Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Finding Some Green in Middle Chile

We're officially a little more than halfway down the long ribbon of land known as Chile. After so many months in the dry, leafless desert of the north, we were looking forward to some softer surroundings. As soon as we were just a little bit north of Santiago, things started to change. Our first stop was a national park, La Campana, containing one of the last palm forests of the Chilean Wine Palm.

Driving up to La Campana National Park

These trees can live to be several hundred years old

A green (ish) lizard - we've finally left the desert!

La Campana's other claim to fame is the large mountain that Charles Darwin climbed in 1834. The steep trail climbs nearly 5000 vertical feet in just 5 km. At the top you can see the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific to the west. Charles Darwin was one tough dude - the hike was a doozy.

Camping in the shadow of La Campana mountain, near a large Chilean Wine Palm

At La Campana you can hike to this lovely little waterfall set among the palms and cacti

Green yoga

South of Santiago, we worked our way down the coast surfing and kiteboarding a bit, but not as much as we had imagined we would. This area has some pretty famous surfing and kiteboarding spots, but we just weren't feelin' it. The winds were stronger than we would have liked and the water was a bit too cold for me.

The sand dunes at Topocalma - this place has some crazy strong winds 

We visited a famous surf spot that had very recently been inaccessible to all but small 4WD vehicles. A developer who had bought the land was tearing through the hillside making roads and home sites. The whole thing was really hard to watch, as the natural beauty of the area was being destroyed right before our eyes. The upside was that we got to use the new roads and even camp for free right at the surf break, while the developers were trying to figure out how to deal with everyone. The free-for-all camping only lasted 5 days before we were asked to leave. Once in a lifetime at Puertecillo...

The surf wave at Puertecillo

Puertecillo will never look like this again

Into the stunning mountains of middle Chile in the next blog post...

1 comment:

Juergen | dare2go said...

How are you two? (Glad to see others are also behind with their blog posts... LOL)
It's a sad thing with the development going on in Chile right now: every little bit of paradise is being sliced up for new "parcelles" or even high-rise apartments. And many stand empty for 10 month of the year, whilst the poor are still living in sub-standard housing.
Happy travels!