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Planned and Actual Improvements to Chile’s Southern Highway

One of the biggest infrastructure problems in Chile has been reaching isolated towns in the deep south. Now that Douglass Tompkins is dead and his lands are passing to the Chilean government, it will be more feasible to put a highway through from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales.

There are already stretches of paved road along the trajectory, but there are far more stretches that still have gravel and far more that are not built at all. There are so many islands and impediments due to the massive ice and glacial presence along the way that construction will be formidable. Many bridges will be needed and it looks as if, at least under the current proposal, ferries will not be eliminated. Some places along the long route, Ruta 7, will still need to have them.

 El Mercurio pagina C7 14 feb 2016 Careterra Austral

According to an article in El Mercurio, Sunday, February 14, 2016 (page C7), the total route length will be 1,170 kilometers and will feature 269 bridges, connecting 120,000 Chileans in the southern 10th Region and 11th Region to the rest of the country. These people often live without dentists and regular medical care, not to mention most of the comforts of life commonplace in Santiago and Viña del Mar, as well as Concepción and La Serena.

Electricity is not a given, nor is a variety of food and shelter. I consider many of them to be true pioneers living on the frontier, with many self-sufficiency skills. Other than tourism and some fishing or forestry, there are few industry, farming or employment possibilities in much of this vast stretch of land.

Life is cheap, and simple, other than when one has to buy shipped-in goods. For some self-sufficient newcomers that do not mind cold and rain, and that love natural beauty, it might be a good possible spot for relocation. This fact is especially true now that the government will be working on finishing the road, giving access to medical care, pharmacies, trucks to bring goods, etc.

It will also be a wonderful and spectacular drive once finished. Chileans driving south at present have to drive most of the route through to Puerto Natales via Argentina. The road will be expensive but I think it will be a long term boon to Chile and provide many more opportunities to exploit and develop natural resources and make Chile more prosperous.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Cerro Concepción, Cerro Alegre and Sector Almendral in Valparaíso, Chile

Many people mistakenly believe that the best highlights of history are the stories of great conquest, when in reality the best moments in history are those times when men are freest and liberty from state intervention is greatest. Valparaíso is probably the most historic city in Chile. In 1544, the Spanish conquistadors declared it to be “the port of Santiago,” and in 1820 (just after Chilean independence) it was designated an “open international harbor,” backed by the newly relocated customs service–under the law of free commerce of 1811, that also freed ports of Coquimbo, Talcahuano and Valdivia.

“Many people mistakenly believe that the best highlights of history are the stories of great conquest, when in reality the best moments in history are those times when men are freest and liberty from state intervention is greatest.” 

Yes, the free market works wonders! Subsequently, it became the most important Pacific port in the world during the 19th and early 20th centuries (until the Panamá Canal was built), and has a rich history of vibrant trade.

By 1870, the city was known as “The Pearl of the Pacific,” right in the middle of Chile’s successful free banking episode (1862-1879), when Chile had no central bank. If you had thought that the history of liberty was confined to the British and American traditions you were mistaken. Chile was the champion of liberty and classical liberal ideas in Latin America, and Valparaíso was the Hong Kong of its era. Chile’s first stock exchange opened here in 1850, and the national newspaper El Mercurio’s (followed by its elaborate building) opened in 1827, the oldest ongoing Spanish language newspaper in the world.

Bahia+Valpo+y+Aconcagua+1

Valparaíso also received important American, Italian (mainly Ligurian or Genoan), British and Scottish, German, French, Swiss and Spanish immigrations, and thus the city grew in national significance. The French opened what were considered the finest shops in South America (on modern-day Calle Condell, then called Calle San Juan de Dios, which runs from Plaza Victoria to the port downtown).

Plaza (de la) Victoria, incidentally, which was so-named after Chile’s victory in the War of the Pacific (1883), was the first place in Valparaíso to receive electric illumination in 1904, although there was already an electric tramway running since 1900. There were also minor immigrations of Danish, Croatian and other ethnic groups to the city, adding to its colorful history.

Indeed, for the first one-half of Chile’s history, there was no more important city than Valparaíso. Even important historic smaller cities like Iquique and Punta Arenas cannot compare with it. And its importance still remains today, even though greatly diminished, as Santiago has clearly been Chile’s most important city for the last century. As part of the modern Viña del Mar/Valpo metro area of over 930,000 people, Valparaíso lies within Chile’s second most important urban center, and is still home to the Chilean navy (although the naval shipyard is located on the better harbor in Talcahuano, near Concepción).

     Valaparíso is a “killed” city in my estimation. Panamá simply did it in (1914) and the city has not been the same for the last 100 years. The saltpeter (salitre) crisis in 1918 and the 1906 earthquake (8.3 Richter) and the ensuing gas leak and fire that leveled most of the city, did not help matters either. Why did saltpeter end up being synthesized and thus further collapse the Chilean economy in 1918? On March 14, 1915, there was a naval battle between British and German forces a little over seven months after World War I broke out–also seven months after the Panamá Canal opened. The German ship Dresden was scuttled in Cumberland Bay (Isla Juan Fernández) by its crew, sunk under fire by the British warships Kent and Glasgow. The naval battling had begun between Britain and Germany on November 1, 1914 in the Battle of Coronel (just south of Concepción), which the British lost. The British responded by sending larger ships with reinforcements and pounded the Germans to the point that the Germans gave up trying to control the Chilean coast. The Dresden was the last ship to escape and, with the help of Chilean Germans in Valparaíso, it was kept hidden in Chilean islands, fueled with coal and supplied with food. 

Note that both of the warring countries’ ethnic groups were thriving on Cerro Concepción in Valparaíso, as the pictures of churches below show, and were often sending merchant ships plus warships to the port of Valparaíso until 1914. Both British and German settlers living in Cerro Concepción sent troops to fight on their respective sides. One can imagine that Valparaíso was a very tense place in the 1914-1918 period on account of the war, saltpeter and the economic downturn caused by the Panamá Canal. The Germans needed the saltpeter for munitions for their war effort and the British beat them in a naval battle off the coast of Talcahuano and subsequently successfully blockaded all Chilean ports. Thus the Germans started studying how to synthesize saltpeter and did so in 1918. That was bad luck for Chile. Saltpeter was its most important economic resource, even more important than copper in relative terms. Once that happened, the Chilean natural resource had much less value and the mining industry and the economy in general took a hit. Therefore, a byproduct of World War I also helped finish off Valparaíso. Remember that the 1906 earthquake leveled much of the city. So it was already reeling. Then came 1914 and 1918. The city was left in shambles.

The structural deterioration that begin a century ago has hardly stopped and the level of poverty has only slowly been diminishing over the last three decades. Yet there are still remnants of the city’s rich past, even though some imagination is often required to experience it. Valparaíso has a significant amount of European architecture, although it has been smudged by graffiti. My wife and I saw some people scrubbing it off one building yesterday and inquired how often they have to do this task. They responded: “About every three months.” The nasty painting never stops. The city is, frankly, ugly on account of the graffiti. Also, most of the buildings are dilapidated and run down. Especially ugly are the ones with rusty tin siding.

Nevertheless, Valparaíso (the name might be derived from the words va al paraíso, or “go to paradise”), has been (deservedly) declared a World Heritage Site, but the shame is that the cadaver’s decay (naturally) has not stopped since the point of death. The Chilean government has been trying to boost its historic image on the web, but the internet visit will be, by and large, much better than the disappointing real life one.

The city sits upon 42 hills (interactive map) above a narrow, flat central area, and is divided into sectors, many of which had an ethnic beginning. The Italian immigrants were mainly poorer people from the region in and around Genova that worked menial jobs, but the American, English, Scottish, Swiss, French, German and most of the Spanish merchants and profesionals were quite wealthy. Perhaps that disparity is one reason why only the Italians chose to stay en masse after the city was killed, while most of the others left.

The Italians mainly moved into the Almendral sector, but also settled on adjacent hill sectors (cerros) El Litre and Las Cañas. Obviously, there are still remnants of the other ethnic groups as well, but the trend was to leave. There is still an Anglican church in neighboring Viña del Mar, providing English language services that cater to aging offspring of the British remnant. The British left a lasting impact on the city in other ares too: in its sports (soccer, horse track racing and rugby), its trains, its funicular elevators and its modern escalators that often run on the “wrong side.”

Old English Firestation Valparaiso 2014-07-11 13.01.01 2014-07-11 13.00.46

Each ethnic group had its own fire department, too, and the language of the station (and its written records) was English, German, French, Italian or Spanish (from Spain) up until 1973. Only those who could prove their ethnicity could join one of these companies but, other than the Italians, no one retains this stringent standard in modern times.

Note that Plaza Italia (not to be confused with its more famous Santiago counterpart) has buildings on it that look like they could have been transplanted from Genova, and the neighborhood school (with instruction in the Italian language), Scuola Italiana (1942), is located just down the road. British and American efforts were realized through the Mackay School (1905), presently located in the Reñaca sector of Viña del Mar, which had roots going back to the Valparaíso Artizan School (1857) started by Scottish profesor Peter Mackay from Glasgow.

Similarly, the Germans opened their school, La Corporación Colegio Alemán de Valparaíso (1857), which is now the Deutsch Schule in Viña del Mar. The locals were hardly left in the dust in this flurry of activity, with a number of now famous Chilean universities being founded, such as the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (1926). There were also Chilean fire companies as well, some starting in the early 1850s. In Latin America, only the Guayaquil, Ecuador fire department is older than Valparaíso’s. Nowadays, all Valparaíso fire departments fall under a single commander, but the rivalry and competition of yesteryear still lingers on.

Perhaps the best parts of Valparaíso, and the only places really worthy of tourism, are parts of sector Almendral, Sotomayor Plaza (pictured below, looking from above next to the naval building) and the decks or terraces of homes, walkways, churches and shops above it in Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre.

These areas can be reached by the funicular elevators called El Peral (built in 1901), which goes up to Cerro Alegre–featuring Paseo Yugoslavo and Baburizza Palace (now a museum, pictured below at dusk), and La Concepción (built in 1883) which goes up to Cerro Concepción. Both of these funicular elevators are close to Sotomayor Plaza and in the midst of some interesting European architecture. Even though they have apparently not been upgraded much since the time they were built, they are cheap to ride (under one Dollar) and are used by locals regularly to climb the steep hillsides. Below are a few images from Cerro Alegre and the El Peral funicular elevator entrance at rush hour. The mansion up top and the other houses in the area were owed by Croatian immigrants and thus the charming walkway is called Paseo Yugoslavo.

There are a couple of lovely, inexpensive cafés on the walkway with great views and atmosphere. Perfect for a romantic lunch or dessert.

The walkway itself is great to do at sunset and take in the harbor views, imagining what life there must have been like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Each ethnic group had their own church, where Protestant services by law had to be conducted in their own language. It was easy for Roman Catholic Italians and Spaniards to meld into already-Catholic Chilean religious culture. The same was evidently true for French Catholics, which opened their religious order in sector Almendral (1840) on Calle Independencia. However, the immigration of clasical liberal Evangelicals to Valparaíso is quite interesting (Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians in the mid 1800s). The La Santa Cruz German Lutheran church on Cerro Concepción (1897, reconstructed in 2011) is pictured below.

The clock even works! The neighborhood near the church has also been cleaned up.

2014-07-26+15.00.07  2014-07-26+14.57.51  2014-07-26+14.57.09  2014-07-26+14.54.16

St. Paul’s Anglican church (1858) is located just a few blocks away, and also dons an intriguing neighborhood that stirs the imagination.

2014-07-26+15.51.24  2014-07-26+15.50.41  2014-07-26+15.53.17

The decks above the business district all have great views, pleasant walkways and, along with the wonderful weather, must have been very attractive for settlers in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is no surprise that so many immigrants stayed. The nearby Gervasoni walk freatures similar views and the El Mercurio regular cartoonist’s Lukas museum and café.

2014-07-26+15.17.06  2014-07-26+15.17.00  2014-07-26+15.16.54  2014-07-26+15.35.33

Lukas was the pen name for Italian immigrant to Valparaíso Renzo Pecchenino that became one of the most important Chilean cartoonists of the 20th Century. Lukas was noted for his pungent political wittiness and telling the history of Chile through his art. He had a special love for Valparaíso, too. Some of his work is captured int he images below.

Here are a few shots taken of and from the La Concepción funicular elevator:
2014-07-26 15.37.40  2014-07-26 15.37.54  2014-07-26 15.38.10  2014-07-26 15.42.39

And the business district down below where much European architecture can be seen (the customs building, Turri clock tower and other important buildings are in the area), including samples of graffiti and those hired to remove it.

    

The Avenida Argentina open air market (open on Wednesdays and Saturdays), located on the border of the Almendral sector (closer to where the Italian, Spanish and French colonies settled), offers probably the lowest priced seafood, fruits and vegetables in the country.

2014-07-26 16.30.50  2014-07-26 16.30.42

Cops (carabineros) in the area of the open air market enjoy making sure all people parked at the market have their vehicle papers up-to-date and in order.

2014-07-26 16.34.52

The Chilean Congress is seen across the street from the maret in sector Almendral.

2014-07-26 16.31.40

The first Presbyterian church pictured below, called Union Church (1869), is also located in sector Almendral on the formerly wealthy French shopping lane (now called Avenida Condell).

Union+Church+Valpo

I do not recommend that newcomers live in Valparaíso. It is dingy and depressing in many ways. However, it is a great town to visit once one reads its colorful history and knows where to go to see the museums, churches, walkways, plazas and funicular elevators. Indeed, a long day trip is in order for anyone serious about living in Chile.

Valparaíso is about as important to Chileans as Paris is to Frenchmen or Boston is to Americans. So be sure to visit and be ready to see beyond the dilapidation and graffiti. Also plan to do a little open air market shopping while in the city, and pick up some history books at the Lukas museum.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Riding the Metro and City Buses in Chile

One of the few government enterprises that works fairly well in Chile is the Metro (subway) system, which is used by millions of people every day. There are presently five Metro lines in Santiago, with two others being built, one line from Valparaíso through Viña del Mar and inland to Limache, and the two lines of Biotrén in Concepción (a train, not a subway, that serves a similar purpose as a subway).

These places also have extensive local bus service, just like every other significantly-populated part of Chile does, not to mention a grand array of inter-urban coaches (some with business class accommodations) that have terminals in or close to Metro stations. The local bus lines and Metro are fully integrated in Santiago, in a system called Transantiago (which is also well-integrated with Google maps so one can easily plan his trip).

In Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, the Metro line is only integrated from the (inland) Limache station by Metro-buses that connect to smaller cities of Olmué, La Cruz, La Calera and Quillota. The ticket cost for this Metro depends on how far one travels and is called a boleto único when it is incorporated with a bus ride out of the Limache station.

In Concepción it is called a boleto integrado and the ticket is good for designated bus connections–perhaps more than in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar–but these Metro-micros are often not near the Biotrén stations and locals say that using them end up being more trouble than they are worth by the time one has to walk 4 or 5 long blocks to make the connection. In both of these metropolitan areas, the Metro and bus (micro) cost is a little less than in Santiago. For instance, in Concepción, a combination ticket is 490 pesos, which is up to 18% less. Footnote: that Metro is the worst of the three in Chile since it is really just a converted older train line.

The Santiago Metro is clean and the rubber wheels on the train make the ride relatively smooth and quiet. The biggest hassle with the Santiago Metro is the sardine-style travel during weekday rush hour (8:00a.m.-9:30a.m. and 6:00p.m.-7:30p.m.), which should be avoided if possible. While Metro tickets can be bought for single rides within the Metro stations, there are no single-ride tickets for buses. Within Santiago, bus conductors do not accept cash to pay the fare. Local bus lines outside of Santiago are paid in cash to the conductor.

The regional bus (micro) prices can be as low as US$0.40 per ride, around 250 pesos, up to around US$0.75, around 400 pesos. If one goes by colectivo in the regions, a shared taxi with up to 4 passengers that runs on a fixed route, the fare can be up to US$1, about 500 to 600 pesos typically. (These colectivos can cost double, triple or quadruple in Santiago.)

Regional micros and colectivos will stop anywhere along a route, not just in designated bus stops. The micros are color-coded in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar according to the route’s main service area. In Santiago micros only stop at designated bus stops. Be sure to look for the number of your bus on the sign at the bus stop.

Within the Santiago metropolitan area one must purchase a Bip! card (pronounced “beep”) to use the buses, and it is worthwhile doing since significant savings can be obtained. The cost per ride depends on the time of day, presently raging from 520 pesos to 580 pesos (US$0.95 to US$1.05), with transfers costing 0 pesos up to 20 pesos more (US$0.04).

Bip! card can be purchased in any Metro station in Santiago for around 1,650 pesos (US$3) and can be reused until it is lost or stolen. For the Merval system card used in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar the cost is 1,350 pesos (US$2.45) or 5,000 pesos (US$9.10) if you prefer a personalized card. The Biotrén card is 1,600 pesos (US$2.90) but includes 900 pesos of recharge value.

Recharging the Santiago Bíp! card is done in any Metro station or in designated centers throughout the city, as are the cards for the two other Chilean Metro systems in their stations and designated points in their metropolitan areas. The maps below shows the Santiago Metro system (with both present lines and those under construction), Concepción’s Biotrén system and the Merval Metro system for Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and inland 5th Region communities.

In Santiago, a Bip! fare is good for three rides within 2 hours, however one may only ride the Metro once, and there may be small transfer fees charged (up to 20 pesos, US$0.04) when going from bus to Metro. Upon entering each bus or Metro platform the Bip! card must be passed over the designated sensor and the fare due is charged automatically against the card’s balance.

One may not ride a bus with the same route number more than once without being charged an additional fare. However, the system does not take into account the direction of travel. Thus, if one plans well, and can do his errands quickly, he can take, for instance, the Metro downtown and ride back aboard a bus without paying an additional fare. Or, one can ride bus number X one way and return on bus number Y if the two bus routes coincide for one’s planned travel. Once inside the Metro, one can ride for many hours if desired, moving from line to line. So long as he does not exit the turn-style (gates) he is never charged another fare.

Students and elderly residents pay a dramatically reduced rate, especially on the Metro. They should inquire locally about how to obtain the reduced fare. In Chile, there is a a strong cultural preference to allow elderly, disabled and women use the seats. Men under 60 and especially young people usually stand except during times of low usage.

Public transportation is somewhat of a class issue in Chile. I know many people in the upper classes (ABC1) who have never been on a city bus. Some of them will however take the Metro and perhaps a colectivo, especially to avoid parking cost and problems downtown. And certainly they have no problem on the inter-urban bus services, which can be both convenient and even slightly luxurious.

Most people coming down from countries north of the Tropic of Cancer are not going to be very class-conscious and will enjoy using public transportation from time to time. The main concern for anyone, especially on crowded Metro cars or buses, is to beware of pickpockets.

     Chile is a freer place than most countries and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

Waterfall Bend

I have been in 70 countries and literally every town in Chile with more than 500 inhabitants (probably every town with more than 300 inhabitants), with the single exception of Isla Juan Fernández (population 812), about 1,000 kilometers to the west (off the coast) of Valparaíso. I have seen a lot of waterfalls around the world, not just the famous ones of Yosemite Valley (California), Niagara (New York/Ontario) and Iguazú (Brazil/Argentina), but all sorts of others in Chile, Argentina, Perú, Ecuador, Guatemala, New Zealand, India, the USA, Canada, Central Europe and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I cannot remember seeing any waterfall display as impressive as the area of the Chilean rainforest that I have called “Waterfall Bend,” located in the north central 11th Region. If you look on a map of Chile in this region and find Puerto Cisnes and then look north to the town of Puyuhaupi, you will get your bearings right to locate Waterfall Bend. As one heads south from Puyuhuapi there is a right turn toward Puerto Cisnes. Waterfall Bend zone starts about 15km north of this turn and continues for perhaps 15km afterwards. A prime example is The Cóndor Waterfall right in the middle of the bend, pictured below.

Many other falls are also seen.


One has no doubt about the intensity of the rainforest by looking at the summertime foliage along the road.

The amazing thing is the sheer number of waterfalls. On New Year’s Day 2014 (summertime), we counted from the pickup truck an incredible 153 of them while going around this Bend, which is 5.1 per kilometer or 8.25 per mile. I had never seen anything like it before. The falls come in all shapes and sizes: some wider but most ribbon-like (at a distance) and very long; some falling completely vertical and others rushing down slopes exceeding perhaps 80°; some are isolated and others appeared in groups.

The sheer volume of waterfalls was quite impressive and unique. There are waterfalls all through the rainforest from Caleta Gonzalo to Caleta Tortel, but they seem to reach their maximum point at Waterfall Bend. The only other place that came close (distant second place really, but still with far more waterfalls than anywhere else in the world that I have seen) was the drive from La Junta to the village called Puerto Raúl Marín Balmaceda. Some of them are pictured below.

Some other falls are seen through Pumalín Park (Douglas Tompkins), a bit further north.

  

You will literally see so many beautiful waterfalls that they become boring and old-hat. That fact in and of itself makes Waterfall Bend something of interest to see. Be sure to put it on your must-see list for sights in Chile.     

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

Maps (11) of Chile: Arica down to Punta Arenas