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.