Calafate, Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina

Calafate or El Calafate is one of the three main cities of the province of Santa Cruz in Patagonia, Argentina, located on the southern shore of Lake Argentino, at the foot of the Andes, 80 km from the Perito Moreno Glacier. Calafate is the entrance gate to the National Park Los Glaciares where we find the Perito Moreno Glacier, Upsala Glacier and Mount Fitz Roy, among others, it is part of the Ice Field of Patagonia and of Torres del Paine National Park , in Chile. In the park, you can visit the glaciers and you can minitrekking on the Perito Moreno ; you could also navigate the Argentine lake visiting the Onelli Bay. If you are interested to know more about glaciers, visit the Glaciarium or Museum of Patagonian Ice which is a scientific and cultural center.

Tips

You can find hotels, bed & breakfats, apartments or houses to rent in the region. It is very nice to take a week of relaxing vacation in the nature. In the vicinity of Lake Argentino there are a lot of activities to do like horse riding, 4×4 excursions to visit Frias and Huyliche hills, visit the Ecological Reserve Laguna Nimez, do mountain activities throughout the year, among others.
Calafate Airport is 17 km from the city.

Chinchero, Peru

Chinchero is at 30 km from Cusco, at 3 760 m, is considered one of the most interesting villages in the region; located on an inca site. It controlled the access to the Sacred Valley. There are still important Inca traces like the walls made from blocks that are perfectly adjusted. Its streets are narrow and they are cut in the middle by a canal. Water is also present between the houses. The women of the village dressed in colourful costumes, were organized in a cooperative and demonstrate the staining of wool with natural products such as roots or spices. They wash the wool with roots, they show you the way to tint them and after that the older women show you how to work it to make their craft products. During the demonstration, you will be invited to drink coca tea.

Tips

You can go on an excursion, taking a bus at Cusco or by van or by car. Chinchero is included in a tourist ticket that includes visits to four cities in the region or in another ticket which includes 16 tourist attractions with museums. You can still visit it without a ticket even though they’ll ask you insistently for it.
It is true that the demonstration that women make to tourists is interesting but the true Chinchero is the one with the houses made with adobe and straw, with animals from the farm and the green valleys; you will discover it by yourself going without an excursion. It is worth venturing a bit and walk 1 km in the direction of Cusco to reach Piuray Lake.
If you walk along the road above the village you will find the ancient church of Chinchero abandoned today but much more authentic than the one which includes the tourist circuit. Its roof is totally destroyed but we can always see its front.
Talking about crafts, it’s not worth to go there to buy them cause they are the same items that you can find anywhere in the region.

Valparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso is a port and a city of Chile, capital of the region and the province. It is the first port and the second city of the country.

The city can be divided into two distinct parts. One of them is El Plan, located on the flat part of the city, where is the port as well as a large majority of the shops, it is the lower town. On the other hand, above, ‘Los Cerros’, the hills dominate the city. It is in these hills that the majority of the population lives, and these are their homes of varied colors which give the city its unique look, it is the upper town .

The city can be visited using the funiculars which allow the access to the neighbourhoods situated on the hills. From there, you can see the Bay of Valparaiso, with its port and away on the Northeast you can see the city of Viña del Mar.

 
Tips

 
The historic centre of Valparaiso was classified world heritage by UNESCO in 2003. Funds were available to restore the multicoloured houses on the hills. The city is nicknamed “the Pearl of the Pacific” and it is also the cultural capital of Chile.

There is so much to see… there is a vibrant cultural life, the hills have populated frescoes with fantasy characters, these murals are interconnected to give birth to great collective works.

The streets around the port have many typical bars and restaurants; very colorful ones. Nearby there are many beaches, but also many wineries and some are certified organic. Valparaiso is a must-see stop in your wine route.