Questions & Responses:
Santiago, Chile: places, sites, guides to recommend?(1 response)
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November 2002

Hello! My family will be travelling to Chile in late November for 3 weeks while my husband works there on business. Are there any resources in Berkeley on Chile? Any way to meet Chileans? Be tutored in the language? Any web sites? Thanks for anything you can tell me! Kelly

Let's see...I'm assuming you'll be based in Santiago - you'll be surprised at how many Chilleans speak English, but Spanish is really easy to pick up (start now).

I'd highly recommend ''The South American Handbook'' for all kinds of great travel information.

Don't miss the Lake district, Puerto Montt area (including Ancud and the island) and if you can make it down there, Torres del Paine. There is really so much to see - you can't go wrong. It is also an easy day trip to head over (from Santiago) to Argentina.

I lived in S. America (based in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile) for 3 years - feel free to contact me offlist - there are so many places to go you really can't go wrong. Kathy

I went to Chile in the early nineties on a whim-a friend told me Santiago was one of the most beautiful places he'd ever been. And I wholeheartedly agreed! Another big bonus is the Chileans love Americans - particularly those from California (mostly because of our common problem with earthquakes, I think~ In any case, they refer to themselves as ''the Yankees of the South''.

I am very interested in meeting locals when I travel, and I met a number of them on the bus from Santiago to a nearby beach city one day. I can't remember the name of the place I visited--more important that I got on this bus, and started a conversation with the man sitting next to me. Next thing I knew, I looked up and most of the bus was listening in! They wanted to know where I was from, what my name was, what I thought of their country... It was one of my most positive experiences on the trip. Their buses are clean and very comfortable-safe for kids. The beach itself was lovely and a very fun place for families-also relatively easy to meet locals there.

One note of caution, though you have probably already read about this-hold tight to your purse, and beware of thieves who will even slit the leather, unbeknownst to you, typically while in busy public areas. I know two women who were robbed while in Chile.

In any case, they don't see that many folks down there from the U.S., and there isn't alot of English spoken, so you may want to brush up with at least some basic Spanish, which will also increase your pleasure in dealing with the locals.

Have a very fun trip! Janice