After unentertaining Punta Arenas, we rode the bus to Puerto Natales. This town is near a fantastic park and renown Mt. Fitz Roy. We wanted to go hiking. Before we even left the station, we felt the need to inquire about bus times and costs to the park. To our dismay, no regular bus was going to the scenic park! Why!? Off season. Apparently not enough tourists make their way down south during winter to justify running a single bus per day.
This meant that we would have to commute with a tour company, steepening the cost. We didn’t think the expense was worth the experience and immediately booked our forward ticket to Argentina. If you visit southern South America, make sure to avoid off season. Things tend to close down. Not only in Chile, but also parts of Argentina. But I’ll leave the Argentina stories for later.
In general Chile has various, gorgeous nature spots. Everything from serene lakes, to starry deserts, to crazy mountains. I loved pushing myself trekking up an active, snowy volcano. Also viewing a salt lake was a worthy experience.
Of course I compared Chile with Ecuador and Peru, since we traveled there first. Chile is definitely more expensive. Especially the bus rides. With that extra cost, we did get cleaner seats and hostel beds. Sometimes the busses would even provide us with a snack just as a long distance flight would! We all love food. And the bus drivers drive less crazy because the cops actually use speed guns and the roads aren’t as windy. But overall I rather have the cheaper rides for the lower prices since I think the increase in quality is not equal to the increase in bills handed over. The more south we went, the higher the charges.
Something that threw me off: the right of way. In the prior two countries, cars would still drive even if a pedestrian is waiting at a cross walk. In Chile the drivers would stop for us! How odd! There were couple of times we ended up making the car stall longer because we couldn’t figure out the situation being conflicted with prior experience coupled with the desire to stay alive.
Activities I did to prolong my wallet lifespan: eating hotdogs. Hotdogs seem like the go to staple for cheap eating. Servers will drench the top of the wiener with ketchup, mayo, and other sauces, resulting in a thick top layer. The sacrifices I make. This is not my first choice, but would turn to hotdogs if other dish options weren’t lining up on my food-cost ratio.
Overall Chile is worth a visit. Be sure to research costs ahead of time to make sure you are willing to pay the amount when you get there. Believe me, it’s not fun arriving at your destination realizing that you don’t want to fork out the money for the activities you planned. Especially if you plan to fly down south. We spent $157 for the flight to Punta Arenas and ended up evaluating the place subpar and then Puerto Natales was oddly shut down. You can get the flight ticket in the $50 range if you book at least 3 weeks ahead. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make up our minds and then ran into booking issues. By the time we got out tickets, the price had tripled. I hope that my blog helps you avoid the mistakes we made and provides cost estimates on a silver platter. If you’ve been in Chile, leave your tips in the comment section! My next post will line up all my budget of Chile. So until then!
Random facts I’ve encountered:
- Chileans love their hotdogs
- Everything is pricier than Peru and Ecuador
- Chile offers many different, beautiful nature sites
- Drivers stop for pedestrians
- No buses go from center to south Chile without going into Argentina