Heart of Patagonia – Chile Part 3 & Argentina Part 1

Here we enter the border jumping portion of our trip! We now have pages of passport stamps from Chile and Argentina as well as a stack of export paperwork for Mitzi. Luckily, the border agents (with one minor exception) were all well trained and efficient.  We probably spent more time at the border of Honduras than we spent on all the jumps between Chile and Argentina combined.

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The Long Drive to Santiago Continues

The border crossing to Chile had us worried beforehand because of strict import rules regarding food and animals. We spent a full day preparing paperwork for Mitzi and cleaning the car. We made sure to eat all our produce and other restricted items like honey. The border was super busy with holiday traffic and the agents seemed exhausted, so in the end we only got a cursory look over and we were sent on our way!

And so we began our long drive south. The first couple days were long and boring. There is a lot of sand, some petroglyphs and a few ghost towns out there, remnants of the Nitrate mining era. Finally after a few drive days we saw a giant hand extending out of the desert. We had finally lost our minds! Wait, no, it’s a statue – Mano del desierto! 

The big highlight up north was visiting the ESO observatory named “Very Large Telescope.” These astronomer guys are clearly super creative. This area of Chile is a stargazers dream, with little light pollution, clear skies and higher elevation. The night before the tour we marvelled at the night sky. Sadly no photos because we were a bit under the weather. The tour the following day was a nerdy delight.

A couple more days of driving and a couple nice beach camps later we arrived in Santiago. The Landy got to visit a good mechanic and we got to meet members of the Land Rover Club of Chile! They are a super nice group and the Landy is now proudly sporting their sticker. Thank you Land Rover Club of Chile for the warm welcome!

Just south of Santiago we finally got to our first hike in Chile at Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay. Beautiful views and two tarantula sightings on trail.

Peru 2 – Cordillera Blanca and a Change of Plans

While most people think of white sand beaches as their dream vacation getaway, we tend to see white mountain peaks as ours. It’s no surprise then that the Cordillera Blanca was front and center on our must see list in Peru. We arrived smack in the middle the rainy season, which lasts generally January through March. Generally mornings are dry, but evenings are rainy and the clouds are thick most of the day. In spite of the bad timing, we enjoyed this region and got to do some great hiking too!

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Peru North

Yumbilla and Gocta Waterfalls

The border crossing to Peru was simple and fast, and the road to our first destination pretty calm and eventless. The towns we drove through were drab compared to what we’re used to so far on this trip. But the landscape was pretty spectacular, as were our first two major stops!

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