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La Serena , Ovalle , Valparaiso , Vina del Mar , Chillan , Pucon , Puerto Montt , Puerto Natales , Torres del Paine

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Travel time: January 99

1 USD = 525 Peso.

Chile has such a lot to offer that everybody should find his place here. From desert to lakes, mountains to seaside, large cities and nature. It´s not that cheap but good developed.

Most people are friendly and helpful. In the main tourist areas a lot of them can speak English. Theft are not common except some places in the capital.

Busses are comfortable, mostly punctual and the best to travel around. To popular destinations especially on weekend you should buy your ticket at least two days in advance.

No problem to cash Dollars. It´s more difficult to exchange other currency. As far as you are from Santiago as worse will be the exchanging rate.

At the cheap hostel you have a gas heater for the shower. Some are switched on only a few hours at day, some you have to start yourself which is sometimes quite difficult and to adjust the right temperature is nearly impossible. Be prepared to jump off the shower before you get frozen or cooked.

La Serena
This is the place for beach activities, 6 kilometer long with short surfs, less crowded but good shadowed and a very relaxing city.

The Hotel Pacifico, Edo. de la Barra 252, Tel: 051 225674, has rooms for 12$ per person at the backyard with own tiny shower. The rooms in the main building have shared shower and some no windows. It´s clean here and the staff is very friendly.

Cyber café Internet at Cordovez 285, Tel: 051 212187, E-mail: , has helpful staff, quick connection, offer meals and drinks for reasonable prices. .

A day trip to Coquimbo (0.5$, 0.5h) is great. They might have finished the construction on El Cruz III on the hilltop which will be a very nice viewpoint. The way back to La Serena you can walk on the shore side which takes 4 hours. But be sure to have some sun cream left.

The night bus to Vina del Mar is 12.5$, leaves at 11.30 PM and arrive at Vina 7 AM.

It´s a nice relaxing village where the time seams to go slower. Nothing special here except you.

The Hotel Roxy at Libertad 155, Tel: 053 620080, is the place to stay for longer. They have nice clean rooms with washbowls. All rooms are located to a counter yard TV is also available. A room with shared good shower is 8.5$ per person.

Especially around Christmas is a big holy event in Andacollo which is close to Ovalle. They perform the Fiesta Lady of the Rosary with hundreds of dancers and drummers in historical dresses and thousands of spectators. It´s one of the biggest events in Chile. To catch a bus from Ovalle to Andacollo at that time is no problem. The ride takes 2 hours and cost 4$.

The bus to La Serena will cost you 2.5$ and takes 2 hours.

It´s busy here and half of the city is on the hillside which makes distance longer than it looks. For beaches you have to go to Vina. The biggest event is the new years party with a great firework and street party till dawn.

At Calle Abtao 668, Tel: 032 210737, you´ll find a great place to stay. It´s an old house with wooden floors but clean and the owners are friendly. From the roof top you have a great view over the city. For a double room with shared toilet / shower you have to pay 5$ per person. It´close to the pier Muelle Prat. Map

At Muelle Prat is a very useful tourist information (closed between 12 AM and 3 PM). Basic informations are available at .

The bus to Ovalle (12$, Pullman) is leaving the bus terminal at 12 AM and reaching Ovalle at 6 PM.

Vina del Mar
is the beach resort for the people from Santiago. The city is busy and spitted into an old and a new part. The beach is crowded and surfs are short.

Especially before new year it´s quite tricky to find accommodation. I managed to get a room at Residential Victoria, Av. Valparaiso 40, Tel: 032 977370, for 12$. From outside it looks like to be pulled down next day and inside you´ll find the same outlook but you might like this ancient feeling here. A bus stop to Valparaiso is just around the corner where every 15 min. is leaving one for 0.40$.

Internet access is available at Av. Valparaiso 196 and 279 for 4$, at Av. Valparaiso 651, Galeria Florida 1st floor for 3$ per hour.

A bus to Chillan is 15$ leaving at 10 AM from the bus terminal and takes 9 hours.

It´s very sleepy here. Nothing special but the nature around the city is great. Hills, rivers, farming fields, nothing special like I told.

Sorry, but the Hospedaje Sonja Segui is the best place in town. At Av. Itata 288, Tel: 042 223931, they offer beds for 7$ including a great breakfast, have clean double rooms with good beds and shared shower, a TV room, cooking facilities, laundry and a locked garage. It´s very familiar and relaxing here.

There is a Cyber cafe at Av. Libertad 360 which charge 3$ per hour including a cafe.

The bus to Pucon is leaving daily at 2 PM for 8$ and takes 6 hours.

is very touristy especially in January and February. It´s difficult to find cheap accommodation at that time. For further information refer .

Hospedaje Lucia at Lincoyan 445 offer tiny rooms for only 8$ per person. They have cooking facilities and a small garden. No hot shower after 10 PM but its friendly here.

At Hospedaje Sonia, Lincoyan 485, Tel: 045 441269, they charge 14$ for a single and 20$ for a double room in high season. The have cooking facilities and two showers. It´s not nice and worth the money to stay here.

The Club 77 on Av. O´Higgins 635 offer daily meals for around 7$ which are good and plentiful.

Brinck House at Av. Ansorena 243 offer Internet for cheap prices.

The adventure company Sol Y Nieve on Av. O´Higgins corner Lincoyan has very good equipment and offer class IV rafting (20$, 1.5 hours on the water) Pic and climbing volcano Villarrica (40$, 9 hours). Both was very enjoyable and worth the money. Especially on the volcano they offered gas masks to avoid the poisonous fumes which are necessary if you want to stay longer at the crater. For the raft you should bring some slippers with you, because you have to walk around a class VI spot. More details are available at .

There is no central bus terminal anymore. Every bus companies has their own terminal now.

Bus Sur is leaving to Puerto Montt at 10 AM for 9$.

Puerto Montt
The area around the harbor is nice with a lot of souvenir shops and restaurants offer fresh sea food.

The Hostel Suizo at Independencia 231, Tel: 065 252640, offer clean rooms, good shower and a great breakfast for 10$ per person. They have a looked car park, a small garden and a living room. Its very friendly and a lot of Swiss/Germans are staying here. Map

If you search for a local pub go to Terraza la Primavera, Av. Angelmo 2446 (close to Navimag), Tel: 065 254679. On the ground floor you´ll find a pub where the locals are drinking the cheap beer and wine. On Sunday and Monday they offer "Curendo", a brilliant sea food BBC on the first floor with live music.

At the end of Av. Angelmo close to the harbor is a "food court" which is specialized for sea food and quite cheap.

Internet is available at Latin Star, Av. Angelmo 1684, for 3$ per hour with speedy connections. They offer also phone calls to Europe for 0.7$ per minute, have the best exchanging rates for USD and a book exchange. Map

Another good Cyber cafe is Mundosur at San Martin 232, . It´s open daily form 10 AM to 12 PM. Map

A trip to Puerto Varas is quite nice and you might see the Volcano Osorno from here if the weather is good. Busses are leaving every 20 minutes from the bus terminal for 0.7$.

The day trip to the Chiloe island will cost you 20$ with Tamitur company. Tickets are available at the bus terminal. The trip was depressing for me because most of the forest of the Chiloe was burned down a few years ago to have more farming land. At the end of the trip the driver "charged" us for a tip.

To Puerto Natales take the ferry M/N Puerto Eden managed by Navimag, . The cheapest ticket will cost you 200$ in the 24-bedroom-Economica-class which is not that bad. The meals are good and the crew keeps you going when the weather is poor. The trip is very enjoyable and the countryside is scenic so take enough films with you. Patricio at can make a reservation for you also for Economica tickets. It takes a while (2-3 weeks) to receive the reservation number which you need at the ticket counter in Puerto Montt.

To Punta Arenas you have the choice taking a bus (38$, 32 hours) or the plane (100$, 2 hours).

Puerto Natales
appears to be the end of the world but everything is available as well as camping equipment. It´s a very scenic village and most of the people are living from fishing.

To stay at Adventure Patagonia, Av. Tomas Rogers 179, Tel: 061 411028, is very enjoyable. They charge 7$ per person including a basic breakfast. It´s clean here with cooking facilities, a locked garage and free left luggage service. Map .The staff is very friendly and helpful.

The Hostel Concepto Indigo at Ladrilleros 105, Tel: 061 413609, has rooms for 15$ per person, a vegetarian restaurant, Internet, laundry, storage room and a climbing wall.

Casa Evelyn at Av. Valdivia 708, Tel: 061 410622, is offering cheap rooms with breakfast, cooking facilities, baggage storage.

Internet access is possible at M.Bulnes 386 for 5$ or at El Rincon del Tata, Av. Arturo Prat 236

Laundry service is available at Av. C.Bories 90 for 4$ or at M.Bulnes 513.

The Bus Sur to El Calafate is leaving Mon., Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat. at 9 AM for 20$ takes 5 hours.

A bus to the Torres is leaving every day for 12$ return.

Torres del Paine   Round Torres
The entrance fee for the park is 12.5$.

From the entrance is a mini bus going to Campo Torre for 3$.

If you want to hike around the Torres here some basic information:
- The best is to hike counter clock wise (like described here) so it´s more easy to cross the pass John Garner.
- At Campo Serno you have to pay 4$ per person. They offer hot shower and a basic store. The landscape is very nice here.
- Campo Coiron is for free. No shower or toilet and you have to search for a flat place. The river nearby is the only source of water so stay high.
- At refugio Dickson they offer hot shower, a basic shop and good camping for 3.5$.
- Campo los Perros charge 3.2$ for camping with cold shower and a basic shop. If it´s raining don´t go further because it will be very muddy up the mountain and the steep way down from the pass be dangerous.
- The campo Paso is for free but no flat place and water is here instead of a lot of flies.
- Campo los Guardas is also for free. It´s a good, calm spot with fresh water nearby.
- At refugio Gray you have to pay 3.2$ per person to pitch a tent close to the Lago Gray. They offer cold shower and have a basic shop. If you like swimming with icebergs this is the place.
- Campo Pehoe is very windy and charge 3.5$ per person. They have shower and a basic shop.
- The campo Italiano is for free, has flat and calm space but no shower and toilet. Water you can get at the nearby river.
- Refugio los Cuernos charges 4$ per person and tent. It´s windy here but you can get hot shower and basic food. For 1$ extra you can use their kitchen.
- At hosteria las Torres you have to pay 4$ per person but they have flat space, BBC areas, hot shower and a living room with cooking facilities in the main building.

A useful map No.13 "Torres del Paine" is offered by #123 ENTEL (the phone company). The map shows the different hikes in details including the time.

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