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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Chile - Argentina part 2 6.11-13.12.23

After arriving in Santiago de Chile, we immediately take the plane to Easter Island. We are greeted by our host with a wreath of flowers and, after a short tour of Hanga Roa, taken to the very personally managed hotel.

Our tour the next morning begins with a visit to Vinapu and the ceremonial village of Orongo, where the ancient Tangata Manu competition was held to choose the head of the 15 clans for the coming year.

The highlight is a visit to the Rano Kau volcano with the overwhelming sight of the crater lake with a diameter of one and a half kilometers.

The next day, we first head to Rano Raraku, the quarry where all the moais were sculpted from the tufa rock and distributed to their locations across the island. Today, most of the sculptures can be seen here in various stages of completion on the island.

From the quarry, you can get your first glimpse of the fascinating Tongariki.

There you will find the largest Ahu (Moai platform) on the island with the 15 Moais which were knocked over by a tsunami and restored in the 1990s.

We then visit a replica of a former village and spend a few hours on the only large sandy beach with more moais and a few remnants of the island, which used to be completely covered in palm trees.

For dinner we enjoy the sunset, of course with a view of Moais.

And then it's time to say goodbye to this fascinating island with its mystical places and fly back to Santiago. The next day we continue straight away to Viña del Mar, where we check into the small, lovingly run Esencia Boutique Hotel.

We take a guided tour of Valparaiso, where we are told a lot about the history of the city.

Afterwards, we take one of the many short funiculars to the colorful old town with its winding alleyways. There, the guide shows us the most impressive murals and explains the different techniques and styles.

The next day, we drive north along the coast past elegant houses. On the way, we stop to climb the dunes ...

... and in Zapallar we hike up the small, flower-covered hill 'Cerro de la Cruz', stroll along the beautifully developed beach path and watch the action on the wild beach.

On the way to Santiago, we make a stop in Valle Casablanca - where mainly white wines are grown - for lunch with wine accompaniment at the modern winery Kingston's Vineyards.

Now it's time for a 2 week break in a vacation apartment in Santiago in the modern Providencia district.

Nearby, we take the cable car to Cerro San Cristóbal, where we marvel at the city from above. On the way back, we visit the Japanese Garden with its beautiful view of the Torre Costanera, where you can take the elevator to the 61st floor to enjoy the view.

A little tip for an outstanding, but also expensive Japanese restaurant is Karai by Mitsuharu.

We then spend three days in the wine region of the Calchagua Valley in Nancagua, where Chile's famous red wines come from. Of course we do wine tastings at various producers and the Marquis winery is very friendly. It's quite small, everything is very personal and the wines are excellent.

We have lunch at Viu Monent and Montes in their excellent restaurants and taste their first-class wines, especially Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We drive via Chillan to Pucon, a rather fashionable ski and adventure resort. The planned hike in Huerquehue National Park falls through because it has been raining quite heavily. We therefore visit the two waterfalls Ojos del Caburga and Mariman in the area and enjoy the beautiful landscape with its flowering broom.

We continue on a beautiful drive to Argentina to the small town of San Martin de los Andes, always keeping an eye on the Villarica or Lanin volcano.

Today's short stage to Villa la Angostura on the winding Ruta Siete Lagos more than lives up to its name, as only the larger lakes directly on the road are counted. There are also many dreamy lagoons hidden in the forest and a few waterfalls.

We check into the luxurious Calfuco Wine Hotel & Spa, enjoy the beautiful secluded beach with a magnificent view of the lake and the impressive sunset during our excellent dinner.

We spend just under a week in Bariloche, just outside the bustling city center, in a vacation apartment with a view of the beautiful Nahuel Nuapi Lake. There are countless excursions to undertake here.

First, we go on a highly recommended hike up Cerro San Martin with a magnificent view of the surrounding lakes.

You could actually enjoy this hike all by yourself, but it just so happens that a mountain race with 1000 runners over 100 km is taking place over three days and this race leads right up our mountain today. Even a helicopter is there to take photos of the runners.

It is definitely worth taking the long day trip to the 'Los Alerces' waterfall and Cerro Tronador. The gravel roads can only be used in one direction at certain times, which can result in some unwanted waiting times. The first stop is the Los Alerces waterfall with rainbows in the cascading water.

Afterwards, the dusty dirt road leads in 2 hours to the foot of the mighty Cerro Tronador and we take a short hike to the Garganta del Diablo waterfall.

The next stop is at the green glacial lake with a few ice floes from the black glacier flowing into it.

Another beautiful short hike takes us directly to the foot of the 'Saltillo de las Nalcas', another impressive waterfall.

Our last excursion is the Circuito Chico, a round trip with a good hour's drive. In Llao Llao Park we take a short walk to the Tacul viewpoint through the beautiful forest and stop at Escondido Lake. The most impressive spot is on the way back at Punto Panoramico.

Now it's back to Chile, where we continue through the lake district and onto the Carretera Austral.

 

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