Age is no barrier when it comes to travel…


Flying to Chile

Most of the international flights to Chile enter Santiago and from there, you may take domestic flights to any edge of the country. My plan is to travel across South America, starting from the south. But in order to get to the south of Patagonia, I had to fly to Santiago first. Considering both the flight times and the departure times of (affordable) domestic flights, I decided to stay in Santiago for a couple of days. This way, I got comparatively cheap options from Cancún to Santiago (stopover in Lima, Peru) and from Santiago to Puerto Natales.


Sky Airline

The famous airline of South America is LATAM. There have been great packages in the past, regarding combined tickets of long distance (from Europe) and a couple of short distance flights. When doing some research on possible airlines, I found Sky to be cheaper than LATAM. Sky is the second-biggest airline of Chile and offered a connection from Cancún to Lima, Lima to Santiago. This is why I went back to Cancún Airport on my trip in Mexico.

Airlines with cheaper rates often sell food during the trip, nothing included. If you read the information carefully, you know beforehand and can board the plane prepared, with some snacks. 🙂 I had a great experience flying with Sky. The staff were really helpful, they even re-booked me to seats in the very front so that I don’t have to walk as far and am closer to the toilet.

Stopover in Lima

I departed Cancún in the late afternoon, so arrived in Lima late at night. When it was dark, I saw one or the other city lightened up and tried to guess. This was the “game” I played with myself when I wasn’t able to sleep anymore, it was still quite early. Unfortunately, since I had a whole row for myself and was laying across the seats for convenience. Sleeping would have been far more comfortable than in a seating position! 😀

The wheelchair assistance in Lima worked really well. I also spotted some European airlines, so there might be some long-distance connections. The airport of Lima was really busy, even though it was past midnight. Many shopping and dining options. Even though the airport of Cancún is quite hyped in Mexico, it honestly is quite chaotic and of low standard compared to other big international airports.

Arriving in Santiago

On my second flight, I got very emotional. Even though I felt really squeezed this time, I was really nervous and happy. This is because I finally get to enter Chile, the country / destination I have dreamed about to travel to for at least five years. Dreams may become true! 🙂 At immigration, you get a piece of paper with a QR code, keep it carefully since this document is required when leaving the country. I store it in my documents bag, hopefully it survives until I don’t need it anymore. It states that I am allowed to stay in Chile for up to 90 days.

Another important point to consider before entering Chile are their strict rules regarding (fresh) food. Rather be over-careful and go to an officer in the “something to declare” area and ask if you don’t and a dog identifies something, you might have to pay a fine. I brought some dry food for hiking. Even though I considered it to be allowed, I went to the declaration, put my bag into the scanner, all fine, and afterwards I signed the paper.


The city of Santiago

When you do any research regarding the safety of your travels, which districts are considered secure to check out or to stay, you’ll find mixed information regarding Santiago. Basic security measures are valid as for any other place you check out: you might always cross pickpockets, so take care of your belongings, no matter where you go. As for many places, there are more and less secure areas, so always respect the recommendations of locals, which forms of transport (not to) use or where (not to) go.

I felt quite safe in Santiago. In this context, I have to mention that I always avoid being out on the road during dark hours (as it’s more likely to be robbed during that time). I also try to stay only in the districts which are considered to be safe. Santiago is not like one of the “ancient” capitals of Europe, so you won’t find many sights to visit which will require a lot of time to check out. Depending on how much you want to walk within one day, where you stay and how many museums you might want to check out, 1-2 days are sufficient to check out and explore Santiago.


Accessibility of Santiago

I was very impressed by the accessibility of the city. This is why I start with that aspect. I checked out the quarters “Las Tarria”, “Bellas Artes” and the Centro (the quarter including la Placa de Armas). The names for quarters are not related to a specific architecture, but to the main streets crossing the quarter. During my days in Santiago, I stayed in San Isidoro, the quarter with many universities close to the Center.

Within all area I checked out, I was so surprised by no stairs, all sidewalks being accessible through ramps at every crossing and also the stores having spaces which are accessible without any stairs. There are some streets connecting to the Placa de Armas which were used for market sales. Many people were out, selling some stuff, clothes, drinks, electronics, food, souvenirs, decoration, … I realized that there were many people out on the streets with visible disabilities. The impressing perspective was that these people were so included. I couldn’t recognize that staring or “difference”-mindset which I have often seen or experienced while traveling in Europe.


I haven’t checked any Chilean laws or which powers decided to make the center of Santiago as accessible. However, I am confident that the accessibility has a positive impact on how handicapped people are included into normal life, into all society. I wish my Spanish was better, I would have been so curious to talk to some of those people.

Las Tarria, Bellas Artes, Centro and Cerro Santa Lucia

There are nice restaurants and bars in the quarter Las Tarria. While I was walking along the main street in the morning, people set up stuff for a book-and-arts market. Walking from Las Tarria towards the Parque Forestal, I headed towards the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and found a wonderful and great French café nearby.


I walked around in the Center, just randomly up and down the streets, with the intention to get a feeling for the vibes here. The Placa de Armas is the central area of the center. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t walk into the center of the Placa nor take pictures from it, but when I went in the morning, there were no people, so no risk of meeting the wrong ones. I avoided the center of the Place later during the day.


Furthermore, I was wondering where I might find a viewpoint to see the skyline of Santiago with the Andes in the background. At the end of the day, I went to the Cerro Santa Lucia, a small hill within the city that has a great viewpoint. From there, I could see the Andes in the background. Maybe there are more viewpoints, this one at least is a free one. 🙂


Staying in Santiago, in San Isidro

When I thought about a place to stay in Santiago, I figured that many affordable hostels are party hostels. This is not the type of accommodation I like. Hotels were far too expensive. Nobody responded on Couch-surfing, so I checked for Airbnb. I stayed with a guy, Ben, in his apartment in San Isidro. He is a teacher for Latin American language and literature at one of the universities, therefore lives in the university quarter, which is considered quite safe. I enjoyed staying in a private room after so many weeks in hostel dormitories.

The skyscrapers look quite similar, some in better and some in worse condition. Most of them have a central reception that takes care of the building. It also feels more secure if there is staff to check who is entering and leaving the building. All the apartment skyscrapers as well as the stores I passed by had a wheelchair ramp, very convenient.

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