Chile (July-August 2015): Norte Grande and Valparaiso


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Map of northern half of Chile:

Zoom on Norte Grande (roughly between 27dg south latitude and the Peruvian border):

chl_00_Chile - Copy-annotated

chl_00_Chile - Copy - Copy


I travelled to Chile on July 19 - August 21, 2015. I first flew to Arica, the northernmost city of Chile and the capital of the Arica y Parinacota Region. From there I took a bus to Putre, a village which is also the capital of the Parinacota Province, one of the two provinces forming the Arica y Parinacota Region. The Parinacota Province, which is coined between Peru and Bolivia, offers a broad diversity of exceptional sights. I ended spending 18 days in this province (3 weeks in the entire Arica y Parinacota Region), more than I had initially planned, doing day hikes, a couple of volcano climbs, and other excursions. Then I took a bus back to Arica and another bus to San Pedro de Atacama. The arrival in San Pedro was a shock: in a single glimpse to the main street I could see many more tourists than I had seen during my previous 3 weeks in the extreme north of Chile. I nevertheless spent 6 days (less than I had initially planned) in the region around San Pedro, again doing day hikes, a volcano climb, and excursions. I flew back to Santiago from Calama (a relatively large mining city close to San Pedro) and went to Valparaiso. During 3 days I enjoyed this city‛s chaotic beauty by walking its maze of streets, alleys, and stairways spread over a complex topography.


During this trip I was especially fortunate to meet three unusual people who gave me much valuable advice and support and made my trip considerably more interesting:


- In Putre: Flavio D‛Inca, an Italian expat who owns and runs the wonderful Terrace Lodge, is a rare expert about the beautiful and diverse region around Putre. He gave me much advice and arranged transportation and pickups for most of my excursions. I also used the Terrace Lodge as a (very comfortable) basecamp during my stay in the region.


- In San Pedro de Atacama: Pablo Garcia, a climber and mountain lover who founded and owns Atacama Contact, took me to spectacular places with no or few tourists. Without him I would have had a hard time escaping the tourist crowds that flock in and around San Pedro.


- In Valparaiso: Sergeant Major Jose Henao, a retired US Marine who did several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, now owns and runs the excellent La Casa de Henao bed-and-breakfast in Playa de Ancha. He taught me how to visit Valparaiso on foot. We also talked at great length about countries that we both visited, but under very different circumstances.


Click on the links below to see pictures of the various sections of this trip:


Arica y Parinacota Region:

Arica and the Azapa
and Lluta Valleys

Precordillera between Arica and Putre

Putre and around

Lagunas Cotacotani
and Cerro Guane-Guane

Volcan Guallatiri

Salar de Surire










Region around San Pedro:

San Pedro de Atacama, Toconao,
and Laguna Chaxa

Volcan Colorado
and Geysers del Tatio

Cordillera de la Sal

Salars de Pujsa and Tara










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