Chile was warmly recommended as hitchhiking country No. 1 in South America or even in the whole world! Chilenos should be very nice people, wonderfull Landscape in the South, long roads, just the communication would be difficult, as the Chilenos speak such a messy Spanish. My trip should lead just for a short time through Chile, but anyway i would like to contribute with a Hitchhiking in… – article. What i already can say from now: My expectations have been fullfilled.
Hitchhiked distance: 1804 kilometer
Number of lifts: 17
Average waiting time: 14 minutes 56 seconds
Waiting time total: 4 hours 14 minutes
I cam through the Andes to Santiago and from there i hitchhiked to Antofagasta and San Pedro de Atacama. Short and easy going tour to gain a couple of more kilometres.
Chilenos are definitely nice and humble fellows. A bit like the people in Bolivia just with a more friendly surface. Small, chubby people. What i recognized, that in Chile rules a very strict organization. Santiago seems to be full of securities and watchdogs. No moving without control. Every space is blocked with buildings and private property. The houses have regularly electric fences or alternatively equipped with other sharp and harmful things. Everything structured and they do alot of effort to keep this order up. A political scientist i met in my hostel explained, that this organization-fetish is also a characteristic of post dictatorship-societies, how Chile is. Interesting assumption, which i don´t wanna go deeper inside here.
Related to hitchhiking Chile is a very easy going country. People stop gladly and help if they can. Interesting fact: If you do your driving license in Chile, you will get the recommendation to pcik up hitchhikers. Should even be a question in the final exams about this. The reason is simple: The recommend to pick up people for company and not falling asleep during longer tours. Similar to Argenitna. I think this might propably be one reason for the easy lifting in Chile.
In my eyes Chile has the best roads in South America. Good, paved highways, often two-laned and fast. Allthough there is one disatvantage, that i already have recignized during my trouble to find a sleeping place in Santiago: the Chilenos block every available centimeter with buildings. No gaps, no ruins in Santiago. At least you have to search alot for it. This continues on the highways, when you face an often slightly crippled emergency lane. Everything is a bit tight in Chile and for stooping cars this is, of course, not the best circumstance. Not like in the wide and big Argentina or Brazil, for instance.
Regarding to this hitchhiking is not a self-selling-item, cause the Chilenos like to stop fast and easily, but on places with missing space to stop the waiting time will be longer, for sure. And as the streets are fast and good in general, it is important to have enough space to pull over and get out of the traffic. Good positions are not too easy to find, which would be preferable. But it is worth to take the time and take a good position.
What i allready said, it is working good, but not under all circumstances. If you wanna move fast in Chile i would recommend to look out for a good place to wait. If you found a good place (slow traffic, good visibility and the most important: enough place for stopping) then you will find a fast lift for sure. Even if there are not many cars. Prefer the positioning from the traffic volume. Better take the on-ramp then standing in the middle of the highway. Beside this it is standart hitchhiking in Chile. You ton´ have to do much to move forward. Enjoy!
In the north is San Pedro de Attacama and from there you can enter Salar de Uyuni. The only touristisc attraction i did so far during my round the world trip. Four days with a Jeep through the desert. Definitely worth it. Countless lagunes awaiting you with coloured water. Sceneries from the metlting clocks pictures from Salvador Dali. Desert, Geysirs, stones and flamengos.
Antofagasta is a mining town which offer with a little surfer charme a welcoming variety to the deserty chilenian north. Have a look. it is a pleasent mixture. Also Antofagasta has 1001 hair dressers, which sustain mostly of colombian immigrants. Found that pretty special there.
Chile is quite expensive and also quite Americanized. I haven´t recognized so much advertisement in any other country in South America (except Ecuador maybe). Also the usualy Fast-Food restaurants you can find there, which is also not a usual fact. Somehow i felt like CHile sold itself to something. Maybe i perceived that wrong but the consume and the all annoying advertisment where extremly noticeable.