Our fifth and final country in our journey around South America, Chile, was a country of contrast. From some of the highest of highs to the the lowest of lows to date, we certainly did not go wanting for experiences. In our pre-trip research, we remembered reading that people often spent about the same as they did in Argentina. So, we planned for the same, expecting to spend $45 per person per day. How did we do?
|Days in Country:||42|
|Daily Per Person:||$44.70|
Pretty good guess, eh? Here's the breakdown:
|Money Spent||% of Budget|
Accommodation is unsurprisingly our #1 expense - we spent 3 weeks in Santiago and our apartment rental was $37 per day after redeeming a few points against our AirBnB purchase. Also, staying in one location so long, we didn’t spend as much money on Transport, often our #1 expense in South America. We still spent a good amount though, since we had two 24 hour bus rides (to San Pedro de Atacama and back) and plenty of taxis and metro fares whilst in Santiago. We also rented a car/scooter for most of the days we were on Easter Island.
We spent more on Groceries than we usually do as we made great use of the kitchen in our apartment. Eating Out was on par with our usual spend percentage wise, which is a little surprising looking back as I felt like we cooked many meals. I suppose that’s indicative of the fact that eating out in Chile is not cheap: a lunch at Subway at the outlet malls was $13.91! Prices in Santiago at the restaurants we went to were comparable to similar restaurants in LA and, while the food scene in Chile isn’t great, our friend Chloe did a great job introducing us to some of the better options around town. In the same vein, our Going Out spending was higher than usual as she took us to some really fun events and we spent a few evenings hanging out with her and her friends, including a great New Year’s Eve.
Tours this time only includes our time trekking Torres del Paine. Miscellaneous includes laundry, gifts, replacing a broken lightbulb at our apartment in Santiago, and a few Chilean pesos left in an airplane seat-pocket for whoever found them on our flight to French Polynesia.
Chile in Retrospect
We had two of our best experiences on our trip so far in trekking Torres del Paine and exploring the many moai and natural beauty of Easter Island. We did our best with the picture-happy posts to give you an idea of how incredible these places are, but the aura we felt in these places was indescribable and will forever be held within us. We accomplished firsts in both places - first time hiking self-sufficiently and first time driving a scooter - that bolster our opinion of them even greater. We really loved both of these experiences and it shows in our faces whenever someone asks us about them.
We also had our worst experience on our trip so far in my bag being stolen on our way to San Pedro de Atacama. Unfortunately, it’s a memory that will forever jade our memories of our time in Chile, despite our best efforts not to let it. I remember vividly the gut-wrenching disbelief from the moment I realized my bag was really gone and when I think about it, I start to feel the week and a half of near-constant stress that accompanied it. But, as I said in the post before, losing my bag was a positive in some ways. My whole new wardrobe still fits me very well and I’ve come to love traveling with so little “stuff”. We had to change our plans and head to Santiago early, but we lucked out on a great apartment and had a fantastic Christmas abroad, enjoying a delicious roast chicken with potatoes gratin and copious wine and cola de mono.
There was also a lot of Chile that we didn’t explore on this trip that we wanted to. La Serena and the Elqui Valley - where we had planned to spend Christmas - are high on the list of where to go if/when we return to Chile. And if we aren’t headed to Antarctica, Chiloé Island and the lands south of Coyahique top the list of what we will be heading back for in Patagonia.
But now (after one more unique post), we bid adieu to South America and head across the Pacific so that Anaïs can speak her native language and we can relax our travel weary bodies for a short while in a little slice of paradise.