All posts in "Chile"
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Pukara de Quitor: The Driest Bike Ride in San Pedro de Atacama

By Owen / July 7, 2017

The desert sun was beating down on me. The strong winds were hitting my face. I pedalled hard on the overused bicycle.

By the time I arrived at my destination, I felt a little light-headed.

I was riding a bicycle on the driest place on earth, at an altitude of 2408m above sea level.

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A Different Valley of the Moon in San Pedro de Atacama

By Owen / July 6, 2017

We stood on the edge of the cliff, eyes firmly locked on the horizon.

The bright orange sun slowly descended, as it blanketed the sky with an orange hue, followed by a gradient of deep blue, pink and purple. Finally, the valley turned dark and the moon shone bright.

It was the most magical sunset I’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen an aurora borealis, but this felt as unreal to me.

The only thing that broke the spell?

The dozens of tour groups standing beside me. And there are HUNDREDS of tour operators in San Pedro de Atacama, all providing the popular Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) tour which ends with the sunset at the Piedra del Coyote viewpoint.

Almost every tour operator follows the same route, but mine is different.

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Cerro Castillo Day Hike: From Village to Castle

By Owen / May 10, 2017

I climbed over the shoulder-height fence into the private property, only to be stared at by… cows.

A huge mob of moo-ing cows.

I stared at them, they stared back. It felt as if they’re gonna charge at me at any moment. We were separated by only a thin wooden fence.

A second wooden gate leading to the trailhead was closed. What should I do?

I stood at the bottom of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve contemplating my next decision.

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The Marble Caves: Chile’s Natural Art Masterpiece

By Owen / May 8, 2017

I gotta admit…

I’m pretty disappointed.

The Marble Caves did not live up to my expectations.

There, I said it. I’m probably the only one who feels this way, but I have my reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, the caves were gorgeous. But after hearing my misadventures and knowing all the trouble I went through to be there, and what I saw, you’ll understand why.

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Torres del Paine: Failing to Hike Nature’s Wonders

By Owen / April 19, 2017

It was the longest four hours of my life.

Long, excruciating, ardous four hours. I sat on a boulder in despair, seriously contemplating, “Should I return to Singapore?”

I knew my trek was over at that instance. The pain was overwhelming. Tears filled the brim of my eyes. Each step I took, I screamed involuntarily – to no one. The only sounds that accompanied me were the thunderous cracking of the avalanches, as if the mountains were roaring with laughter at my weakness.

What goes up, must come down. I had to make it back to camp, maybe the park ranger could help.

Step by step, I struggled to put each foot before the other. I was so slow I might as well crawl. The terrain didn’t help. Rocks, boulders and gravels of different sizes jut out from the downhill path, creating an unevenness that strained my knee furthermore.

The pain got to my head, my vision narrowed to the path right ahead, such that I went off the well-trodden path several times. The combination of agonizing pain and being lost made me lose faith.

Mother Nature, please help me.

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Horseback Riding with Gauchos in Puerto Natales

By Owen / April 12, 2017

I couldn’t remember the last time I rode a horse. I was a kid, but I had no idea when and where or how it felt like. It was as if I hadn’t ridden a horse in my life.

All around Puerto Natales, the town to get prepared for Torres del Paine, companies provide tours for the National Park or the Perito Moreno Glacier at El Calafate. The other less popular option is cabalgata – horseback riding.

And with five days to spend in Puerto Natales, while waiting for my friend to arrive, I knew I had to do something. This town is small and devoid of activities. And so, I decided to go horseback riding up a hill.