Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Summer in Chile

As summer approached I got asked by anyone and every one about my vacation plans (it's a thing). You know, "to spend summer" is actually a verb in the Spanish language (veranear!). As a Latin America virgin (not my husband - who travels a lot for work!) my mind buzzed with around 7 plans simultaneously. None of them materialised. (What. ev. er. Maybe next time I'll "veranearé" in 3 different countries!). But turns out chilling out in & around Santiago's a wonderfully relaxing vacation anyways! 
The Practical Mom: our summer in Chile

Things we purchased & used *way too often* this summer:

Waterproof picnic mat

I splurged on a good one! Ours can be used on the beach, in the park, in the water park & even on snow!


I have em in 3 sizes! Yes, I’ve given up using fancy lady like pruses and am using backpacks full time. The smallest is for everyday use, medium is for the park or biking (can fit in the picnic mat) and the large one is for day trips to beaches & water parks (can fit in the mats, bottles, towels & swim things). I used to whine about carrying handbags that weighed .005 kilos and now I carry heavy backpacks with ease! They’re so comfortable and convenient!

& Crocs!

The non-branded ones, for 2000 chilean pesos (ie. $3, i.e. you *do* get some things cheap in Chile!). My pair is literally in the car, I’m always beach ready baby.

So what did we do? a weekend in Viña Del Mar in a beautiful English house built in the 1930s, pool time in a farm house in Olmué, a walk upto Cerro Santa Lucia, Water parks, Granjaventura, day trips to beaches in Zapallar, a month long swimming class, to name a few things. Each trip actually warrants a post by itself, but I’m just putting it all together here. 

So just press play and scroll down! (because a good song simply makes things better!)  (why this song? because it was the song I was listening to while compiling these photos... it just 'fit' well!)

The sleepy town of Olmué, Where I had the best Cazuela (Meat, pumpkin & potato soup) in a restaurant named no me olvides (i.e. forget me not!). Our hosts invited us to take a dip into their pool and take a walk in their pretty little walnut farm. We also visited this beautiful church built in the 1500s.

Santiago is 2 hours drive from the Chilean Coast. So there are beautiful beach towns 2-6 hours away. But the Pacific ocean is *not* fun to take a dip into. Icy cold water, seldom sunny & erratic (there could be a big rough wave out of the blue). Still worth taking frequent day trips? Hellz yea!

We were invited to stay in a beautiful English house built in the 1930s in Viña Del Mar, a beach town 2 hours drive away from Santiago. Beach? what Beach? We didn't want to leave this house at all.

La Vega Central Market: We are probably the only people on earth to go to a wholesale veggie market for sightseeing. I was actually cautioned by passer-bys to keep my camera safe else it may be snatched. (that happens a lot - other places in Santiago too btw. Not the snatching, the cautioning!)

Buin Zoo Water Park: Perfect 4-5 hours spent dipping in the water & lazing in the sun. & it has slides too (duh!).

Water Park at Donyayo. there are actually more than a few campsites in that area. Bring along your stuff to BBQ and you can sit on on of these benches (with tables), roll out a manta, barbecue, eat, dip in the pool, laze. all day. Chileans love barbecuing! We see people barbecuing stuff at random places- like on the road side on New Years or on the road up the Andies.

Trips to the Parque Aracuno (Park) (that's the mat & the medium sized back pack btw!) (& Those are our cool bikes!)

Cerro Santa Lucia is a fort on top of a hill right in the middle of the city! We took a few hours climbing & exploring.

Granjaventura is an adventure park. Bridges, cottages, tons of interesting slides and swings - all made from nature. 

Road trip to Zapallar beach: It's a beautiful town and would've loved exploring with my camera had it not been cloudy every time we visited!

We enrolled for swimming classes for a month at Club Pato Cornejo. I swam in the adult side alongside (I'm like a fish). He's still 4 and apparently it takes a bit longer to learn at that age!  These pictures were taken by a fellow parent on his Canon 5D Mark III.

Chilean Summer Drinks: We get good wines for cheap (Most are under 5000 pesos/ $7 and some better ones are still under 12000 chilean pesos/ $17). But it's not really a summer drink it is?

Beer is always welcome on a hot sunny day. Usually it's Millers but I liked Kross Pale Ale too. 

Cola de Mono is a Chilean Egg Nog with an Aguardiente Base. Potent and fun! 

I *love* Pisco! Traditionally Peruvian but you get good Chilean ones too. I love these pre mix cocktail bottles. Pisco Sour is a cocktail with sugar & lemon. Just pour and drink!

It's not just the sours, for e.g. at a Thai restaurant I had Pisco with basil & coconut milk! The restaurant is Phad Thai on Manuel Montt, Santiago btw. They ask you the "level" of hotness you'll prefer on the scale of 5. We were like, huh, 5 of course! bring it on! Till we realised 5 actually meant 5! The pure sadistic pleasure of eating food that's muy picante while tears rolled down your cheeks and your entire digestive system burned, can be only understood by asians!

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The Practical Mom Directories:


  1. Sounds like you had a great time and your pictures are fabulous!

  2. Looks great! I've always wanted to visit Chile - thanks for giving me a peek. :)

    1. This is hardly Chile though! Chile is all about Patagonia, Antofagasta & wot not. Thanks Kerry!

  3. Wow, beautiful photos! Very jealous. I've only ever been to Santiago airport and would love the chance to explore that part of the world. Yes, Thais don't mess around when they talk about spice. Took me years to realize you have to specify 'no chili' if you want a mild dish as a request for 'not spicy' will still see at least one chili in the mix.


  4. So much outdoor fun! It looks incredibly beautiful. And I do like the sound of all those delicious drinks....

  5. Looks like a wonderful summer! I totally would want to sight-see at the market too! That's too funny at the Thai restaurant - I might have made the same mistake! After living in France for a few years, we became used to asking for things very hot because the French don't do spicy food. So in an Asian restaurant in France, they ask you if you want it spicy and you say yes, and then they warn you numerous times while you explain that you're not French, bring it on! And it usually still wasn't very spicy - so that could get me in trouble in situations like yours! :-)

  6. Wow! I have always wanted to go to Chile but I am loving it more by taking a look at all your photos. We have friends in Santiago that are inviting us all the time. We want to go and stay at least two weeks (more if possible).

    1. You must go! Although Santiago isn't really 'touristy', you could club it with patagonia or san pedro de atacama- i.e the bigger attractions :)
      Thanks for stopping by Ruth!

  7. What a lovely post! I love that Robert Plant song and the photos are just delectable. Santiago definitely on our list now (I'm sure Kate Middleton would approve! ) :) #abitofeverything

    1. hahaha! I was *waiting* for someone to comment on the song! (Didn't anyone else listen to it!?)

      (psst... I really wanted to put Alt-J's Something Good though!)

  8. Really loved your photos from Chile - it's a place I've ALWAYS wanted to visit, it looks amazing.... and pre-mixed Pisco sours, I'm there! :)

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  9. Wow! Your trip looks absolutely amazing and I feel very jealous looking at all of your fantastic & colourful photos. I've never visited South America and would love to go to Chile, it looks beautiful, so much to see and explore! Thanks for linking up to #MyFavouriteTrip Polly :)

  10. Oh looks like you had an amazing time, the photos are fab! I particularly like the look of the drink haha.

  11. Gorgeous pictures - there is so much to see and do! Looks like you had an amazing time. Look at the different experiences. I have never been to that part of the world and would like the opportunity to visit. The adventure Park looks very cool! #abitofeverything