Chile: Hidden Paradise
If you’re on the look out for a relaxing, colorful, and full of culture getaway, Chile is the place for you. Chile is located along the South America’s west end, with access to about 12,290 Sq. kilometers of Pacific Ocean water, making it a perfect getaway place. Chile is full of culture, including colorful churches with a unique style influenced by aboriginal and European Jesuit known as the Chiloe Churches, Fort of Quitor, a beautiful Monument used by the Inca people and the Easter Island where Monumental Statues, the Moai, which stand strong and have been for more than a couple of centuries. All of these mesmerizing and many other sites that I’ll be mentioning further were what dragged me to visit and hopefully motivate you to add this paradise to your own travel list.
My first stop on this magical hidden paradise had to be the Cerro of San Cristobal, which is an 860-meter hill located in the center of Santiago, Chile. Although the climb up hill, which consists of a 30 to 45-minute climb, will be a workout and a no-no for some, the panoramic view is worth every step of the way. From this height you get to witness the beautiful city, from the colorful homes that look like candies from afar to the beautiful blue skies that seem to hug the city and not to mention its astonishing surroundings which include the Andes Mountains. The Andes, aren’t just beautiful to look at but they store so much history within. For example, that’s a memorable spot because of Jose de San Martin, who was the Liberator of Chile and at some point in time him and his army crossed those mountains in the freezing and cold altitudes. And while at top of this high hill, you also get to witness up close the beautiful statue of Virgin Mary. This statue is a must when you visit the city of Santiago, as it is said that Pope John Paul II would pray here and on April 1st of 1987 he blessed the city in front of this very statue.
My next stop had to be Arica, which is located 18km south of the border with Peru. Arica is Capital of both Arica and Parinota Region and Arica Province. Not only is it a quiet beach resort with the perfect spring weather year round because of it’s sunny days and low rain fall in the present day but the history behind these premises is astonishing. Back in June 1880, Chileans fought and conquered the beautiful land of Arica from Peru, making “Battle of Arica” a well known battle. From this battle, Chile gained the beautiful blue tropical beaches that now in present day make it the perfect beaches for surfing and simply lying under an umbrella with family and friends. However, historically, in comparison to today’s way of living on these beaches where we surf and take a dip on these shores, once upon a time they also worked as shipping ports and still do today. These beaches back in the Spanish rule days worked as ports for international trade, isn’t that just mind blowing? And because Arica has been homed by variety of population groups such as Indigenous, mestizos, local creoles and colonial era slaves, Arica is rich with culture making it the perfect spot to taste local food from various cultures and explore the markets and witness handmade crafts from various cultures as well.
And lastly, after a 3-hour travel from Arica, I finally arrived to what would be my last destination, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter. This magnificent place is located in the South side of Chile, in Pampas, one of the driest deserts of earth. This small town filled with a large amount of history was home to Saltpeter works. Due to mixed cultures that worked together in this company town, such as Chilean, Peruvian and Bolivian, this town held a beautiful mixture of language, solidarity and creativity, which created it’s own unique Pampinos culture. What you witness as you enter this town, is a beautiful set of industrial, and a bit reddish rusting looking buildings due to the fact that they aren’t in use anymore but you can still make out what they would’ve looked like back in 1880. Alongside of the industrial buildings, you also find small wooden homes with white peeling paint off of them, which were once the home of the Saltpeter workers. This town not only holds history of being one of the largest deposits of saltpeter in the world but also during it’s beginnings it had no clue it would transform North and South America, and Europe by producing fertilizer sodium nitrate, finalizing in an economical growth for Chile. Chile is indeed a hidden paradise, from it’s beautiful high hills, it’s colorful beaches, industrial history and beautiful mix of cultures, it definitely comes together as a beautiful place to not only remember but to visit more than once in a lifetime.
- 1. “Cerro San Cristobal – Spectacular Panoramic View of Santiago.” Santiago Tourist, 7 Apr. 2016,santiagotourist.com/cerro-san-cristobal-spectacular-panoramic-view-of-santiago/.
- 2. “Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre,whc.unesco.org/
- 3. Trovall, Elizabeth. “7 Things You Need to Know About Santiago’s Hills.” Culture Trip.https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/chile/articles/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-santiagos-hills/
- 4. Velasquez, M. Tulio, et al. “Andes Mountains.” Encyclopædia Britannica, EncyclopædiaBritannica, Inc., 26 July 2017, www.britannica.com/place/