We’ve drawn out South America for long enough, at this point, that even we are beginning to be bored by it. We spent about 10 days in Chile: in Patagonia, in the Chilean lake district, and in Santiago. Chile was by far the most expensive country that we visited in South America. After Peru and Bolivia, we saw the general prices for things rise somewhat in Argentina. But even so, by the time we go to Chile we were surprised at how much things cost.
Nevertheless, Chile is a beautiful country, with an amazingly diverse environment. We spent 4-5 days in Chilean Patagonia, a barren, wind-swept landscape entirely different from the lake district. We rented a car in Puerto Montt and drove north, to Temuco, through a landscape of volcanoes, holsteins, and quaint Germanic-looking towns. This part of the country, with its rich volcanic soil, makes it the bread basket of Chile (and the world). We only got as far as Santiago, which is sort of at the waist of this long skinny country, but it is a vibrant city filled with interesting architecture and culture.
We spent a few days in Santiago, and intended to take a day trip out to Valparaiso, but it poured the only day we really had to do that, and we preferred to spend it warm and dry. Call us wimps, but we've learned that it isn't worth making yourself miserable to see something that everyone else tells you that you must do. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, put it on the list for "next time." We learn, we grow.
We hope you enjoy the photos of Chile. Our internet access here in Australia hasn't been ideal, so a SkyDrive slideshow was the
best way to get the pictures uploaded so you all can see them. If there is anything you want to know more about, leave a comment and we'll go into more detail. We've tried to caption all the photos in SkyDrive, and a few have additional comments as well, so hopefully that helps.