Being so long, Chile is a country of extremes from one of the driest deserts in the north to the very wet South, the high Andes in the East to the dramatic Pacific Coast just a few kilometres away. Over our three visits to Chile we have been here for nearly 3 months. We’ve found it to be the South American country we could most easily live in. The people have been friendly, but quite reserved. I particularly loved the South on the Carratera Austral and around Pucon. It was so green, lush and otherworldly, all the trees were twisted by the elements and dripping with lichens that looked like “old man’s beard”. I’ve fully fallen in love with the Andes and Chile was no exception. The mountain passes we have driven and the hikes we have done have been fabulous.
Chile might be first world but one aspect that isn’t is the amount of dogs: stray or pets just left to roam. They are everywhere, often in packs. I know I’m not going to endear myself to my canine-loving friends but I am well and truly fed up with Chile’s millions of mutts. They are everywhere pooing, shagging, annoying my children and always, always spreading rubbish from bins however well we think we’ve disposed of our rubbish.
In our nearly 3 months in Chile, with the exception of the far North we have travelled it from top to bottom. We even made it out to Easter Island which is Polynesia not South America. As you would expect from such a long country the scenery is very varied but was at its most spectacular in Patagonia. Torres del Paine may be the most famous park and it is certainly amazing but for me the best bit was the drive along the length of the Carratera Austral. The scenery was amazing at every turn and in the far South you were so far away from civilisation. I know the country is developing and things will change but I hope they have the foresight to preserve this beauty as places of such pristine wilderness are rare.
It has also been good to meet up with fellow overland travellers. Some we had heard of before or met electronically but it was great to spend time with people both in Pucon and then again on Easter Island. Everyone has their own stories and experiences to tell and it’s great to hear what other people are up to. It certainly helps make us feel that what we are doing is not that unusual.