Tag Archives: Chile

Arica, Chile, and Its’ Magical Desolate Moonscape

23 Mar
The smaller valley.
The Loa River

Two fertile valleys point inland from the port of Arica, Chile. One contains a river, the Loa River, that flows throughout the year; another larger and greener valley has no continuous river but a better more humid climate.

The larger valley looking all the way to the port.

 I found traveling through these two valleys breathtaking. But not because of the greenery I saw, rather because of the giant mountains of rock and sand and dust that rose on either side of the valleys. The Atacama Desert rises high above.  And looks like nothing I had ever seen before. 

I was not surprised to learn that movies set in space are filmed here. I was not surprised to learn that NASA has practiced using its equipment here. I was surprised that people lived in this harsh dry climate. Nothing seems to grow on these mountains except for one dusty looking plant that gets its nutrients from the air. 

The ancient, native peoples left there mark on this land. On these mountains, ancient people left pictographs of llamas, animals and men.  These stunning designs, as well as the Chinchorro mummies that have survived centuries, bring us to another world. 

The ‘Eiffel’ church in Arica.

Back in the main valley,  we see the more modern world of Arica and the buildings design by Gustav Eiffel and brought to Arica from France. The three buildings I saw stand within easy walking distance from each other.  The most magnificent was the church. 

Arica is an amazing place of dichotomy. A bird sanctuary and wetlands just a few miles from a desolate, high desert. A valley filled with trees and farms beneath giant lumbering beige expanses of rock and sand. I cannot imagine waking up each morning to this world.  But you need to see it and feel it to understand the immensity of nothingness that is this desert.  You must see this beautiful, magical, and desolate moonscape. 

Why I like Chile 

19 Mar

The flower clock in Vina Del Mar

We have just begun our fourth trip to South America, with our first stop of Chile. I must say I love going to Chile. There are several reasons. 

First Chile is a lovely country. Although long and narrow, with both coastal mountains on one side and the Andes forming the border with Argentina, the long lovely coastline is amazing. 

The first time we came to Chile we spent several days in Santiago then cruised south along the coast stopping at several ports along the way. Journeying through the Straits of Megellan and the north to Argentina and Uruguay. We loved it. 

This time when we came, we traveled directly from the airport to the lovely resort city of Vina Del Mar, staying in The Enjoy hotel that connects to the original Casino. Walking around has be a delight. Soon we will travel to our cruise ship and sail north to Arica, Chile, and on to Peru, Ecuador, Panama, the Canal, and Columbia. I cannot wait for these new experiences. 

Second reason why I love Chile:  although it is a 9.5 hour flight from Atlanta, we only change two time zones from our home. So NO jet lag. I love that. I admit that I do hate being on an airplane for that long. But for this trip we end in Miami, so a much shorter flight home. 

The final and best reason for me, my best Chilean buddy. It is really wonderful to travel a country with a friend who is a native. First having friends to experience the adventure makes it more enjoyable. Then there are no issues with translating. She makes wonderful food selections. We want to eat foods we do not find at home and eat traditional South American fare. 

We are off on another adventure.