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Travel Books and more

Here are some interesting books, links and info which you may like to read before, and indeed after, visiting Chile. Plain text comments are ours. Italic comments are quotes extracted from the Amazon.com site and/or other sources. Most of the books have direct links to its own pages on Amazon.com. You may visit the Amazon site without any obligation to purchase the book; there you can see a full-size illustration of the cover, learn more details, and read recent reviews.

Travel Guides

Moon Handbook Chile - Wayne Bernhardson (2002)
This is a very good travel guide. Wayne Bernhardson really knows Chile (he stays in Chile 6 months each year traveling in his 4x4) and he has a great sensibility to recognize and suggest the good places and best spots of the country.

Frommer's Argentina and Chile - Shane Christensen et al. (2003)
A travel guide to the South American countries of Argentina and Chile. Offers reviews of the best dining and lodging, as well as exact pricing for those on a budget. Includes opinions on the local sites and out-of-the-way gems, and new takes on popular attractions.

Lonely Planet Chile and Easter Island - Carolyn Hubbard et al. (2003)
The wonders of Chile's long stretch of landscape reach from tropical splendors in the north to icy behemoths in the south--with 4,000 kilometers of volcanoes, fjords, and lakes in between. Whether you seek outdoor or urban adventures, this guide has what you need to eat, sleep, speak, and experience the finest Chile has to offer. Also included are details for travel to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. -- Kathryn True

The Rough Guide to Chile - Melissa Graham (2003)
If you're planning a trip to Chile (or wish you were) this is the book to get you ready. Dealing with everything from money exchange to lodgings to transportation, it has invaluable information to carry you from "tourist" to "traveler."

Turistel - Chilean Travel Guide
if you speak Spanish, the Chilean tourist board guides -Turistel- are really very good as they are updated yearly with accurate information. Available per region (North, Central, South) in Santiago's bookshops and street kiosks.
Not available at Amazon.com
 

Trekking Guides & Maps

Trekking in The Patagonian Andes - Lonely Planet - Clem Lindenmayer 2003)
This convenient guide features trail maps and route descriptions of walks throughout Patagonia, including a long sections on Torres del Paine in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. With detailed practical information, color photography, 31 maps and good background on preparing for your trek. Third edition.

Trekking El Chalten and Lago del Desierto - Miguel Alonso (1998)
Hiking guide for a region quite unknown until short ago. Charts, time rates, and heights. History, nature and tips. By the author of ¨Lago Argentino Handbook¨, who is a experienced mountain guide. English translation of the different treks.

Chile and Argentina, The Bradt Trekking Guide - Tim Burford (2001)
This guide includes 45 hikes, from northwest Argentina to Tierra del Fuego; unique descriptions of mountain treks near Santiago; rafting, kayaking, cycling, horse-riding and skiing; thorough coverage of national parks, including ecology and wildlife; wildlife on the Valdes Peninsula. (5 1/4 x 8 1/2, 368 pages, illustrations, maps, charts)

Cuadernos Patagonicos - Techint
Only in spanish. La pequeña colección que me complazco en presentarles se llama "Cuadernos Patagónicos" y comprende una serie de publicaciones monográficas centradas en la Patagonia y en las empresas andinistas y de exploración que han sido efectuadas.
Visit the site here

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares Map 1:250.000
If you don't need the map urgently before coming to Chile or Argentina, it is maybe a good idea to wait until arriving as you can buy the same map (and check several others) at airports and stores in Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Calafate and Chalten.

Torresdel Paine Trekking Map 1:80.000
If you don't need the map urgently before coming to Chile or Argentina, it is maybe a good idea to wait until arriving as you can buy the same map (and check several others) at airports and stores in Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Calafate and Chalten.

Instituto Geografico Militar - Chile
Find all the maps you need for your upcoming trekking or mountaineering trip to Chile here. You can order online digital or paper versions of the maps. The site is in spanish but easy to follow once you get there. After clicking the link at the right, choose "Cartografía" and then continue until you reach the area you need.
Visit the IGM site here
 

Birds, Flora and Fauna

Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego an Antarctica Peninsula - Enrique Couve and Claudio Vidal (2003)
This comprehensive field guide describes more than 400 species. Photographs are opposite descriptive text that details status, range, habits, and range maps for each species. The introductory section provides notes on the species accounts, nomenclature adopted, and conservation issues. Not yet in Amazon.com. You can wait until arriving into Chile to buy it or can get it from the ABA Sales Store (American Birding Association)
Visit the ABA Store site here

Birds of Chile - Alvaro Jaramillo (2003)
Birds of Chile offers not just perfect field-portability, beautiful and accurate artwork with facing text, and clarity and conciseness throughout: it presents genuinely new scholarship on the field identification of several cryptic and difficult groups, as well as on the modern geographic distribution of Chile's birds.

Union de Ornitologos de Chile
Visit this website (in spanish) that has more information on birds of Chile.
Visit the site here

Aves de Chile
Very good site with information of birds in Chile . Looking for a specific bird? that's the place to find it!
Visit the site here

Wildflowers of the Chilean Desert - Sebastián Teillier et al.
Color illustrations of more than 70 species of flowers, most of them endemics, of the "Desierto Florido" in the north de Chile. Available in CONAF's stores (CONAF is the National Park Administrator) and few bookstores in Santiago. Check our Wildflowers of the Chilean Desert Trip!
Not available at Amazon.com

 

Flora Silvestre de Chile - Adriana Hoffmann

Adriana Hoffmann has covered the country in detail and has several books. In Spanish, but with pictures and enough info... you can usually make it out! If you are only able to afford only one the best for me is Plantas Altoandinas. Not available in Amazon.com but you can find them at bookstores in Santiago. Check the Fundacion Gay/Defensores del Bosque website as, if you mail them, they may send you one!
(site down for the moment)

Charles Darwin's journal aboard the Beagle
Well known worldwide. The Patagonia and Chile sections are the most interesting! This is also available online in English clicking here.

Literature

Memoirs - Pablo Neruda
"Some of the descriptions of places--India, China, Mexico especially--are brilliant, but it is Chile that emerges most clearly with lights and shadows." --Selden Rodman, National Review. Pablo Neruda's "Memoirs" is not a comprehensive autobiographical document. It is a personal memoir, recounted as if the author was sitting around a table, with good friends and a bottle of excellent Chilean wine, telling tales of the people, anecdotes and incidents that were so important in his life. "Confieso Que He Vivido," means I confess that I have lived. And Sr. Neruda certainly did that...

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair - Pablo Neruda
First published in 1924, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada remains among Pablo Neruda’s most popular work. Daringly metaphorical and sensuous, this collection juxtaposes youthful passion with the desolation of grief. Drawn from the poet’s most intimate and personal associations, the poems combine eroticism and the natural world with the influence of expressionism and the genius of a master poet. This edition features the newly corrected original Spanish text, with masterly English translations by award-winning poet W. S. Merwin on facing pages. Pablo Neruda: see more poems and books!

The Stories of Eva Luna - Isabel Allende (1992)
Born in Chile but now living in Northern California, Allende is the first female Latin American novelist to become well-known to the American reading public. Her novels -The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, and Eva Luna-are frequently compared to those of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Memoirs - Pablo Neruda
"Some of the descriptions of places--India, China, Mexico especially--are brilliant, but it is Chile that emerges most clearly with lights and shadows." --Selden Rodman, National Review. Pablo Neruda's "Memoirs" is not a comprehensive autobiographical document. It is a personal memoir, recounted as if the author was sitting around a table, with good friends and a bottle of excellent Chilean wine, telling tales of the people, anecdotes and incidents that were so important in his life. "Confieso Que He Vivido," means I confess that I have lived. And Sr. Neruda certainly did that...

My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile - Isabel Allende (2003)
Allende wrote this memoir of Chile and her childhood because "nation and tribe are confused in my mind." The catalyst was the "blood-chilling coincidence" of two disasters--the CIA overthrow of the Chilean government on September 11, 1973, and the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Isabel Allende: see more books!

Patagonia

Lucas Bridges, The Uttermost parts of the Earth.
Hard to get hold of, long, but totally fascinating account of missionaries living among Tierra del Fuego Indians early in the 20 century. This is really an excellent book! An outstanding account of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. A truly memorable work. A towering achievement to have written such a telling account of life on the edge of civilization. Tschiffely's achievement in persuading E. Lucas Bridges to commit the story to paper has preserved the memory of a lost race. Why it is out of print is beyond me...
Is it available at Amazon.com?

Cape Horn and Other Stories of the End of the World - Francisco Coloane.
An anthology of some of the most popular short stories of Francisco Coloane, a Chilean author well-known for his sea-faring adventure novels. Coloane has been extensively translated to French. 'The stories in this book reveal a world seldom seen by English-speaking readers. This is a world of grand vistas, foot-worn trails and the encroachment of a so-called civilization. If you are searching for a world left unexplored by American literature or those who read and write it, "Cape Horn and Other Stories from the End of the World" is an excellent starting point.' Francisco Coloane: see more books!

The Full Circle - Luis Sepulveda
Original name in Spanish: Patagonia Express All his books are good. Patagonia Express is published in English under the title 'The Full Circle'. His book "Fin del Fin del Mundo" is also wonderful if you are planning a trip to the far south. This may not be available in English (you will fins many translations to french and german) but his Spanish is clear and simple and they make excellent beginning Spanish books for serious students. Luis Sepulveda: see more books!

In Patagonia - Bruce Chatwin (1989)
A masterpiece of travel, history and adventure. This award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia. There is no travel writer as engaging, insightful and just plain wonderful as Bruce Chatwin.

The Wild Shores of Patagonia: Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo - Jasmine Rossi (2000)
A photographic portrait of Patagonia's coastal wildlife, complemented by first-person accounts.

Riding Across Patagonia - Florence Dixie
When asked in 1879 why she wanted to travel to such an outlandish place as Patagonia, the author replied without hesitation that she was taking to the saddle in order to flee from the strict confines of polite Victorian society. “Riding Across Patagonia” tells the story of how the aristocrat successfully traded the perils of a London parlor for the wind-borne freedom of a wild Patagonian bronco. Her equestrian exploits became legendary. One of the first Europeans to ride Criollo horses, on one occasion Lady Dixie escaped from a rampaging prairie fire by riding directly through the flames! Long considered a classic of equestrian travel, Lady Dixie’s book is illustrated with pen and ink drawings that show her mounted entourage during the course of their remarkable adventures.

Easter Island / Rapa Nui

 

The Mystery of Easter Island - Katherine Routledge
In the early 1900's Katherine Routledge sailed from England to Easter Island on the schooner 'Mana', leading a group of experts on the first modern day scientific expedition to uncover the secrets of the island. This book is a first-hand account of the expedition. It includes lots of detail on the famous stone statues (moai), the native people & their legends, the mysterious script (rongo-rongo), the bird cult, and much more The book is well written and fun to read. It includes lots of fine illustrations, including photos and drawings, depicting the most important sites. It is definately a must-read for visitors to the island, or just for anyone interested in Easter Island and its strange history.

Kon Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft - Thor Heyerdahl (1995)
A great classic! The story of the Pacific journey by six men on a raft trying to prove that Easter Island civilization came from an Andean kingdom that preceed the Inca empire.

Atacama & Altiplano

Hidalgo: 100 days Across the Atacama Desert - Elly & Nathan Foote (2004)
If you were intrigued by the movie Hidalgo, you will want to read THE DESERT DIARIES. This remarkable journal, enriched by 50 quality photos in living color, was brought out in answer to everyone's question: Could anyone actually ride a mustang across such a lifeless, burning inferno? Nathan and Elly did. They spent 100 days in the longest, driest desert on earth, The Atacama of Chile, during their equestrian odyssey from The Patagonia to Canada(1969-73).