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Our plan was to spend a few days in the Atacama Desert, Patagonia and on Easter Island. I found a good flight deal from the US to Chile about 5 months before our trip. After booking, the flight to Chile I started looking for flights to Easter Island and, to my surprise, I found that all Easter Island flights were booked solid from October to the end of January. Even the airline could not help. So, if you want to go to Easter Island, my advice is to verify seat availability before you book the international flight to Chile.
As we have plans to do more travelling in South America, I exchanged Easter Island with a trip through the Chilean wine region to Valpariso and extended our stays in the Atacama desert and Patagonia.
Santiago - Palacio de la Moneda
On our first morning we did a walking tour and one of the first stops was the Change of Guards at Palacio de la Moneda.
Vina del Mar
Our first destination was Castelo Wulff, which was converted into a German-style castle in 1917.
From there, it is an easy walk to Flower Clock and Playa Caleta Abarca. Playa Caleta Abarca is a nice sandy beach right in town and my first chance to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean in Chile.
Downtown Valparaiso is a busy place with lots of cars, narrow roads, many one-way roads and construction.
This plaza is in the center of busy Valparaiso, but somehow it felt relaxing. After an exhausting parking spot hunt, we sat down at a Starbucks in the plaza and did some people watching. While sitting there, we saw many colorful buses drive by and several of them painted in the German national colors and we saw typical German fire trucks with German writing on it.
From there, we took a vernacular (Ascensor Peral) that up a steep hill to the top of Cerro Alegre. Up on the top, after exiting the building, you come to an overlook with a great view of lower Valparaiso and the ocean. Walk along Passeo Yugoslavo to Palazio Baburizza.
Our hotel in Santiago: Hotel Casa Zañartu
Hotel Casa Zañartu is a nice historic hotel in close walking distance to many of Santiago’s attractions incl. the subway. On the downside, it has no parking and they advise their customers to park at one of the parking garages a few blocks away. We arrived after midnight and at that time, all parking garages were closed. They advised me that I could park in a side street close to the hotel but that I would need to move the car before 8am or risk getting a parking ticket.
Well, I got up early and moved the car to a parking garage and did not get a parking ticket.
The hotel itself is in a historic building and the decoration goes along with the historic charm. A small breakfast was included in the price.