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Trip Report

First time in Chile: a fabulous introduction

A month volunteering in Santiago and a trip to the Atacama desert.

by nomade_eleanorAbout Me:I love to travel, try new dishes and take good photos read more

South AmericaChile30 days / March 2022

Highs & Lows

The stargazing and clear skies in the Atacama desert are like nowhere else!

If only I could have stayed a bit longer.

Itinerary Overview

Chile is a place that you can visit again and again and you can always find something new, it has a great variety in terms of geography, fauna and flora that seems endless. Furthermore, it is the longest country in the world and as a result has a wide variety of landscapes for backpackers to explore from the dry, cold and beautiful desert of San Pedro de Atacama in the north, the tall skyscrapers and wine valleys of Santiago in the middle. of the country or the peaks of Patagonia in the south. Whether you're looking for great food and drink, culture and history, or nature and hiking, Chile is an essential destination. Today I will talk about my two favorite places in Chile (perfect for the beginning or the end of your visit): Santiago and San Pedro de Atacama. They seem to me two incredible destinations, easy to visit and not very expensive in terms of all expenses

  • 5 Nights: San Pedro de Atacama
    Stargazing, beautiful landscape and recommendations from friends.
  • 25 Nights: Santiago
    I wanted to go to South America. I wanted to volunteer in a city to start my trip and Aji Hostel on Workaway looked so good!

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have done more day trips out of Santiago to get to know the city and its surroundings a bit more.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Pickpockets in Plaza de Armas! A couple of friends at the hostel had bad luck as always be careful when out in the city.

  • How was the food?

    Santiago: the pizza restraint next to Aji Hostel. Honestly. The best thing when you have been partying the whole night before. San Pedro de Atacama: La Franchuteria is perfect for breakfast and Baltinache restaurant is great after a long day of exploring.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Definitely try out a walking tour in Santiago- I did one at the end of my trip but it would have been so much better to do one at the start of my time. For San Pedro try and find a group of people and rent a car for a road trip - you can see so much and it is often much cheaper than paying for a tour plus ou have much more freedom.

  • Packing tips?

    It gets cold at night (very cold) so a fleece and warm coat especially if you are stargazing is essential.

  • Transportation Tips?

    I got a flight from Santiago to San Pedro and on the way back I took a bus (22 hours is a long time - if you can get the flight do it. The views from the bus are not as scenic as I thought they would be). In Santiago get apps to help with transport - Uber (although it is technically illegal so always have someone in the passenger seat), Cabify and Moovit for buses.

  • Any surprises?

    In San Pedro de Atacama there is a night time curfew in town to keep things quiet after 11pm at night (many activities start before 7am).

  • Booking details?

    I found my hostels using Booking.com and Hostel World.


  • Casa Voyage Hostel. Friendly, affordable and with comfortable beds.

  • Stay in Aji Hostel in Providencia (I volunteered here for a month and it is definitely one of the friendliest hostels in a great location). Providencia is a safe neighbourhood but still within walking distance to the best areas for travellers and locals: the nightlife in Bella Vista, the museums and markets near Plaza de Armas and the city’s main hiking spot San Cristobal.