I’ve checked out of Hotel Takha Takha in SPdA and am preparing to go to the airport. My flight was at 9:50 and my transfer picked me up at 06:30. This worked out well since it takes 90 minutes to get to the airport. I normally walk fast and am pretty decisive which led me to be second in line to check in for my flight. One of the perks of traveling alone is being able to move faster than the other groups of people.
After checking in for my flight, I noticed that the line behind me got crazy. The few minutes I used to pass most people and decisively find the airline counter saved me about an hour. Going through security went pretty smoothly and I was at the Priority Pass lounge in Calama within 15 minutes of checking in. It feels good to be a savvy traveler. I was traveling in economy but with my AMEX Plat card I get Priority Pass access which has contracts with many airline lounges. Free breakfast!
The flight to Santiago was uneventful.
As soon as I exited the terminal, I was bombarded by taxi drivers trying to get me into their cars. I walked directly to the bus. One taxi driver followed me and was telling me the taxi was cheaper than the bus. I called him a liar and continued. Well, I said it a nicer way, “There’s no way that can be true. If so, I feel like spending money and using the bus.” I know could have taken an Uber, but I was determined to try out the public transportation. The airport bus to the city costs about $4USD which then connects me to the metro and costs $1USD. My hotel for the night was located by the city center. An Uber ride would have probably been $17USD but I wanted the challenge.
I successfully navigated through the bus, metro and walked to my first hotel: The Plaza Apart Hotel. After this success, I pretty much used Uber or walked for the next 7 days I was there. I have the CapitalOne Quicksilver card which gives me 20% off Uber rides. This promo is available until April 2016 and I’ve been using it pretty frequently.
I was originally only planning on staying in Santiago for 4 nights, but I had to cancel my trip to Patagonia. I didn’t hear back from any of the tour operators I emailed over a month ago. My Spanish language skills do not exist. I don’t think I could have managed to find and hire a driver without ripping me off to drive me 6 hours south of the airport to the city by the marble caves. Maybe next time.
The hotel I booked was a loft at the Plaza Apart Hotel…it was awesome. I liked this better than the Hyatt I stayed at because the place felt like a home I could live in (more on the Hyatt in the coming posts). It was also very centrally located by the Bella Vista arts district. Some of the neighborhood seemed pretty shady at night but I didn’t run into any trouble. The loft was nice and everything was really efficient. My place in Los Angeles is bigger but my use of space is inefficient.
For lunch I ate at a nearby sushi bowl place. It was pretty good and they had someone who spoke English which helped. Although there was some confusion when they asked for “propina” as I was paying for my meal. I instinctively said “no” thinking it was some dessert but then the cashier girl looked really sad. Then I thought, why the heck not and said “si propina.” Propina is a 10% tip that they add to the bill.
After that, I dropped off my laundry at a nearby laundry service. It was about $7USD for a backpack full of laundry and they were going to have it ready tomorrow.
After resting up at the hotel, I walked to Patio BellaVista for dinner. The dinner was overpriced and awful. I later found out all the good places are on the next block.