The adventures of South America: Part 1

So I haven’t posted since I started my journey on October 5th and I feel terrible about this. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to share with people so there’s no better time to start than now, right? So I’ll be writing posts about all the countries I’ve been in so far and the cities/towns I’ve visited. Every place I’ve visited so far has been great in its own way, but something you learn about travel is that you get different vibes from cities, the locals, and the cuisine.

These posts are based solely off of my opinion and my experiences of course. I hope you enjoy!

First stop: Santiago, Chile

I arrived in Santiago on October 5th and waited for the arrival of my dear friend Adri from Colombia. Once we were reunited we looked for a way to our friend’s Lexie’s apartment who was kind enough to host us. The city itself was quite beautiful and had many parks to explore. The architecture had apparent European influence which was captivating. If you go to Santiago I highly recommend taking the free walking tours; it’s a great way to learn about the city and meet other travelers. They offer tours both in English and in Spanish leaving at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. that explore different areas of the city.

Adri and I ended up having a large group of friends in Santiago from the Intern Group office who were kind enough to give us great recommendations for places to go, clubs, and other things. This organization is how I had the opportunity to live in Medellin, Colombia a year and a half ago. If you know anyone looking for an international internship, look these guys up, you won’t regret it!

I was able to experience my first asado with these guys as well, which is basically a Chilean BBQ. Great food and new friends, what more could travelers ask for?


Second stop: Valparaiso, Chile

If you go to Santiago then you HAVE to take a 1.5-2 hour bus to Valparaiso which is a port city in Chile. My favorite bus company that we used in Chile was called Condor, they’re affordable, comfortable, and clean. It is by far one of my favorite places I’ve been so far. There is fantastic graffiti everywhere! They also have walking tours, too which I recommend. We took the tour with Paola from Spain and she was great. If you’re learning Spanish I recommend trying to take a walking tour in Spanish. Even though I may not have gotten all the information I felt like it was a good learning experience for me, plus worse case you can always switch groups if you really want to. Remember these tours are free, however, it’s encouraged to tip. Reminder these tour guides work really hard and do a great job so definitely give back a little bit even if you’re on a tight budget. I just have to warn you if you are trying to take a candid photo it might be a little hard with the wind, as seen below. But they turn out the best.

Third stop: La Serena, Chile 

Adri heard about a really awesome star tour we could go on here so we hoped on a bus for 6 hours to head further north. I’ve never been extremely interested in the outer space, but I’m glad that we went on this tour. You definitely learn a lot about the planets, stars, and history of telescopes. We stayed at Hostal El Arbol for one night, it was comfortable, close to the bus station, and felt secure. It was also the first time on the trip that we were able to go on a beach and I must say it felt TERRIFIC.

Budget Advice: 

One of the hardest things about Chile for me was how expensive it was. I knew this going in, but it’s still different when you’re actually there. The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone visiting Chile on a tight budget is to write down every expense! It may sound silly, but I’ve been doing this and it’s been so helpful. If you make categories it’s easier, too. Then you can add them up at the end of each country to plan for the next one to keep your budget in-tact. Some of my categories include; transportation, flights, food, accommodation, snacks, beverages, activities, and gifts. Basically, you want to be specific to avoid the confusion of what you’re spending your money on.

Some things to try in Chile:

So as far as cuisine goes I wasn’t very impressed with the local cuisine in Chile, however, since you’re there you have to try it. One of the dishes they’re known for is a completo which is a hot dog with avocado, tomato, mayonnaise, and cheese. There are different variations, but those are usually the standard ingredients.

Something about Chile that surprised me was how many sushi restaurants there were in the city and word on the street is that they even deliver. If you can snag a lunch deal it’s not too expensive and the quality isn’t half bad.

Their signature drink is called a ‘terremoto’ which means earthquake in Spanish. I swear guys after one of those you feel like you’re IN a terremoto! For those of you that know me well, you know I don’t really drink so the fact that I finished it means you should be proud. A terremoto is made up of white wine, grenadine, and pineapple ice cream.


Overall Chile was a great experience and I thought it was a great country to start the trip off with. I cannot thank the staff of the Intern Group enough for their hospitality, especially Lexie! You guys helped make Chile so memorable, you all know where to go if you need help navigating through Portland.


Halloween 2016


Have you ever been to Chile? What was your favorite city and why? What surprised you the most about Chile? 

**Coming next: how we made our way to Patagonia.



  1. Adrienne · November 12, 2016

    OMG, this is so fun to read, and I can’t wait until the next installment! We are glad you wrote, as we were thinking either there wasn’t a lot good to write about, or you just were having trouble having time to find an internet cafe or something. Stay safe, my girlfriend and know we are thinking of you back here in Portland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • balancedfootprints · November 12, 2016

      I just have had a hard time finding time to go to a cafe! Thank you so much for reading! Miss you guys and know I’m thinking of you guys, too! Stay safe in Portland! Xoxo!


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