Santiago, Chile is a damn fun place to visit!
My friends laugh at the haste in which I travel, usually popping in and out of a locale in a matter of a few days. But, don’t assume that means I miss out on anything; it just ensures I sleep well on the flight home! Santiago was no exception. I spent three nights with three of my friends in a small apartment in the heart of the smog-filled city. The entire trip was set to a beautiful soundtrack of rich, Latin music and a truly alive and passionate air.
Day one, we were off to a perfect start by leaving the hustle and bustle of the busy South American city and heading into the Maipo Valley for an incredible wine tour at one of the many Concha y Toro vineyards. Minor hiccup: we were moments late for the English speaking tour, and were very early for the next one. So with a shrug and a “when in Rome!” attitude we joined into the Spanish speaking tour. Although my Brazilian friend was quick on translations, he wasn’t quiet. It wasn’t long before we were getting the stink-eye from the other people in our group, and particularly the guide. The more wine we drank, the funnier this began to get, and it got to the point where we were nearly asked to leave!
We picked up the pace the following day and took on a class 4 white water rafting trip down the Maipo River. The company we used was www.maiporafting.com; they were professional and incredibly fanatical about what they did. Starting a fair jaunt up the Andes, our ride was a total of 16 kilometers. We had flawless weather, and a perfect blend of adrenaline pumping rapids and coasting to take in the stunning scenery and canyons. At one point we were even able to take turns jumping overboard to bob downstream in the pristine water.
After the raft itself, we trekked up to the breathtaking Cascada de las Animas where we swam and goofed around in the incredible falls until we were completely spent. Not surprisingly, this day has gone down in my record books as one of my favourite adventures to date!
Each night spent back in the hub of Santiago meant late dinners out with amazing wine followed by dancing until dawn. In the outdoor nightclubs I was repeatedly referred to as “Barbie” as I was being pulled up to dance with locals in the street. I would like to believe this was because of my blonde hair, but I’m going to venture to say years of classical ballet training do not a loose Latin dancer make! By the second night, however, I did finally give into being led, and learned to let go and let my hips do the talking! Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep throughout this short trip and my love for salsa dancing was officially born. Take that Royal Academy classes!
Wineries, a dash of adrenaline and salsa dancing until sunrise with suave Latin men? Sounds like a well-balanced vacation to me!