We are presently on our South America/Antarctica adventure. I hope some of this information might help others who are headed this way.
January 12 - We’re still a few days away from our Antarctic adventure, but I decided since we were already in South America, I would start recording info about our adventures pre-cruise. Originally, we had signed up for the Viking pre-excursion to Easter Island, but Viking canceled that back in September. Since we had purchased our own air, we decided to keep our outbound trip to Santiago in place and do our pre-excursion on our own. We flew down on Tuesday night. The overnight flight on Latam was nice since were were in business class, but I’m not a fan of overnight flights, so I was still a bit groggy when we arrived after the 10 hour flight. Navigating the Santiago airport was fairly easy, but we did have to download a form on our phones officially confirming that we did not have any plant or animal products with us. We decided to call an Uber, which was also fast, but we had to go up to the departures area to be picked up - not the arrivals area. Our hotel room was not ready since it was still early in the morning, so we dropped off our luggage and went for a long walk, which included a coffee shop break, walks through several parks, and ultimately a mall that was back near our hotel. One of the restaurants there had been recommended by the hotel for typical Chilean food. Of course, Mike had a local beer and I had a pisco sour. We were off to a good start, but that pisco sour and the fact that I’d recorded 22,000 steps on my fitbit reminded me that our room might be ready by now, so we headed back to the hotel. The Santiago area where our hotel is located is called Vitacura and it is an upscale residential area with lots of restaurants and shopping. My first impression of this area is that it is so clean. As we walked this morning, I was amazed at the lack of trash anywhere on the streets or sidewalks. We were told that shopkeepers and homeowners can be fined for not tending to trash or debris. After we settled into our room, we went out for one more early evening walk as the temperatures had started to cool.