On our journey south, we booked a night in Viña del Mar with AirBnB as we needed some sleep and were over camping/sleeping in the car. We drove along the coastal route through Concón, which was so busy despite being overcast, to get to Viña. Our accomodation was interesting… It seemed like an attic with tiny steps up to it and no wifi – not exactly what was promised on the site. It cost us $13,500 CLP in cash (approx. $29 NZD), so at least it was cheap. We walked around Viña and found a delicious burger place (Quinto Poniente) for dinner with 2×1 Pisco sours. It was a bit more pricey than what we would usually spend, costing us $25,000 CLP (approx. $54 NZD) for 2 burgers and 3 drinks but worth it.The next day we booked a different place to stay in Valparaiso for 2 nights, which was really nice. It cost us $83 NZD for both nights. Here we walked around the markets, and did a free walking tour of the city. The artwork was a highlight but other than that, there wasn’t a lot to do here, other than partying.
After exploring Valpo and Viña, we drove back to Santiago to pick up my new NZ passport before the long drive south to Valdivia. This took us 10 hours including stops. Our original plan was to have stops along the way down, however, due to all of the fires, a lot of the National Parks were inaccessible or closed. Planning doesn’t seem to pay off when Mother Nature gets in the way!
We spent some much needed down time back in Valdivia. During our time here we recouped, did washing and finally felt clean! We planned our next adventures, repacked, and caught up with friends.
We had a weekend at Huilo Huilo National Park. This wasn’t quite what we expected. We camped in Neltume, which cost $4,000 CLP each (approx. $9 NZD), which was right by the river with good facilities. We walked to the National Park to see two waterfalls, with an entrance fee of $3,000 CLP each for the sendero (approx. $7 NZD). The next day we drove down to Puerto Fuy, which was a beautiful lake before we went to see the amazing and expensive hotels and another waterfall, this had an entrance fee of $2,500 CLP each (approx. $5 NZD). The waterfalls were nice, but it seemed so ‘foreign’ to have to pay to visit them, however, this is a “for-profit” national park. On our drive back, we didn’t notice that the road became one way and almost drove the wrong way onto Ruta 5! Luckily we noticed before a bus ran into us… Still learning to navigate the roads here.
While in Valdivia, we spent our time relaxing and enjoying ourselves. We spent an afternoon at the beach in Curiñanco, we did a lovely walk through Parque Oncol, watched my best friend Amber finish day 3 of her 4 day Zolkan race, tried a few new restaurants (El Growler, Sombun, Tilo Restobar), went running along the river and watched a couple of Colo-Colo football games. We got ourselves ready for our next mission… Attempt 2 into Argentina to renew our visas!