Photo by Aerolineas Argentinas

We are finally off to Chile on another exploratory trip and invite you to come along. We leave Buenos Aires for our first flight on Aerolineas Argentinas,  Argentina’s national airline.

The flight is great. Only about two hours. At the airport, to our surprise, we are treated to an unexpected revisit to the old Third World airports. We leave from the Ezeiza Airport which is a modern airport  with lots of ambiance as airports go. And when we go through the door from the airport to board the plane, we find to our surprise–a bus. We board the bus which takes us out onto the field to the big  jet that is waiting. They roll a stairway up to the door and we all climb aboard.  Aside from that flashback to earlier days in South America, the flight is great.

As for the “flashback,” we don’t complain about such things. In fact, we rather enjoyed it. We find ourselves saddened by the new airport in Uruguay that looks a bit like a space station. We remember with nostalgia the old airport and our early flights into Montevideo where we landed, taxied across the field to the back door of the airport. They rolled a portable stairway up to that big jet as well. More often than not, we arrived during one of Uruguay’s many rain storms and scurried down the steps and ran for the back door, where, just inside, we saw Bienvenidos Pasajeros (Welcome Passengers)  everywhere  and smiling, friendly faces.

What a change from the sendoff by TSA at the Miami airport. Here everyone was warm and wonderful.  Once you were inside that airport you felt that all was well in the world once again. The atmosphere was such a contrast to the one we had just left and we loved it.

But we also like Chile for a number of reasons. If you are still researching areas of South America, you will read a LOT about the benefits of Uruguay, and even Argentina, but we suggest that you not overlook Chile.  

As you know by now, we like all the countries in the Southern Cone of South America, which include Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Each has its own good and not so good points.  We try to be careful to give you both. We also welcome the helpful comments from subscribers already living in these areas.

Chile is rated as the most financially stable country in South America. If you happened to miss Darren Kaiser’s article Chile’s Changing Economic Landscape,  we suggest you read that article first. Darren is an amazing expert on real estate in Chile. He gives us some important background, writing about the many improvements in and additions to the infrastructure in the country. We will be talking more about that later.  

Chile appears to manage well–partly, we believe, because the country is not at the same level of socialism as its neighbors.  As you know if you are a long time reader of Four Flags Journal, Argentina crashes periodically. Chile does not. So if you want a country that works, Chile might be for you.

There can be advantages to countries that do not work. It depends on how you look at things. For example,  you can offer a policeman a financial benefit in Argentina and skip the traffic ticket if you know how to do it, but it would not be wise to try that with a  Chile Carabinero.  It doesn’t work in Chile!

Also as  you know, we at Four Flags Journal frown on genetically-modified food (GMOs). So does Chile.

Unlike Uruguay–a country that allows soy and corn that is genetically modified (supposedly only to ship to China)–the corn in Chile is not a GMO. Nor is anything else. We realize that we have subscribers who are not concerned about  GMOs. Be assured that we laugh at the cute jokes you send us about it. But many of our subscribers do share our interest in natural, health-producing products. One of our own standards of independence here at Four Flags Journal is to spend (or invest) our own money instead of giving it to the pharmacist or the physician. Therefore, we look askance at frankenfoods.

Chile offers the best of all worlds. If you like very dry climate but on the ocean, check out La Serena. The air is so clear and dry that there are several astronomical observatories in the area. Not far from La Serena is Cerro Tololo international observatory  which supposedly is one of the best anywhere in the world because of the exceptional clarity of the air. It has been our privilege to observe stars and planets, including Saturn with its rings clearly visible, from that observatory. 

By contrast, if you go far enough south into Chile’s Patagonia, summer is lovely but you are likely to experience frequent rain storms in the winter.


We like the fact that Chile has mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Not only does that provide a certain semi-isolation from the rest of the world, but on any given day, in a very short time, you can be soaking in a mineral hot spring in Caburgua or surfing in the Pacific.  Your choice!

In fact, you can choose your weather in Chile. As stated, the north is very arid and comfortable.  The area of Viña (pronounced Veen-ya) del Mar down through Talca offers a Mediterranean climate. Farther south it is cold in the winter and rainy, some snow in the lower altitudes, but if snow skiing is your passion, there is plenty of it in the mountains and the ski resorts will be happy to see you.  Also some of the best surfing is in the Talca area. 

Chile does not have the extreme cold that you find in winter from Georgia all the way to Canada and beyond in the northern hemisphere. We also like the fact that the air and water currents of the northern hemisphere stay in the northern hemisphere because of the ocean and air currents at the equator. We are sorry about the fallout they are experiencing in the north from Fukushima and their other nuclear mishaps but we’are glad that it is not down here! 

Once again, being here in Chile, we are aware of the difference in culture between these countries. They are separated only by a border, yet they are very different and each country seems to have a unique atmosphere of its own.  We suggest that, if possible, you visit any country, maybe rent there for a while  before you drive down stakes. 

Chile, in our opinion, is what we could call a “down home” kind of country compared to Argentina’s culture-conscious sophistication. People appear to be very practical in Chile.  

Also the consistent report that we have on Chile  is that it is more secure with little crime. There are a few purse snatchings and breaking and entering when people are away from home, but if you live outside of Santiago, it is fairly minimal. 

We will be landing in the Santiago de Chile Airport but we will travel on toward the coast to Viña del Mar (the vineyard of the sea) with a population over 300,000, joined with Valparaiso with over 800,000 population. So in effect  Viña is not a small town. By our calculations, and if we can believe the populations listed in Wikipedia, Viña del Mar and Varparaiso together are about the same size as Montevideo. 

We hope that you will stay with us as we explore a different part of Chile. Last time we were in Pucon, Villarrica, Caburgua and Temuco–the adventure vacation, tourist and ski areas. This time we will take a closer look nearer the coast. See you there!