2008 Roadtrip Santiago, Chile

We left La Serena at 10:45 am and arrived in Santiago 3:25 pm in 4.5 hours, having breezed through 477km. The drive was beautiful. The road side vistas were flowering and green. The ocean view was lovely. There were mountains and rolling hills. And, from La Serena to Santiago there was a 4-lane highway. The tolls were CLP$12.000, about US$24.

So, the total distance from Cuzco, Peru to Santiago, Chile was 3114 km and we did it in 6 days. The Chilean drivers are disciplined and orderly. The roads are generally good and, frankly, the drive back along the Chilean desert was not as bad as we remembered it to be.

Since we bought our car in April, 2006, we have driven 50,000 km in the southern part of South America. In Chile alone, we've driven from Arica to Puerto Natales, a total of 5453 km (and between Santiago and the Peruvian border we've driven it twice!)
We took the Panamericana Highway all the way to the Costanera al Oriente and went directly to our favorite apartment in Santiago: Boulevard Suites, Av. Kennedy 5749, Las Condes, Santiago, fono: (56-2)421-5000, e-mail: info@boulevardsuites.cl and web: http://www.boulevardsuites.cl/ Since 2006, when we first stayed in apartment 3403, the price has steadily risen. It was US$100 a day then, and it was US$140 in 2008. We were happy with the comfort, furniture, service and amenities. We had a one bedroom that had plenty of storage space, two desks, a well-equipped kitchen and a comfortable living room/dining room area. And the view east to the mountains was fabulous.

The mountain view from our apartment at Boulevard Suites

The people who work at Boulevard Suites are professional, warm and friendly. It's like coming home to a caring family.

Boulevard Suites are on top of the same building as the Marriott Hotel and we can use the gym and facilities of the hotel. The gym is good (although the people who work there are grumpy and not helpful). Unfortunately the Jacuzzi is never hot enough and the people at the gym are reluctant to do anything about it.
Santiago looks pretty in the spring. There are lovely fruit trees flowering. When the sky clears and the snow-covered mountains are visible, the views are awesome. It is a city with a spectacular setting.

1 comment:

  1. Audre and Dimitri; I love your blog and have posted comments in the locations where we went. We landed in Santiago and thought your readers could benefit from some customs info. First, don't daly in getting to the lines. If it is your first time in Chile on your current passport, you must pay a fee to get in from the US. It is a reciprocal fee so we didn't complain. However, it is approximately 150.00 USD so for 6 of us it was quite a surprise. You must stand in line to pay the fee first. Then go to the document line and finally you can get your luggage. We missed the first line only to have to go there after waiting 45min. in the wrong line. In all we spent 3 hours in customs. This put us at the back of the line for our car rentals. We ended up with not so nice cars from Alamo.
    Our 2 week trip was AMAZING. In Santiago we stayed at the Raddisson on Avenida Vitacura. Very, very nice. Marble, granite, spacious, extremely clean and well furnished, excellent retaurant and bar, a piano player in lobby during tea time, and excellent service! We felt the location was nice-embassy row.
    From Santiago we went to Pucon then to Puerto Varas. We ended our trip with a stay at San Alphonso Del Mar. It's the largest pool in the world and Penguin Island is in view. You can drive right to the island(our 9 year old son wanted to see penguins). We were able to leave the kids(2 college age) at the pool all day while my husband and I went to a couple of vineyards. We booked San Alfonso Del Mar on-line before leaving. It was very nice and very inexpensive. The roads are amazing throughout Chile(better than in the US). The most beautiful drive we had was a little road between Algorrobba and Vina Del Mar. Beautiful! As far as driving, if you get pulled over(my husband did), DO NOT consider a bribe. You will go to jail. We knew this ahead of time. The very nice carabinero let us go with a warning. None of us had trouble with the water, the food or the language. Many Chileans know how to speak english and german as well. We can't wait togo back! Stella(sjwag6@aol.com)