Off the beaten track experiences for people studying in Chile

Live for a weekend with Mapuche tribes in the southern reaches of Araucanía or set off on horseback for a guided tour around the Pisco-swilling Elqui region. Trips like these are among the many on offer from the new tour company created especially for young foreigners in Chile.

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Inside and around Santiago, and as far north and south of the country as the Elqui Valley and Araucanía, foreigners studying in Chile who are looking for that extra-special experience now have a whole array of new trips on offer for them.

Student Tourism – the first tour operator of its kind in Chile – has been developing tailor-made trips for foreign exchange students who want to become immersed in Chilean life alongside other likeminded people their own age.

“We were looking to hit the middle-mark in terms of pricing, so that students who don’t have the money for expensive tours are still able to get a real integrated Chilean experience, in a tour environment,” said Grace Agosín, who founded the company two months ago.

The Lafkenche – or ‘people of the sea’ – a Mapuche tribe whose folklore and customs are defined by the cycles of nature, have opened their arms to integrate students into their community. A three day trip to the shores of Lake Budi in Araucanía, guided by a PHD Professor in Sociology who is familiar with all aspects of Mapuche life, costs USD$950, including air transport from Santiago, all lodgings and food.

Among other trips include an overnight excursion to Pablo Neruda’s seaside hometown of Isla Negra via the village of Pomaire, an artesanal maze of handmade ceramic pots and bowls buried away in the hills an hour outside Santiago.

For those who are unable to take too much time away from the city, 3-5 hour walking trips around the cultural hotspots of Santiago are a great opportunity to meet other likeminded people while taking in some of the hidden delights of the city. The tour passes through many of the capital’s official congresses, squares, markets and libraries, stopping by and entering the buildings themselves.

For more information about the tours, and to book a place, visit www.studentourism.com

This post is also available in Spanish