Puerto Montt (July 4 - 5, 2016)
This city is said to be good only for taking a flight and not sightseeing. I agree. Even though Puerto Montt is by the South Pacific Ocean, the buildings do not reflect a good vibe and I generally had a sense of unease. In addition, the average prices of accommodation and food are higher. Originally we wanted to stop by Puerto Vallarta, which has raving reviews of beauty, but since we already purchased our plane ticket and forced to waste a day in Pucon to trek the volcano due to weather, we had to skip Puerto Vallarta. The two places are roughly 20min apart. So maybe staying in Puerto Vallarta and transporting to the airport from there would be worth the extra complication. At least we spent less than 24 hours here before we departed at the airport.
Punta Arenas (July 5 - 7, 2016)
Landing in Punta Arenas we could feel the cold. Glad I had my newly acquired gloves. This city is most southern urbanization on South America mainland; the furthest away from the equator during their winter means freezing.
I celebrated my birthday here! Down here the prices for accommodation is shocking (expect at least $16 a night), but luckily someone gifted me the stay as a present (Thank you). The prices aren’t justified. Many luxury cruises depart here which boost up the costs. We wanted to see wild penguins, but a Chinese guy in our hostel discouraged us. He was disappointed with the small count viewable. Not penguin season. That saved us $70 each. Yay! When we get to Africa we should see some there for less money.
Instead my travel companion hacked out a plan to celebrate my special day. The day started out fabulous. Got treated to a professional 1-hour massage. He had researched a great restaurant for lunch. At arrival, we got surprised by a locked door and lights out. Confused we turned to the internet. Apparently the restaurant is closes between lunch and dinner, so we assumed we hit the between stage. We’ll be back for dinner. Instead we went to a positively rated tea shop and split a meal. I loved the décor, but the food was undistinguished. High five for splitting a dish.
The reason for eating a small lunch was to chow down on cake after. Desserts around this place are weirdly flavored. We patronized a smaller bakery nearby the hostel. His cakes looked beautiful. We picked three slices and shared. Throughout Chile I kept seeing this pink jello cake thing and my curiosity has compiled over time. Couldn’t resist. Tastes just as it sounds. The other slices left desires for richer flavors as well.
Stuffed, we walked off newly gained calories by sightseeing. The best part was the vantage point. Sitting down, we took in the scenery. Eventually our freezing butts signaled the need to move on. Uncertain on where to go, we slipped into a Swiss chocolate café. We were still full, but wanted to splurge on an expensive hot chocolate anyways. And the drink was delicious! Best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Slowly sipping our beverage, we stalled time until dinner. We didn’t care that the service was subpar, but receiving an increased bill was frustrating. Worse that they didn’t take the charge off after our request. The extra charge wasn’t much, but the principle got us.
Trying to walk off our simmer, the lunch restaurant was still closed. According to TripAdvisor the restaurant would open in two hours. Having returned to the hostel, we bridged the time watching fun shows. When the time arrived, the place still showed no sign of life. Disappointed we attempted to hunt down the best empanada restaurant. By the time we finally located the store, they were closing up shop. We could still see the remaining empanadas through the locked, glass door.
Fortunately, during our search for the empanada restaurant, we discovered a crowded pizza place. We settled for option three. The pizzeria served awesome pizzas though. No surprise why the locals congregate here. A big ‘thank you’ to my parents who transferred money to pay for our dinner!
Thank you to all my family and friends who thought of me on my birthday and wished me a good day. The day started perfectly, but everything went downhill from there. I feel most apologetic to my friend who put forth time, effort, and research to make my day special. I appreciate your determination! In general planning something great in a limited location is difficult. Without penguins, Punta Arenas is not worth visiting.
Cost breakdown of Puerto Montt in USD:
- Hostel: $10.92 (1 night)
- Transportation: $16.30 ($12.66 for initial busses to the city)
- Food: $7.70 (3 meals)
Total: $34.92. Daily Average Cost: $34.92.
Cost breakdown of Punta Arenas in USD:
- Transportation: $164.28
- $157 (initial flight to the city)
- $7.28 shuttle from airport to city center
- Food: $3.45 (groceries)
- Miscellaneous: $8.73 (laundry)
Total: $176.46. Daily Average Cost: $88.23.