It’s our first full day here on our South America vacation, and we’re already having a great time. We had two excellent flights down here yesterday: a three hour flight from Orlando to Panama, followed by a two hour layover in Panama, and then a six and half hour flight to Santiago. I posted briefly in the Copa Club in Panama yesterday, and just updated that post with some pics I downloaded today.
The two hour layover in Panama was actually quite brief, since Copa boards their flights approximately an hour before departure. Looking forward to stopping in Panama as a port stop in a couple weeks on our journey back to Ft. Lauderdale, after sailing thru the Panama Canal.
Copa offers Business and Coach class only, and they really do an outstanding job with their Latin/South American mix of flights to primarily Spanish-speaking passengers on Boeing 737-800 jets.
I had read about that before we went, and I guess it’s so people can adjust to the normal meal times.
After the snack service, I watched the movie Philomenia on my personal mini-tv, with it’s on-demand service of movies, TV, music, games, and my favorite – inflight map of our flight progress. I really enjoyed the movie, and always like Judi Dench’s movies; they are all quality presentations. This movie was based on a true-story and really touches the heart.
After the movie, I took a nap for a couple hours before dinner was served. Both DOS and I had the Filet Mignon, and it was deliciously paired with a fine Chilean Cabernet.
Dinner was followed by a dessert of chocolate and cheesecake, or sundae. I had the former, and DOS had the latter. By the time we were done with dessert, it was nearly time to land, so I worked on a logic puzzle the rest of the flight on my Ipad.
We landed in Santiago around midnight, and it was a quick journey thru immigration, retrieving baggage, and customs. The one nice thing about flying on the narrow-body 737 was the bags were delivered very quickly vs a big wide-body jet.
After going thru immigration, agriculture and customs, we walked thru the masses of waiting taxis, families, vendors etc, and made our short walk to the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport. Our good friend, Ed Gonzalez, a former international Flight Attendant for American recommended this hotel due to the short distance and convenience. It is literally just steps away from the customs exit area, and the check-in was fast and efficient. Due to the late check-in, they granted us a 2pm checkout (normally at 10am), which was nice, even though we didn’t end up using it.
It was a long day, but not a bad travel day, and super-convenient overnight stay hotel. Bienvenidos Chile!
Here are some photos from the next day (Thursday) after we checked out of the Holiday Inn, and moved on to the Grand Hyatt. Again, it was so nice being just steps away from the terminal. We were going to take a cab to the Grand Hyatt Santiago, but we got a better deal hiring a full-size van (similar to Super Shuttle) which they gave us the whole van to ourselves when they saw how much luggage we had!
We had requested a pool view with walk-out balcony, but unfortunately there were only a couple of those, but we still have a nice- walk out balcony, but facing the city instead of the pool. All is well!
Went to the Executive lounge at the Hyatt this evening, located on the 16th floor, and made some friends from Canberra, Australia, who had just returned from an Antarctica cruise. We had a few brewskis and shared some fun travel stories.
Later, we went to dinner around 8:45 at the nearby open-air mall area, to a place we went to back in 2009. I think (and DOS thinks so too) he was our waiter when we went here 6 years ago. And he still doesn’t know any English! But kind at heart, he presented us with a wonderful steak dinner for two, accompanied with a delicious Italian salad, nice Reserva Red vino, and potatoes-fried (french fries)!
Anyway, its late – almost midnight and we have a vino tour leaving at 8:20am from our hotel in the morning, so I guess I’ll sign off. Buenos Noches!