Chile was quite refreshing, literally; trees and shade, which we felt like we hadn’t seen in a while, and water sources everywhere (good timing, our bottle cages were falling apart). obviously that also meant more rain…
We got our first impression of Chile in San Pedro de Atacama, which probably was not the best place to get a good impression from (tourist-filled and pricy). From there we headed straight into Argentina via Paso Socompa. I entered Chile again over Paso San Francisco (the Chilean side is stunning), hitched to Copiapó to pick something up and went straight back. Too brief to even get an impression.
Finally we went to Chile over Paso Copahue. With a steaming volcano in the background and lush green grass all around us it felt like an epic welcome. And the scenery didn’t change much as we headed south – we continued to be surrounded by volcano’s with glacial peaks, riding in shady forests with streams around every corner.
We cycled various trails, some of the Greater Patagonian Trail. Unfortunately, as people were still on summer vacation even small dirt roads were quite busy. The traffic finally died down with the beginning of March.
We cycled from Paso Copahue to Puerto Varas in less than two months (with about two weeks of lingering around Lago Ranco to kill time until Dan’s parents were going to visit us), roughly 1500k but I may be off -check our gpx for exact numbers…
Most towns had reasonable sized shops, and cities had big supermarkets where we could even find peanutbutter and couscous! Things seemed similarly priced compared to Argentina (very bard to say as Argentinian prices fluctuated a lot). Below a list of food price examples (around February 2016 between Paso Copahue and Puerto Varas (which wasn’t taken into account, probably one of the most expensive places in the area (we had to pay 15.000 for both of us to camp there in off-season)).
Accommodation was a bit more expensive than in Argentina though. The cheapest room I got cost 7000 pesos in Copiapó (a single room in a hostel with great WiFi) in summer. Camping was usually around 5000 pp in summer season and dropped to 2000-4000 in off-season depending on the location. We got a cabaña in Lonquimay once with another couple which came down to 40.000 (so 10.000pp for a beautiful little house with kitchen and bathroom).
Cheese, 100g 1500
Coffee, ground, 250g 3000
Cookies, 100ish g pack 400-1000
Empanada (big, usually meat, ham&cheese, or chicken), 1000-1500
Flour, 1kg 500-1000
Fruit and vegi (e.g. peach is common and tomatos) around 1000+
Jam in plastic bag 500
Milk, 1l 700-1000
Oats 400g around 1200
Pasta around 600