5 Top Mendoza Highlights

Mendoza wine tasting

After leaving Valparaíso and crossing back over the Andes mountain range into Argentina, we stopped to explore the bustling town of Mendoza before moving on to Buenos Aires. In the shadow of the mighty, snow-covered Andes surrounded by picturesque vineyards, Mendoza is probably most familiar to wine connoisseurs and mountaineers. Tony and I definitely fall somewhere in between – we do like ourselves a good glass of wine, and we clearly love those peaks. While both wine tasting and day hiking are obvious choices in and around Mendoza, there are some other cool activities that visitors might want to consider when passing through the region. Continue…

Valparaíso, a City as a Canvas

Graffiti street art, Valparaíso

Grotesque faces glare down at me, others smile angelically and stare into nothingness. Tony aims his camera at a long-necked woman whose Medusa-like hair is a tangle of colorful strokes. I’m bombarded with supersized hummingbirds. Ahead, an ocelot roams through a forest of hot pink trees while a young Indian girl in red performs a tribal dance. No, this is not a dream. We are wandering the narrow alleys of Valparaíso, a city that plays the role of a canvas for urban artists. Imaginative graffiti and politically charged street art cover everything. The effect is spectacular.

Valpo, as locals call it, is just a couple of hours from Santiago. Its labyrinthine backstreets and passageways are spread out across a series of over 40 hilltop neighborhoods. Cerros Concepción and Allegre are the most popular hoods; they bring in Continue…

Easter Island Reality Check

Easter Island problems

As I mentioned in our previous post, Easter Island is remote. To be blunt, the isolated Polynesian island represents one of the ultimate travel dead-ends. Yes, some people manage to “drop by” on trans-South Pacific flights from Chile via Tahiti to Australia or New Zealand, but even that “bargain” is not such a bargain. In other words, you come here because you have gone WAY out of your way to experience its amazing history and culture.

As I hinted at in our previous post, nationalist unrest meant that it was NOT business as usual during our visit to Easter Island. Our first full day, we were scheduled to go on a tour with a local company based in Hanga Roa. Just as we were leaving, national park officials stopped our bus and announced that a band of angry locals had blocked the roads out of town and had taken over the national park. Continue…