Estero Reñaca

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    • Day 170

      IV. SA Chile/W1: Santiago & Valparaíso E

      February 15, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Tu, 14.02. Flight Sydney, Australia - Santiago, Chile
      After almost six months of travelling (2 months in Southern Africa, 1 month in South-East Asia and 3 months in Australia) I crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Sydney all the way (11.700 km to be precise) to Santiago in Chile, finally hitting the South American continent to improve my Spanish.
      The flight was about almost 13h and after roughly 3h we crossed the International Date Line which meant that I gained a day and had a second 14th February or Valentine's Day ;) Quantas is a good airline, the food was tasty and they even served TimTams reminding me of my awesome time in Down Under before enjoying a nice landing in Santiago with the Andes Mountain Range on the East.
      After half a year of driving on the other side of the road my brain was really confused to get used to the other way again :P South America - so glad to be back: awesome friendly people, good vibes, amazing staff and backpackers at the chilled out hostel in the centre of the party quarter and colourful fiesta Barrio Bellavista :) Oh and again, the main travelling nationalities are French and German :P
      With Chile, I chose a pretty challenging country to start practising my Spanish as I immediately learnt in the Spenglish event Ernesto took me that evening: they speak really fast, swallow the words, do not pronounce the 's' and just add random words without a meaning - apart from using South American Spanish anyway, I.e. 'plata' i/o 'dinero' for money. Talking about money, the currency is CLP Chilean Peso (1€ = 650$), Chile is together with Argentina and Uruguay an expensive country comparable to Central Europe and the ATM charged me almost 8€ (!) so next time I really need to find a Scotia Bank which apparently does not charge DKB cards.

      We, 15.02. - Fr, 17.02. Santiago
      Chile is a very narrow country stretching from the south with Patagonia, glaciers and its proximity to Antarctica all the way to the north with the famous Atacama desert. During this trip I will only do the Northern part and save the South for later when I have more money and can combine it with Argentina and especially Antarctica.
      From 17mio people roughly 7mio live in the capital Santiago on the Mapocho River which makes the city also with its geographical situation the political and economic centre. The main religion is Roman Catholic, Germany having a big influence in the past can be found everywhere and it is one of the safest countries to travel in SA - even as solo female traveller; every now and often you are just asked about your marriage and kids status as family plays a big role here.

      On Wednesday I met a French-Spanish girl called Lisa in the hostel and we went to Cerro Santa Lucía - a former heritage, convent, military bastion that has then been transformed in a beautiful park on a hill in the middle of the city. At Terraza Neptuna there are several nice fountains and a lot of staircases that lead you to a viewpoint where you can see the whole city including the Andes Mountain Range as well as Cerro San Cristobal Statue at 870m altitude.
      That was the place where I then went with Natalia, the Chilenean girl I met in Kuala Lumpur last year. After trying the famous Chilenean drink 'Mote con huesillos', a very sweet juice with sweetcorn and a peach, we hiked up the steep path and then enjoyed breathtaking views over the whole city. This hill belongs to Parquemet/Parque Metropolitano, a massive and one of the world's biggest city parks including 2 pools, a zoo, a Japanese and some other Botanical Gardens. We walked all the way to the richer Barrio Providencia and could see a lot of runners and especially bikers. The whole park can also be done by the Teleférico or Funicular, a 2km long cable car.
      Back in Barrio Bellavista I then enjoyed my first Empañada, a baken Vegetarian one to not further upset my stomach.

      On Thursday morning I did a free (well on tips based) city tour. Our guide was really nice and, as usually accompanied by a lot of stray dogs, showed us the main attractions of the city such as Santiago Central with its famous Plaza de Armas, Catedral Metropolitana, Iglesia de San Francisco, Palacio de la Moneda with the 2nd biggest flag in Chile (first being in Arica up in the North).
      For lunch we then enjoyed again Chile's most famous food Empañada in Barrio Lastarria - the most common one is the baken Pino Empañada with sliced beef, oignon, olives and eggs but I preferred the fried Marisco = seafood one. Apart from Empanadas, Chile with its thousands km of sea is famous for its seafood and wine. Other very popular dishes are majar (a bit thicker type of dulce de leche), pastel de choclo (hearty baked casseroles with corn), humitas (potatoe-flour based bread), lomo a la pobre (beef, 2 fried eggs, chips), parillada (grilled intestines, udders, blood sausages) or curanto (stew of fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, potato). They also drink a lot of Pisco (grape brandy) or Terremoto (white wine from South Chile, pineapple ice cream, vernet).
      After that, we visited the Forest Park with its German fountain, Bellavista and its colourful houses, bars and pubs that reminded me so much of La Boca in Buenes Aires before finishing at La Chascona, Pablo Neruda's House.
      In the afternoon I went to Mercado Central and La Vega Market in Barrio Recoleta and Patronato (Korean, Chinese, Arab quarter) where I bought a lot of cheap but good fruits such as papayas, bananas and avocadoes before David, a nice guy I met on the Spenglish evening the first day, showed me Barrio Italia and its shops.

      Friday was again one of these well loved admin days to get organised and think about what I want to see and do :O
      Natalia told me that she, her brother Felipe and his girlfriend Fernanda have to drive to their parents' apartment in Reñaca/Viña del Mar which is just half an hour by bus to Valparaíso. I thus spontaneously took the chance and their more than generous offer and went with them on a 2h drive, arriving after midnight.

      Sa, 18.02. - Su, 19.02. Valparaíso/Viña del Mar
      Oh I just love staying with locals and friends, and always be so grateful for it that I do not know how much I can thank these people - so @Natalia, Felipe and Fernanda: if you ever have have the chance to come to Germany please let me know; I will be more than happy to return the favour and host you :-*
      The three of them really made me feel at home: I had a pretty good couch to sleep, we had breakfast and a dinner together, they helped me to get around and even gave me an awesome night tour in Viña del Mar including el Casino, el Reloj de Flores and a drive through Valparaíso's hills, Avenida Alemania, Bismarck place with pretty cool night views and nightlife on Saturday evening :)
      Moreover, it is the best possibility to indulge in the local culture and language: I learnt that in Chile it is common to eat late with the 3 meals desayuno (breakfast), almuerzo (lunch around 1-2), 11 (kind of tea time around 5-6) and really late cena (around 9-11) and thus also a very late partying (usually not before 2am until 5-6am). Bread is also very common - for breakfast and 11 as full meal and to accompany lunch and dinner. It also gave me the opportunity to practise my Spanish as I could hear it the whole time and I also had to speak it constantly - in Chilenean familiar language they say I.e. tuto for dormir (to sleep) and a thousand peso note is called a 'luca'.

      Valparaíso itself is a harbour and was long time the most important and prosperous sea port in South America - until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. The German built the 2nd school here, brought the first brewery and fire service station - there are still 2 wagons with 'Feuerwehr' in the station of the main square. The city is pretty hilly and many hills are linked together with elevators - the two most famous ones are Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción where you can find typical Chilenean but also of course German food and restaurants. You will find street art on every corner, the whole city is incredibly colourful and there are 16 artist fishes - we saw 6 alone on our tour. From Plaza Anibal Pinto we took the Reina Victoria Elevator, went through some boulevards to the Yugoslavo Boulevard and Baburizza Palace to Cruisers House, passed some more elevators before ending the tour at the famous Plaza Sotomayor and the Harbour. Due to its geography, Valparaíso is usually really hot with strong winds coming up around 3-4pm which makes it very vulnerable to fires - Viña del Mar is more vulnerable to tsunamis. Valparaíso is rather poor, Viña del Mar prosperous and rich.
      After that I strolled along the harbour, enjoyed the city and its views before taking a bus to Barrio Baron. I found a really nice spot on some rocks at the ocean where you could watch sea lions sunbathing and jumping in and out of the water. I visited the markets afterwards before taking the bus back to Viña / Reñaca where I enjoyed the evening sun at the beach. There were also already a lot of preparations for VdM famous music Festival starting this Monday.
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    • Day 72


      March 14, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Der Grund für uns nach Reñaca zu gehen war der Strand am Pazifik - und damit ist zu dem Ort auch eigentlich alles gesagt! Leider wenig schönes...
      So konnten wir den Pool in unserer Apartmentanlage und vor allem den Strand ausgiebig genießen!! Ein
      Highlight war vielleicht noch, dass es einen wirklich guten Sushi-Laden gab - lecker 😋
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Estero Reñaca, Estero Renaca

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