Study Abroad at University of Viña del Mar (14)

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Travel through South America

After the somewhat stressful last two weeks of the semester full of submissions, presentations and exams and the last farewell parties with the students, I started the last two months of my stay abroad: A trip north through South America. Many of the students had already made individual excursions and short trips to the northern regions and countries of the continent during the semester – but I saved these destinations for the long trip. I started at the beginning of July in Chiloé, the largest island in Chile, where I rented a car with three other girls and got to know the beautiful island and the lake area around Puerto Varas.

In addition to an extremely sunny and beautiful day, we also got to know the classic weather there: pouring rain (around 300 days a year it should rain there). Then I went to Linares via Valdivia and Concepción, where I visited the parents’ house of a Chilean friend and got to know the “real” Chile without tourism in a small town. Then I took the plane from Santiago to Calama and immediately to San Pedro de Atacama, an impressive desert village from which I made many trips to lakes in the Andes, geysers, the “Valle de la Luna” and the Salar de Atacama in undertook the next two days.

With the day trips up to 4,300m and the enormous temperature differences (-15 degrees to +25) I was able to prepare for the three-day jeep tour to the Salar de Uyuni and the altitude there (we were at 5,000m), the third Day began in San Pedro. This tour was amazing: Incredibly impressive, beautiful and varied nature in the Andes, interesting and funny 5 other passengers from the USA, Argentina and the Netherlands and a really experienced and good driver. We were all sad when our ways parted in Uyuni, Bolivia.


For me it went on with a Spaniard to Potosí, one of the highest cities in the world (4070m), where we visited the beautiful old town and with a former miner an extremely impressive silver and tin mine. The next stop was Sucre, where we let the beautiful old town captivate us and got to know more about resource extraction in Bolivia in a museum. In La Paz, the megacity of Bolivia, I got to know his two Spanish roommates, with whom I would travel to Cuzco in Peru over the next few days.

In La Paz we made a long city tour and took the “Teleferico”, a cable car, up to “El Alto” from around 3600m to over 4100m and enjoyed the breathtaking view over La Paz. The next day we rode the Camino on our mountain bikes de los Yungas, better known as “Death Road” from over 4600m to about 1200m, where we stayed one night and day in the village of Coroico with paradisiacal views. This excursion was one of the highlights of the trip: You drive through almost all climate zones in South America, have spectacular views of hundreds of meters deep canyons and slopes and experience temperatures of around 0 degrees up to 30 degrees. Depending on the speed, there is definitely an adrenaline rush – but the descent and the road are safe for cyclists!

  • Learn more information about Bolivia and South America on justinshoes.


Then we went with the two Spanish women to the impressive Lake Titicaca, to Copacabana, where we climbed the local mountain at sunset (really exhausting due to the height of 3800m), got to know Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna and then to Puno, Set out in Peru. There we got to know one of the residents and the history of the “Islas flotantes” and hiked on the Isla Taquile, which is quite far from the mainland. Then we took the night bus to Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire, where there is a lot to see. We went on a trip to the “Montañas de las siete colores” (be sure to ask the Kana Travel agency about the alternative route, which impressed us very much!) And of course the incredible Machu Picchu.

Then I went to Huacachina near Ica in very impressive sand dunes and to the Huacachina oasis and to Paracas, where I met a German again, whom I had met in Copacabana at sunset on the local mountain. In Paracas I visited the Islas Bellestas, which are called the “Galapagos Islands for the poor”, because you can see a multitude of birds, sea lions and with luck even Humboldt penguins. I also visited the Paracas peninsula, which offers impressive desert landscapes and beaches. Then I went on to Trujillo for a short stay in Lima, where I visited Chan-Chan, the former capital of the Chimú empire, and enjoyed a delicious ceviche at the coastal town of Huanchaco. Overall, Peruvian cuisine is extremely tasty and significantly better than the Chilean one.

We continued over the beautiful and relaxed Cajamarca on a 12-hour bus ride during the day to Chachapoyas. The ride is breathtaking, I was glued to the window the whole time and observed the sometimes extremely large differences in altitude. This bus trip is an absolute insider tip. In Chachapoyas, I visited the impressive fortress “Kuelap” of the Chachapoya culture with an Austrian and two British people before going to Cuispes, a small village about an hour and a half north of Chachapoyas, from where we will trek to the breathtaking Amazon over two days -Made waterfalls. Among other things, we saw the Yumbilla waterfall with a total height of 870 m.


Then I went via the La Balsa border crossing to Ecuador, where I met my former Ecuadorian roommate from my semester abroad in Valencia, Spain in Loja and took him on a one-week road trip by car. We drove from Loja via Cuenca to Alausí, where we took the train down the devil’s nose “Nariz del diablo”. Then it went on via a stop in Ingapirca, the most important Inca ruin cities of Ecuador and in the thermal baths of Baños to Puyo, where he lived. From there we made day trips into the jungle to Tena, where we bathed in a cool river swimming pool, which was just the thing with the hot temperatures (the first time on the whole trip).

Highly recommended is the “Indichuris” mirador, where you can swing on a rope over the jungle with a fantastic view. Much better than the “Columpio del fin del mundo” at Casa de arbol in Baños, where we were after a highly recommended rafting tour in Baños. After Baños, where you can experience a lot of outdoor activities, we went to Latacunga to drive directly to the impressive Quilotoa crater the next morning. Then we went to Quito, where we visited the beautiful old town and extremely pompous churches full of gold.


The next day I started my bus trip to Bogota, which lasted around 30 hours, to get my plane to Lima. Actually, I had planned to spend a few more days in Colombia and had therefore booked the flight from Bogota. In addition, it is significantly cheaper to fly to Lima with the low-cost airline “Viva Columbia” than from Ecuador. The next morning I took the plane from Lima to Santiago to pick up my suitcase in Viña del Mar. I went to eat one last time with my roommate in beautiful Valparaíso and took the plane to Frankfurt the next day. So 6 months of South America went by in a flash and I don’t want a second (except maybe the first 2 months thanks to my thesis)miss! Thank you College-Contact for the financial support !

Study Abroad at University of Viña del Mar (14)

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