That’s right: my husband and I participated in some “glamorous camping” during our time in Chile!
Three years ago, I discovered a unique Airbnb that I immediately wanted to see. Mateo, a French-born man who now lives near Santiago with his wife and daughter, built a dome for people who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience under the Milky Way.
It was worth the wait because the dome was everything I was expecting and more! The bed was perfect for cooler nights, the clear area allowed for the dome to get warm during the day and unplugging was just what we needed. I could tell that Juan was just as thrilled to be there!
We stayed a total of three nights, and each provided us with the perfect opportunity to see the stars, drink herbal mint tea and enjoy each other’s company.
If you’re interested in staying here (which you should be by now!), please visit Mateo’s Airbnb link here: https://abnb.me/e2m8GMYAVW
Juan and I were only able to see a quick glimpse of Santiago, but Bellavista was our favorite barrio.
Before camping in the mountains, we headed to Bellavista – a hipster/artsy area of the big city – for a good meal. I heard that Como Agua Para Chocolate was highly recommended by locals, which is always better than the “typical touristy stuff.”
I can honestly say that this was the best meal I’ve ever had in South America (between Peru, Ecuador and Chile). The salmon had a delicious buttery sauce with the best sautéed vegetables… and the dessert spoke to me with it’s dark chocolate and raspberry sauces!
Bellavista is also recognized for its nightlife. We were exhausted since it was late when we arrived, but we did wonder around and view the unique street art.
The next morning we only had a limited time to enjoy Santiago, so we grabbed some quick breakfast and rode up to the top of the city.
We were camping in the Olmué area of Chile from May 10-13, but were able to see a little more of Santiago prior to our next flight on the 13th. Of course, we returned to Bellavista during the day to grab cappuccinos and a great seafood lunch!
As always, I wish I had more time in this one-of-a-kind place, but I know we’ll be back someday 🙂
La Campana National Park is located in Olmué, Chile. Charles Darwin actually hiked here after his visit to the Galápagos Islands. It’s a must-see if you’re in the area!
Juan and I hiked the 7-kilometer trail, but only made it to the 5-kilometer mark since it was the most difficult path. Going uphill was incredibly difficult and put my physical and mental stamina to the test. With that said, however, going downhill was even worse on my hips, knees and ankles.
The hike itself provided Juan and I with a modest 6.5-mile exercise! In total, we walked 12.4 miles yesterday, and boy am I feeling it today…
Pro tip: don’t go hiking if you have the flu. This made my hike much more intolerable than it needed to be!
Pro tip #2: go hiking with someJuan special. It’ll be double the fun! 🙂
Tuesday afternoon my husband surprised me with a trip to Piedra de Agua, a thermal spa in Cuenca, Ecuador. I’ve never been to a spa back home, which made our afternoon together even more special (I don’t even get my hair or nails done)!
First, we had a private experience in different underground pools. The pools are very popular because Piedra de Agua is built on a volcano! We started in a hot pool with red clay, then moved into a warm pool with blue mud (Juan was daring enough to put this in his hair)! In between we washed off in the most amazing shower I’ve ever seen and exfoliated with salt and coffee.
The next part was probably my favorite (mainly because I was entertained by my husband’s fear of cold water)! We spent ten minutes in a hot bath, then spent one minute in a cold pool. Juan was so cold that I spent over two minutes in the freezing water, because she started timing once he fully submerged his shoulders. We repeated this process again, and of course Juan acted tougher the second time. My husband often acts really tough, but when it comes to handling sickness, pain and the cold, I always win!
We ended our day of relaxation in a sauna and Japanese cleansing pools. I would 10/10 recommend Piedra de Agua if you’re in Cuenca!