Whilst travelling through Latin America on our 10 week backpacking adventure in early 2017, we knew exactly where we wanted to go in Chile, but no idea what we’d do there. Our budget was getting significantly lower, and we didn’t want to book expensive tours. When we arrived in our Santiago hostel, we found flyers for free walking tours with Tours 4 Tips, the same company that ran the walking tours we did in San Pedro. Since we were so pleased with the tours in San Pedro, we were more than happy to spend our week in Northern Chile doing each of the tours that they offered, which just so happened to be in each of the cities we were going to visit.
Chile’s capital was incredibly clean and modern, compared to most of the other cities we’d encountered on our Latin America backpacking adventure. Tours 4 tips offers 2 tours in Santiago, the Santiago offbeat tour every morning, and the Santiago highlights tour every afternoon. On our first day in Santiago we did the highlights afternoon tour, which was particularly interesting as it gave an insight into Chile’s recent political history, from their 1970’s socialist government to the dark dictatorship that occurred for many years after. The Santiago offbeat tour took us to the cemetery, and through the markets to get an idea of what life is like for those of lower socioeconomic status.
Valparaiso was once a very popular port for those traveling by boat, but after the Panama Canal was built is soon lost its popularity. Nevertheless it was one of my favourite cities we visited on our trip: it was full of colour and awesome street art on every corner. We did both the Valparaiso highlights and Valparaiso offbeat tours, and for me the best parts were checking out the best street art and even meeting local street artists, and learning about how the dark political history affected the town and its people.
Vina Del Mar
Vina Del Mar is a beach town located a short 14 minute train ride from Valparaiso, and Tours 4 Tips offer one tour there every morning and every afternoon, and our afternoon tour was a great end to our week in Chile. As the name suggests, Tours 4 Tips operate solely on tips, so you at the end of each tour you tip your guide what you think they deserve, or what you can afford. The average tip is between $10-20USD, which for budget travelers like us is very reasonable- you can do all 7 tours on offer for as little as $70. I’m so glad we discovered Tours 4 Tips, we learnt so many things that we probably wouldn’t have learnt if we’d explored each town on our own, and we didn’t have to fork out heaps of cash. I’d highly recommend at least one of these tours if you visit Santiago, Valparaiso, or Vina Del Mar.