Archive for Chile
The Galapagos Islands has been a popular tourist destination for animal and nature lovers over the past years. There are many options available from short stops in conjunction with an onward trip to other South American countries such Peru or Chile or involved expeditions to explore Ecuador in depth.
While “express” may not be the most fitting word, Post Office Bay on the volcanic island of Floreana (also known as Isla Santa Maria) has had its own special mail system since 1793. In the 18th century, whalers and Galapagos residents used to leave their mail inside the wooden barrel, waiting for a captain of any boat headed to where the mail was addressed to deliver it.
In the vast and remote Pacific Ocean, this was the only official way to communicate with relatives, friends and governments. As a result, Post Office Bay soon became a mandatory stop to all sailors in Galapagos waters. This was indeed a useful service, free of cost, and gave everyone a chance to communicate while in Pacific waters.
As far as historians know, Post Office Bay is the earliest mailing system still existing in the East Tropical Pacific. This tradition has continued over the years, and today visitors drop off letters – no stamp needed – to be picked up and delivered by travelers heading that way. It may take weeks, months, years or never till it gets delivered so do not intend to send important matters. Once you’re lucky enough to stumble upon this grand site, be sure to bring that letter to home and see if it actually ends up where you had hoped.
Santiago, Chile, has been named the top location to visit in 2011 by The New York Times’ list, Places to Go in 2011.
Collette offers two tours that visit Santiago, Chile: the 11-day Wines & Wonders of South America which spends three nights in Santiago, and the 15-day Discover South America tour which spends two nights in Santiago. South America continues to gain international recognition as an affordable, rewarding destination that exceeds expectations.
“Chile is an incredible destination!” says Allison Flint, Collette’s Product Manager for the region. “It is modern, cosmopolitan, with great shopping and full of opportunities to indulge in delicious Chilean wines – Santiago, the capital city of Chile, is the perfect city to start a South American adventure!”
For travelers on a Collette tour, you will find yourself immersed in the culture of Santiago during a welcome dinner, complete with Chilean wine, and a folkloric show interpreting the cultures and traditions of Chile. A locally guided tour of the heart of the city, the Plaza de Armas, provides a great overview of the history of Santiago. I recall the amazing views of Santiago and the Andes when I had the opportunity to ride the cable car up Cerro San Cristobal to admire the larger-than-life Statue of the Immaculate Conception. With your Collette tour manager leading the way, you’ll view all the significant sights of Santiago including O’Higgins Park, the Palacio de la Moneda government building, and the many culturally rich and historic neighborhoods of the city.
Another highlight for me and a pleasant optional day trip from Santiago is the coastal resort towns of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar including a visit to the Pablo Neruda museum. And on Wines & Wonders of South America, Santiago is the base from which you explore the famous Colchagua wine valley on the Tren del Vino and spend the day learning about carmenere and other famous varietals. Not to mention the unforgettable gourmet lunch with wine at the Santa Cruz winery!.