Time in Chile Coming to an End

As we get closer to our departure from Chile it is a good time to reflect upon all of the fun things that we have been able to do while here. We have been able to see many pretty places and eat a lot of good food. It’s been a while since I have lived in a South American country and it has been good for me to continue practicing my Spanish.

Mika doesn’t want to think about the departure because it means that she will no longer be so close to her parents and other family, but it is almost time for us to go and continue our own adventures.

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Every month Mika and I try to go on a special date. Last week she decided to surprise me and take me to Concon and drive along the coast and then we watched the sunset while eating all kinds of snacks. It was a good time and a fun way to enjoy our time together.

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We’ve also made it a tradition that almost every time we go to the Centro of Quilpue that we go and get ice cream. It’s so cheap that it almost doesn’t make sense not to……well that’s my way of justifying it at least.

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Isla de Catalina “California” USA.

Llegar a la Isla de Catalina no fue muy complicado, un amigo de la familia de mi esposo nos llevo en un”Cigarette boat” nos demoramos unos 35-45 minutos en llegar. Para poder entrar a la isla uno tiene que pagar por estacionar el bote.

llegamos por el lado que se llama Avalo Ca, se veia muy lindo al entrar, lo mejor y recomendado es comer en los restaurantes que estan al lado de la costa, es muy sabroso y bonito.  Luego fuimos a pasear por la Isla y solo puedes usar bicicletas o autos de golf, permiten solo algunos residentes tener autos. bueno igual es genial porque no habia trafico jajaja. arrendamos dos autos de golf y manejamos por la costa, tratamos de conocer bastante y llegamos a unos miradores muy hermosos, bastante tranquilos que podiamos ver gran parte de la isla luego bajamos a la playa cosa que kelvin con mis Suegros y Steve tenian un sorpresa para mi. Bueno nos separamos con mis suegros y Steve que se fueron todos en un auto camino a la playa mientras kelvin y yo fuimos a concer mas de la isla y sacar fotos lo cual yo estaba fascinada. Luego llamaron a kelvin diciendo que fueramos a donde estaban ellos y note que kelvin estaba muy nervioso.

Llegamos, caminamos hacia la playa y lo primero que ví fue demasiada gente, luego cerca de el agua ví ramos de flores rojas con piedras alrededor puestas en la arena, que decia algo muy importante era…. “Te Casas Conmigo”, Yo pene es una broma cierto? ya que el dia anterior habia hecho una mala jugada en disneyland. IMG_1397

Me mostro el anillo y note que era serio cuando el me hablaba y la gente puso la cancion “Rude” de el grupo (Magic). Cuando ya pude creerlo, Me encanto y obvio dije que Si acepto!

Despues a la tarde al regresar a California tuvimos una experiencia bonita pero un poco mala para mi, espero que nunca les pase, quedamos varados en medio del oceano. Nos vinieron a buscar y demoramos en llegar a Cali como 4 horas y a mi me dio mareo todo el viaje y las olas no estaban calmadas eso fue lo peor pero lo lindo es que vimos delfines y ballenas!

Pichilemu and Punta de Lobos, Chilean Surf Capital

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So the day started off kind of rough we woke up at 5 so we could get rolling by 6……which did not happen. Mikaela’s grandma initially wanted to come but then once we were on our way you could tell that she had regretted the idea. It is a 3 and a half hour drive from Quilpue and she was not liking being in the car that long. I mean I understand why, but we all knew that it would be a long drive to get there. We finally made it to Pichilemu and as we were arriving at the city I noticed that the swell was coming in pretty strong.

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I had looked at reports and knew that is was going to be big, but it’s one thing to see it on a report as compared to seeing it in person. As we drove through Pichilemu to get to Punta de Lobos it was interesting to see the change in houses and style of life from Pichilemu city center to Punta de Lobos. Near Punta de Lobos there were a ton of upscale houses and tons of vacation rental properties.

We finally made it to our destination Punta de Lobos and were excited to get out of the car to see some waves! Punta de Lobos didn’t disappoint, the waves were firing. I was stoked to see the waves but realized I had made a mistake…… I forgot my freaking memory card for my camera! I was so bummed that I hadn’t thought of that when packing things for the trip. The camera on my phone was the only good option left.

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Since I have started surfing I haven’t been to many point break surfing spots but Punta de Lobos was awesome. It was extremely consistent with how many waves were coming through and ranged from 7-12 feet. I personally think that some of the sets were even bigger than that but I couldn’t tell you for sure. After watching some people catch waves at the famous big wave spot behind the two rocks I wanted to give it a try, but not where it broke as big. I put on my wetsuit and watched a couple of people paddle out to try and figure out what to do.

I put on my wetsuit and watched a couple of people paddle out to try and figure out what to do. After watching I felt comfortable to paddle out and I made it out past some rocks and got taken by the current, it took me a while to paddle to the spot that I wanted to be. After watching some waves I caught what felt like a massive wave and rode it for a good while and then paddled a little bit deeper than where I was before. I only have one board and unfortunately, it is not really made for those kinds of waves because it is only a 5’4″ and I’m 5’11”. Anyway I was deeper trying to catch a good size wave and a massive set came through, I paddled through the first 2 or 3 waves and then got destroyed by one of the bigger waves that had broken a lot deeper than where I was. I got wrecked and was underwater for about 10-15 second but it always feels a lot longer when you’re getting thrown around like clothes in a washing machine. I then decided to paddle closer to shore to catch some less intimidating waves.

After surfing we decided to go back to Pichilemu to see what was over there and we ate at a restaurant overlooking one of the main beaches. Mika’s grandma wasn’t happy about being so far away from home so late so we decided to head back even though Mika and I didn’t want to leave yet.

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Overall it was a fun experience and I really enjoyed the views of Punta de Lobos and Pichilemu. I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy surfing or just want to see something different in Chile.

 

 

Chilean Currency, Value of each bill compared to US Dollars and tipping guide

Managing money in other countries can be difficult, especially when you don’t understand the value of each bill it can make it hard. For those of you traveling to Chile here are some examples of Chilean Pesos and their value as compared to US Dollars.

 

As of right now, 665 Chilean Pesos is equal to 1 US Dollar. Here in Chile tips aren’t always expected but are appreciated. For example, if you go to a grocery store and someone is there bagging your food you can give them anywhere from 100 to 1000 pesos depending on how many bags you have and that is considered acceptable. If you are driving a car in Chile and someone helps you enter or exit a parking space most people tip 100-500 pesos depending on how much they actually help you.

 

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Bill Comparison

 

If you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Sunset in Reñaca Chile

 

Day Trips Driving Along the Chilean Central Coast

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Chile has many beautiful sights to see. I have been fortunate enough to be able to drive North and South of Viña del Mar with my in-laws and wife. There is a lot to see and it reminds me of California with a highway going along the coast similar to the Pacific Coast Highway. On Wednesday we went to Maitencillo, Cachagua, Zapallar, and Horcon in search of some waves to surf. We drove to Maitencillo and didn’t find any great spots to surf so we continued up the highway to Cachagua which was beautiful and there was only one other family on the beach.

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A nice deserted beach in Cachagua Chile

Side note: Chile is a great place to visit from March-May because most of the summer tourist have left which makes it a lot less crowded.

We walked the beach and found a rock pathway that went along the coast and was next to some huge houses. After walking around we decided to go Zapallar (further North) to continue the wave search but Zapallar is very enclosed and had no waves. As we went down into the city of Zapallar we passed through the quaint city center and as we were driving down the hill getting closer to the beach the houses started to get larger and looked like the belonged to affluent people. We made it down to one of the beaches and as we were walking down the stairs off in the distance my wife saw dolphins so we ran over to some rocks to try and get a better view. The dolphin was shy at first and then it started jumping around not too long after and we stayed and watched it for a while.

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After watching the dolphin we decided to head back home. On the way, we decided to make one more stop in Horcon. It wasn’t the prettiest place because it is a humble fishing town but we saw a rock arch and made our way over to it.

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Horcon Chile

We walked past an artisan market and there was a bridge with many ribbons tied to it, they call it the bridge of desires puente de deseos, because you write your desire on a ribbon and then tie it to the bridge. We took some pics and continued to the arch.

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Puente de Deseos

 

We then walked back and on the way back we were able to watch a beautiful sunset, it was unexpected because it was such a great view from a place that wasn’t as pretty as all of the other places we had visited.

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Procrastination; Everyone’s Worst Enemy. Trip to El Cajon de Maipo

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Yes, we are still alive and well but the struggle is real. At first I didn’t have any trouble thinking of things to write about and expound upon but we have fallen out of the routine of writing and updating the blog. I still have a lot of fun things and trips to write about but it can be hard to sit down and actually do it. If there is something that you are prorastinating find the best way for YOU to get it done as soon as possible. Personally I can have a hard time starting projects. No excuses should be made, I know it might sound cliche but Just Do It!

Once I start, my focus is set on completing a task as soon as possible. For example I recently made a video edit of some of our adventures in Chile. I started it one day, worked on it for about 2 and a half hours then finished it the next day in about an hour or so. It still a skill that I am developing but video editing and filming is fun for me. I like being able to capture moments that we have enjoyed and having the ability to go back and relive them later. It’s the same as photos. I don’t like being in photos but it’s fun looking back at all the memories I’ve had with my wife.

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Largest Pool in the World Algarrobo

 

Back to the adventure part of our stories, we have been doing a lot of fun things here in Chile. We have been to the sand dunes in Concon, surfing in Reñaca and Concon, made a trip along the coast from Valparaiso heading down to San Antonio, day trips to around the city of Valparaiso, and a trip to El Cajon de Maipo.

We had planned the trip to El Cajon de Maipo 2 weeks ago but were unable to go one weekend because of the weather up in the mountains. The next week we made the trip over to La Cordillera Chilena, Chilean Mountain Range. It was a long trip because we didn’t want to go through the tolled part of Santiago, the tolls can be pretty expensive but can cut your trip in half, it also didn’t help that the family dog decided to join the trip. We were about to leave the house and their family dog figured out that we were leaving and got inside the car and wouldn’t get out. They decided to bring him but he didn’t cope too well with all the traveling and the cold. The un-tolled roads en route to El Cajon de Maipo had so many curves and turns, I don’t usually get motion sickness but it was too much for me this time. Most of the highways here have many turns and it can be hard to get used too. The dog, Doki was freaking out most of the drive, he was changing seats and moving all around. It took us a long time to reach El Cajon de Maipo because my In-laws insisted on taking pictures every 5 minutes it felt like.

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Chile, the land of many curves

 

Finally we made it to our destination a natural hot springs camping area called Termas Valle de Colina. After about an hour and a half of Mika’s mom dissaproving of various camping sites we finally found one and set up camp. Doki wasn’t feeling good and started to decorate our campsite with what he had eaten. We set up camp and then made our way over to the hot springs, it was extremely crowded with tourists and many people from Santiago. There were two hot springs at the very top the highest one being the hottest, which nobody was in, and I put my feet in the second hottest one for about 5 minutes and my feet turned red, it felt like I was boiling. We then went down two more levels to be with Mika’s parents and some friends.

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The views were great from that hot spring, you coud see snow in the mountains and the valley below, but it was lukewarm so we went up to the next hot spring which was more like a jacuzzi. We stayed there as long as we could switching back and forth from lukewarm to hot enjoying the scenery.

 

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Mika enjoying the hot springs and view

 

After a couple of hours we went back to camp had barbequed some pork then prepared to go to bed. Doki slept in our tent and was walking over everyone the whole night. One of the friends, Francisco, helped let Doki out five times for him to do his business. Needless to say I didn’t really sleep that well because it was freezing and because Doki walked on my face two times.

 

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Sunset views from the tent

 

I woke up around 8 in the morning and left the tent because it smelt horrible! It was like an several animals had died and a sulfur factory, I wanted to burn my clothes to get rid of the stench. I quickly changed and invited others to go but nobody followed. It was a nice relief getting into the hot springs because I was no longer cold. After a while more and more people started funneling into the hot springs as well as my wife and everyone else that I came with.

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After a couple more hours of relaxation we went back to camp and packed up. Doki had made landmines almost everywhere and it wasn’t a pleasant smell when packing up so we were glad to get that done.

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We stopped several times on the way back becuase Doki was sick and we went to a waterfall we had seen from the road driving up to the hot springs.

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On the way back we decided to go check out a natural water resevoir that provide the water to the City of Santiago, it was 22 km up a road we passed on the way to the hot springs. Guess what, it had a lot of curves as well! We made almost to the top but decided to get out and walk because there were about a thousand cars that were blocking the entrance and exit and had made a ton of traffic where there shouldn’t be. We made it to the resevoir and it was a pretty sight.

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We walked back down and got back on our way down to the main road. Like I said before there were many curves and Doki wasn’t enjoying it, in fact he threw up, mostly water, in the very back of the car with Francisco. We stopped as soon as we could and did some quick clean up and continued on our way…..like usual making stops every hour or so.

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Valentines Day, The Day After

My wife and I had a pretty laid back Valentines Day this year. I personally believe that it is a huge sales/marketing ploy but that is beside the point. We spent time together and I organized/cleaned the house and washed the laundry when my wife was at the gym. I also surprised her with some Plumeria flowers that I climbed in some trees to get (yes there are flowers in trees). It wasn’t the biggest deal but it’s the thought and the gesture that she likes. Funny thing was that neighbors saw me climbing in the trees and were wondering what I was up to. I even had a broom and was trying to hit them out of the tree which made me look like a complete idiot but I was motivated.

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This was on the way down, as you can see its a bit of a drop! 

I digress from the real story, today I had the day off from school so we decided to go on some adventures. We went to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout and met up with some people that we had recently met that are visiting from Spain and wanted to go on some hikes. We climbed up to the Pali Puka (Puka means hole in Hawaiian) even though it was kind of dangerous because it was raining and there are parts with cliffs on one side. I personally don’t like heights (except for when I am jumping into water) so I was hugging the side of the trail and going slowly. At some parts on the hike it is about a foot or two wide and is very nerve racking. We finally made it to the Puka and then we went down slowly.

 

After the Pali Lookout and the Pali Puka we went on a waterfall hike nearby. It was a short hike that takes you trough some pretty scenery and arrive at a really nice waterfall. We took plenty of photos and played in the falls while it was raining most of the time. By this time every article of clothing was drenched and were starting to get cold. We hiked back down and decided to go get some plate lunches from a good local restaurant in Waimanalo.

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We then drove and stopped at some scenic points on our way to one of my favorite places Spitting Caves. Took more photos as per usual and then went to China Walls which is really close to Spitting Caves.

China Walls is a popular local hangout spot for Hawaii Kai residents. Explaining it with words doesn’t do it much justice but we jumped into the ocean from a small 10 foot cliff and were able to watch a beautiful sunset with our new friends from Spain. Overall it was a great day!