After three amazing weeks in Bolivia, it was time to head south to Chile. Due to unforeseen events, we ended up flying from Calama, in northern Chile, to Santiago. We sped up our itinerary to make it to Santiago so we could meet our first travel buddy, Kenny Roa, who will backpack with us for the next two weeks! I met Kenny while working at Edelman Chicago and have kept in touch throughout the years. Chris and Kenny share a love for football, Dave Chapelle and making fun of my no bueno espanol. It’s been so nice having another person along for the ride!Once in Santiago, we checked in to our hostel, H Rado, which resembles more of a boutique hotel than a hostel (think Hard Rock Hotel’s little brother). Our room was incredibly spacious, clean and tastefully decorated. In fact, the entire hostel is adorned in contemporary paintings and artwork – it is so awesome!One of the best parts of the hostel is the huge rooftop deck with comfy couches, umbrellas, loungers and a grill! We met some great people at the hostel and decided to have barbeque one night to take advantage of the rooftop deck. Chris grilled up some chorizo, steak and hamburgers while we downed some local beer and wine. It felt like we were at home grilling with friends again – what a great night!If you are looking for a cozy and clean place to call home in Santiago for a few days, H Rado is amazing. Perfectly located, fully equipped kitchen, wonderful rooms and atmosphere, H Rado might very well be the nicest hostel we’ve ever stayed in. It’s not surprising that H Rado is the highest rated Santiago hostel on HostelWorld. The owner, Pablo, and his staff will do anything to make you feel welcome.
Conveniently located a few blocks from H Rado is a bike shop, Bicicleta Verde, where we rented bikes to explore Santiago. Chile has a large population of street dogs and during our bicycle adventure, we adopted a black boxer mix who ran the entire way (roughly 10-15 miles) with us.When we returned to the bike shop, we met the owner Mac who invited us to celebrate Fiestas Patrias with him and his friends. Everyone we met was so incredibly nice and renting bikes was a great way to multiple parks and neighborhoods within just a few hours.From Santiago, we were westbound for the Chilean coast of Valparaiso. Valpo quickly reminded us of San Francisco. The city is set within a bay where you can find a colony of sea lions and the houses are set on the steep hillsides.Our first meal was a plethora of incredibly cheap but fresh seafood.Valpo is a colorful labyrinth of elevators, staircase and hilltop houses covered in street art. We’d heard mixed reviews about Valpo. Many backpackers from Santiago come to visit just for the day, but we loved the unique, laid-back, bohemian vibe. We were there for two nights and could have stayed much longer.
Our time in Chile was short and sweet. From here, we are making our way east to our next country – Argentina!
Disclosure: We received complimentary accommodations at H Rado and a discount on our bicycle rental from Bicicleta Verde in exchange for our review. However, these opinions and thoughts are completely our own.