Chile will always hold a very special place in my heart.

When I was in eighth grade my family lived in a very small town just south of Santiago, called Tomé. We lived in a tiny house with four other American families and explored all corners of the country (and a bit of Argentina). I was not able to truly appreciate my experience there until I had matured a few more years. Now it is one of my favorite places in the world.

At the end of my four months studying in Buenos Aires, I had the chance to go back to Chile with a more open mind.

Here are photos from my time in El Cajon del Maipo. Unfortunately I only had enough time to visit this one town, but it was an unbelievable experience and I met some amazing people.

But first, I had to cross the Argentina-Chile border (which I remember quite well from my trip there 8 years ago):

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After an exhausting travel day, I arrived in El Maipo. The small town of San Alfonso in El Cajon del Maipo cannot simply be described as “small.” It is minuscule, yet relentlessly charming and beautiful. There is no light in which is does not stun.

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I stayed with a friend at the tranquil Cascada de las Animas resort and was lucky enough to get a spot on a short horseback riding excursion one day. The view only got better the higher we climbed.

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These horses deserved medals for the climb. Or maybe a dozen apples would have been more appreciated.

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I was also fortunate enough to participate in a march that protested the installation of a dam on the Río Maipo. People in the area are very passionate about it and it reminded me of the efforts being made in my hometown to stop the Keystone Pipeline.

Sometimes the march felt more like a moving party, with drums and trumpets and dancing in the streets. As we walked from San Alfonso to San Jose (10 km), the crowd continuously grew. I would estimate that we started with 70 people and ended up with over 300 in San Jose. It was one of the most enlightening moments of my life.

The cause is called No Alto Maipo. Please check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NoAlProyectoAltoMaipo. 

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It was the perfect way to end my South American adventure and I learned more than I thought I would with only a week there.

I’ll be back soon Chile.

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