Studying in Valparaiso, Chile this semester, I am taking advantage of traveling everywhere else possible– and you should too! Here are three weekend trips to get you started:
1. Pucón, Chile – Pucón lies about 10 hours south of Valparaíso. Ten hours may seem too far away for just a weekend, but with Chile’s transportation system, it’s very convenient to take an overnight bus there (not to mention the buses are extremely comfortable and you can sleep the entire way in your “semi-bed” seat!) Then, you arrive the next morning and can start your day right away! There are an endless amount of activities in Pucón. It is truly a nature-lovers paradise! Pucón is known best for its volcanoes – some of which are still active today! The highlight of my personal trip there was hiking Volcano Quetrupillan. It took about five hours to reach the top and about three to come down. The breathtaking view that awaited me, however, was far worth any amount of time. Seeing the inside of a volcano is truly a once in a lifetime experience. If you’re not into hiking, have no fear. Between rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, zip lining, or just lounging at the lake, it is impossible to be bored in Pucón.
2. Santiago, Chile – A city of 6 million inhabitants, Santiago is an urban delight. Lying just one hour of Valparaíso, there are buses that leave every fifteen minutes, night and day. While in Santiago, be sure not to miss out on the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. There, you can ascend Cerro San Cristobal, where a stunning view of the entire city awaits, as well as an impressive statue of the Virgin Mary. To get down from the hill, taking the funicular, or incline, is a must! It runs at a 45 degree incline and gives an outstanding look at Santiago. Also, Pablo Neruda’s La Chascona (one of his three enchanting homes) will not disappoint. Poetry lover or not, his home contains historic artifacts, endless art, and allows an otherwise unseen look at his incredible life. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a big city, Santiago is the place for you!
3. Playas del Norte – Lying just an hour north of Valparaíso are a string of beautiful beaches also accessible by bus. First stop, Horcón: Horcón is like nowhere else I have been in Chile. It is a gritty, spunky town of gypsies and hippies and has a true spirit of its own! Known for its fresh seafood and artisans, Horcón is one of the most unique places around. In contrast, the next beach along the line, Zapallar, is calm, collected, clean, and extremely tasteful. One of the most expensive places to own real estate in Chile, you’ll really feel like a movie-star for the day!
Want to see more about Chile? Check out “5 Surprises about Studying Abroad in Valparaiso, Chile”