It’s that time of the year where I start daydreaming about all the destinations I want to explore in the next 12 months. In 2018, I made a major life change by moving to Chile, and I ticked off some of my biggest travels—from visiting Buenos Aires, to going on my dream trip to Torres del Paine National Park to spending New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro. it was an unforgettable year of adventures!
Here are some of my favorite experiences to add to your South America travel bucket list for 2019!
ADMIRE THE STREET ART IN VALPARAISO
This port city was my favorite travel destination of 2018, and it’s where I took all my friends and family when they visited me in Chile. The city’s grit grit and colorful, graffiti-stained walls have earned it the title of World Unesco Heritage Site. It is affably nicknamed “Valpo” by its locals, and has garnered respect from thousands of travelers and residents alike, including the famous poet Pablo Neruda.
DISCOVER THE HIDDEN GEM OF CHILOE ISLAND
Chiloe Island is made up of a series of archipelagos in Chile’s southern Pacific coast. Its stories of mythical lore still thrive among its inhabitants in the sleepy towns throughout the region. I was taken by the Chilote hospitality, and astounded by its vibrant culture, food and respect for nature. It’s a unique destination in its own right, and will likely grow in popularity over the next few years as more travelers discover it
TREK THROUGH PRISTINE BEAUTY IN PATAGONIA
What would any travel bucket list be without a reference to the majestic Patagonia? I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life exploring Patagonia with my best friends. We survived the strongest winds, witnessed brilliant rainbows, and were left breathless by this region’s wild, barren and beautiful terrain. Come experience it for yourself this year, you won’t regret it.
APPRECIATE NATURE IN HUILO HUILO BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
Huilo Huilo doesn’t just have a fun name, it’s also one of Chile’s most important biological reserves located in the middle of the Patagonian Rainforest. It is an eco conservation project that was created in 1999, and houses several hotels and lodges constructed entirely of materials within the reserve. Anyone who values nature, environmental conservation and wants to learn more about Chile’s flora and fauna should spend time in Huilo Huilo.
GET CULTURED IN BUENOS AIRES
Buenos Aires is thrilling, electrifying and the true city that never sleeps. It has everything from the famous tango, to important cultural institutions such as Casa Rosada and an endless supply of delicious food (hello, medialunas). The locals are also beautiful to look at, with their mix of Italian, Spanish and Latin American descent. I could spend an eternity in this cooler-than-cool city, make sure this is on your travel bucket list too!
SPEND NEW YEAR’S EVE IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro captured my heart, my mind and all my senses. I spent two glorious weeks, from Christmas through New Year’s, and fell in love with the cariocas. Brazilians have a warm, fun-loving spirit that transcends all cultural and language barriers. I was taken by the music that permeated the streets at all hours of the day and night. The city’s casual approach to life is infectious, and convinced me to find a way to live there myself one day. Until then, I’ll have memories of my beautiful two weeks in Rio de Janeiro.