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9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Utrecht, The...
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9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Hi,

In November/December I'm going for a 9D/8N trip to Chile. First of all, i know it's way too short to see the country, but i got an hold on such a cheap flight and didn't have that much days off at work anymore, so only 9D/8N and back to Europe again. Flying in and out of Santiago and relying on public transport in Chile.

I like being in cities for the most times, stroll around, visit bars/restaurants/markets, sample local food, so I'm not keen on going into Chile's nature for the big part of the trip. I've made a sample itinerary, can you give me some advice about this?

Day 1 +2: Arriving Santiago early morning, Santiago + nightbus to Elqui Valley/La Serena on day 2

Day 3: Elqui Valley + stargazing at night

Day 4 + 5: La Serena / Coquimbo / Isla Damas, nightbus to Valparaiso/Viña del Mar on day 5

Day 6 + 7: Valparaiso / Viña Del Mar

Day 8 + 9: Santiago + flying back home on day 9.

Would this itinerary give me a small insight of Chile, without trying to do too much in a small period (I usually travel quite 'fast')?

And one more question: I read about safety issues in Valparaiso, is it really that bad, or just a case of holding up your guard, not going to the hills and don't flash expensive stuff? Or is Viña Del Mar a better place to stay and just do Valpo as a day trip

Hope you can help me a bit on this one :)

Santiago, Chile
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1. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Valparaiso is not that bad. In general,Otis quite safe. Your itinerary will give you an idea of the country. Public transport, buses, is efficient and easy to use.

Utrecht, The...
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2. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Thanks for your answer!

If i stay in Valparaiso (other option would be Viña del Mar) are there any areas you should rather not stay in? And which of those 2 cities has the most "evening life"? Not really into clubbing till late hours, but like having the choice of restaurants/bars to go to in the evening.

Santiago, Chile
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3. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

In Valparaiso stay in the Cerro Alegre/ Cerro Concepcion area which is where the hotels and restaurants are concentrated. There is a selection of both bars and restaurants within walking distance of the hotels. Viña is the largest seaside resort in Chile but is not as atmospheric as Valparaiso.

Utrecht, The...
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4. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Just over a month left! Can you give me some advise about buying bustickets? It's not possible to do it online without a Chilean creditcard, right? So what's the best way to do it in Chile? At the busstation? Or at travelagencys or something? And how about prices and availability? Is it best to book as early as possible?

Santiago, Chile
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5. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

To where do you want to buy bus tickets? If it is to Valparaiso or Viña then you can buy them at the station as you get the bus. There are buses every 10-15 minutes.

Utrecht, The...
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6. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Mainly for the Santiago - Vicuna (or La Serena) and La Serena - Valpo routes. The ones i want to take a nightbus, i want to make sure i can take a bus on planned date with a good seat :)

Santiago, Chile
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7. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Make sure you check the arrival times for buses to La Serena. A bus which leaves Santiago at midnight will get into La Serena at around 6:30 am, but at 8 pm bus will get you in at 2:55 am. La Serena is often a stop on the way further north. You may not be able to get into your lodging at 6:30 am and 2:55 am is a terrible hour to arrive anywhere. The buses to La Serena are very frequent throughout the day and evening. I don't think any buses go from Santiago to anywhere in the Elqui valley. You need to take a second bus from La Serena.

Utrecht, The...
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8. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

Thanks for the tips! I've used the Turbus site as reference for the bustimes earlier and it's best to take the buses at midnight yeah, if i can get a decent sleep in the bus not being able to get to the room isn't that big of a problem :)

For direct busses to Vicuna this company is mentioned in the Lonely Planet (http://www.expresonorte.cl), they don't respond to my e-mails though, so i don't know if i can get tickets for this bus and if they have different types of seats :)

Santiago, Chile
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9. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

The buses going up into the Elqui are frequent. I think they are all the same type of seat. It isn't a long distance.

Utrecht, The...
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10. Re: 9 days (8 nights) in Chile

From La Serena to the Elqui or from Santiago? For the shorter distances every bus will do ;)