is full of nightlife, mainly because it is a university city. I opted to take advantage of my visit coinciding with the twenty-fourth version of the Valdivia International Film Festival, to enjoy a movie before heading to rest.

Sunday: Most flights to Santiago leave in the afternoon, buses are usually more comfortable to travel at night, for this reason you will still have several hours available for activities.

Fluvial market: in front of the bridge Pedro de Valdivia, this market comes alive in the mornings with the fishermen offering their fresh fish and seafood to take away. Markets are for me one of the must-sees of each city, because they reflect very well the life and activity of a city.

walking along the Calle Calle river and ejoying the fresh air of the city

Visit the botanic garden of the Austral university: another unforgettable panorama is the visit to the botanical garden, for this you will only need to cross to Isla Teja and go to the right, there you will find the entrance to the Austral University and just beyond Botanical Garden.

Take a kayak tour through the rivers: for the more adventurous, you will find kayaking activities that last from 2 to 5 hours, can do bird watching, with specialized equipment, etc. These activities range from $ 25,000 Chilean pesos (about 40 USD)  and can see all the information in Pueblito expeditions.

Lots of activities that take place in the rivers

Lunch at the Municipal Market: emblematic building next to the Calle Calle river, in front of the Pedro de Valdivia bridge, here, in addition to the local handicrafts, you will find some restaurants with preparations of fresh seafood such as Pulmay or fried empanadas, the dozen of empanadas has a value of $ 4000 Chilean pesos (about 7 USD)  .

 

As you will see both Valdivia and its surroundings have a lot to offer and its tourist activity is backed by the Panamerican Tourism Development Program (PDP) and co-financed by CORFO. Within this framework, small entrepreneurs have grouped together to strengthen the activities carried out in the area, ensuring the development of high quality services with high added value. If you want to meet these small entrepreneurs, you can visit the following link to support the local entrepreneurship and enjoy quality services during your visit to “Los Ríos” Region.

What do you think of this itinerary? This is my second time in this beautiful city and it still looks beautiful to me, but much more developed than 10 years ago, again I am looking forward to return again, this time for more days.

This trip was carried out in the framework of a Press Trip in which we participated together with Rosi Guimaraes of the blog Nos nò Chile representing AChileTB.

 

Blooming Desert, Atacama, Chile: how to enjoy it in only one weekend

Blooming Desert, Atacama, Chile: how to enjoy it in only one weekend

This year, the Blooming Desert, in the Atacama region of Chile is promised to be one of the best in history because of the large number of unusual rains that have hit the region this past March. I decided that I could not pass up the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.

As you know, I have a job that can become quite demanding but in the blog I have proposed myself to show you that this should not stop you from traveling as much as you can. so here I write everything you need to know to go see the Desert Flowered in just 1 weekend.

Friday (day 1)

As soon as the work day was done, I left quickly to the airport of Santiago where I had flight to the city of Copiapó at 18:57 hrs. There are currently three airlines flying to this destination and my choice was a low cost flight. I only had a carry-on suitcase, which saves time from having to deal with baggage claim.  

I arrived in Copiapó at about 8:15 p.m. and went to the module of the rent a car company where I had a reservation. Contrary to what you might think, renting car in this area is quite cheap (prices from $ 15,000 Chilean pesos per day, which is about 25 dollars) and you gain the freedom to travel as you like.

Once I was handed the car, a KIA Rio, I headed towards Playa “Las Machas”, on the side of Bahía Inglesa, where I had a reservation of my first accommodation (20 minutes from the airport). From there I ate and had a beer watching a sky with the most stars I’ve ever seen. Then it was off to get some rest for energy.

 

Sunrise at my “ruca” in “Las Machas” beach

 

Recommendations day 1:

  • If you are traveling in low cost airline do not forget to follow the rules of carry-on luggage. Remember that these airlines win when we make mistakes exceeding the measurements of carry-on luggage.

 

  • If you decide to rent a car, do not hesitate to do so in advance, this mainly for 2 reasons; the first is that there are good discounts if you book in advance and the second is that on that day, the people who wanted to rent couldn’t because there wasn’t enough cars. In that sense I saved time, money and a bad time.

 

  • The  requirements for renting a car generally include being of legal driving age, having a valid driver’s license and a credit card that they can use as collateral. When receiving the car do not forget to check it well so that later they do not charge anything else.

 

  • Regarding the type of car don’t worry, for me at least it was not necessary to rent a 4x4. I walked along many unpaved roads and there was no drama, obviously always driving with caution. It would be ideal if the car is not low-lying, and it is useful to carry a mobile device charger for the car.

 

Saturday (day 2):

The plan was to leave early in search of the blooming desert, so at about 8 am.  I loaded myself with a nice breakfast have enough energy before leaving. Before leaving the road, I stopped in Bahía Inglesa to investigate why it is being syndicated as one of the best beaches in Chile and I was lucky enough to enjoy this practically empty beach.

Certainly at times the color of the sea makes you think that you are in the Caribbean (until you dare to put one foot in, of course). It is definitely a place I plan to return to and I think this season is ideal to do, between August and November, before the peak season starts, and with an equally sunny climate.

 

Bahía Inglesa beach

 

Amazing water colour at Bahía Inglesa

 

The phenomenon of the Blooming Desert is occurring in several areas of the region, but a particular image made me excited: to find the carpets of flowers called “Pata de Guanaco” small flowers of an intense fuchsia color.

I got tips that I could see them in all their splendor about 60 kms away in the opposite direction to the coast, arriving at the crossing to Nantoco but taking the reverse route C-397 which was a dirt road from where it was necessary to travel about 7 km more or less away from the coast. So I went there, and well, the pictures speak for themselves. Here on the map I show you the exact point I’m talking about:

 

Nantoco crossing and the area where you can see flower carpets

Along with the flowers you will be able to see lots of lizards, desert cows an

d, what most attracted my attention without a doubt, to see that among the flowers there are lots of shells of sea snails, 60 kilometers from the coast! Which certainly makes us realize how much the geography of this place has changed over the years.

 

Flowers and more flowers

“coronillas de fraile” / “patas de guanaco”

 

“suspiros de campo”/ “flor del jote”

 

After enjoying this place for a long time, filling me with that powerful energy of nature and taking advantage of taking good photographs, I left for my second lodging in the city of Copiapo. Here I rested, ate and -re-charged batteries for the next day.

Recommendations day 2:

  • Respect the trails. When approaching the areas where the blooming desert is reaching its peak, follow the trails and do not tread for any reason. Do not hinder the development of the flowers nor that of their seeds for an upcoming flowering. Leave the car where the tracks are.

 

  • Do not forget the sun block, in the north of Chile the sun hits strong and more when you are enjoying nature. Use sun block.

 

  • If, like me you are prone to being insect bait, use some repellent hopefully biodegradable. You will see that along with the flowers develop a lot of insects in this seasonal ecosystem (yes, something stung me, I have no idea what).

 

  • If you consume some food take your trash and for no reason leave cigarettes in the area. Let’s keep this place remain free from the disasters that man causes.

 

Sunday (day 3)

With the satisfaction of having seen what I thought was the best of the blooming desert, I wanted to dedicate this last day to know another of the points of interest of the region. The beach “La Virgen” another of the syndicated as the best in Chile, so after breakfast I prepared to drive to the area.

 

“la Virgen” beach

 

“la Virgen” beach, from above

 

I had heard that the blooming desert phenomenon was also developing on the coastal roads of the Atacama region but I did not pay much attention. What surprised me on the way to “Playa la Virgen” and from there towards Puerto Viejo, I came across the landscapes that I show below, again nature leaving me speechless.

 

blooming desert between “la Virgen” beach and “Puerto Viejo”

 

From La Virgen beach, the caretaker of the entrance told us to follow a path that led to Puerto Viejo as you can see from the images I took above. I took this road from the parking lot of the beach immediately to the left and you have to follow precarious signposts on the stones, but the footprints are well marked and the road is not difficult.

When arriving at Puerto Viejo, I made the mistake of taking the road that on the map below that will look like C-302, there is no warning that this road ahead was cut by the March flood, so I had to return . I had to take C-358 again, then return me by C-324 and take C-318 towards Bahia Inglesa.

 

Map

 

Already with the satisfaction of having filled my senses with these visual beauties, I decided to go and taste the seafood which the area is known for, I returned to Bahia Inglesa to relax in one of the restaurants on the seashore. Particularly in one they offered live oysters which is one of the outstanding seafood in the area, and therefore had to try them.

Oysters alive / to eat raw with lemon juice / or parmesan style with white wine

 

After eating, I took the route to the airport which took about 20 minutes, I returned the car in the corrals of the airport and waited for my flight back to Santiago at 18:30 hrs. With the happiness of having disconnected from my routine, having been faced with a unique natural phenomenon, and proving once again that Chile has a lot to offer.

 

Recommendations day 3:

  • Return the car with a full tank of gasoline. I returned it with just one less line and charged me disproportionately for this fault.

 

  • Take advantage of trying the local food. The Oysters are an excellent choice for the area. If you don’t like them raw, certainly it is worth eating them Parmesan-style, cooked with cheese and white wine.

I hope this article has helped you to organize and realize that even with little time you can enjoy the wonders of Chile and this phenomenon which, this year is being seen in spectacular way! Would  you dare to go see?

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