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Couch tourism: 10 books that will give you a tour of Chile from the comfort of your home

By: Chile Travel | Date: 13 April, 2020 | In: Culture ,

Chile is a land of poets, and home to great writers like the Nobel Laureates in Literature: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. But it has also produced famous writers who enthrall readers not only with their pen, but with the landscapes they describe. So we invite you to get comfortable and practice couch tourism with 10 books that offer a tour of Chile without leaving your home.

Because the incredible landscapes of Chile have been a source of inspiration for many writers, who have chosen different locations as the settings for their stories and even participants in the adventure or drama.

If you are an avid reader, we invite you to enjoy 10 books for touring Chile, which will inspire you to choose the destination for your next adventure to our country. Rev up your engines and your imagination for a Chilean adventure, and then make sure to schedule a trip to see our magnificent landscapes for yourself.

1.-Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende (1998): Valparaiso is setting chosen for this story of the adventures of Eliza Sommers, a young girl who leaves behind her beloved port city in pursuit of her sweetheart, who has emigrated to California during the Gold Rush of 1894.

If you are planning a trip to Valparaiso, we recommend this novel, which will captivate you with the port landscapes it describes. The colorful homes have never been so romantic!

Ascensores de Valparaíso

2.- The Postman, by Antonio Skármeta (1985): This story is narrated by Mario Jiménez, a 17-year-old boy who becomes a postman and is assigned to Isla Negra (Valparaíso) where he must deliver daily correspondence to the poet Pablo Neruda.

Over time, they become great friends and form a fairly close relationship around literature. If you love poetry, then this book is for you! The best part is imagining the incredible local landscapes, intricately described in the plot. After reading this story, we are sure the Nobel Prize winner’s homes will be your next travel destination.

Imagen de la playa de Isla Negra

3.- The Retreat for Heartbroken Women, by Marcela Serrano (1997): If your dream is to visit the south of Chile, you will love this book. The main character, Floreana, is a historian who comes to a retreat in the Chiloe Archipelago, along with other different women looking to heal their broken hearts.

Romantic, modern and, above all, a charming description of the magical big island of Chiloe. We recommend reading this book now! And then plan a trip to Chiloe.

Coloridos Palafitos de Chiloé

4.-Patagonia Express, by Luis Sepulveda (1995): This book is a true journey to the Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, where the author invites his readers to participate in its adventures, full of interesting characters like Ladislao Eznaola, a homeless sailor in search of a phantom boat.

Imagen de la patagonia chilena donde se ve uno de sus ríos y naturaleza

5.-Poem of Chile, by Gabriela Mistral (1967): This list would not be complete without our Nobel Laureate in Literature, who uses poetry to narrate the nature and culture of Chile, with a tour from north to south.

Didactic and inspirational, this is a must-read for both young and old to learn more about our country. 

6.- Bad Vibes, by Alberto Fuguet (1991): Santiago is a diverse and fascinating city. This becomes clear in the story told by Matías Vicuña, a teenager in the 1980s who travels the city by night in search of his identity, in a savage and excessive tour through the Santiago urban landscapes.

The capital city’s Plaza de Armas, its bohemian nightlife and bars still open to the public in the hidden alleys of this cosmopolitan city make for a tempting story that invites its readers to plan their next city adventure.

Imagen nocturna de santiago donde destacan sus luces y carreteras

7.- Santa María de las Flores Negras, by Hernan Rivera Letelier (2002): If you like to learn more about the places you visit through their history, this book is for you. It narrates the daily lives of the salt mine laborers in the Atacama Desert, near the city of Iquique at the turn of the 20th century.

Through real and fictitious characters, it talks about the moral, political and social conflicts of a group of friends who live and work in the area, with an emotionally-charged description of the landscapes where the story takes place.

Imagen de la salitreras chilenas cercanas a la ciudad de Iquique

8.- Palomita Blanca, by Enrique Lafourcade (1971): It tells the story of a teenage girl from a low-income family in the capital of Chile, Maria Acevedo, who meets a rich boy, Juan Carlos Eguirreizaga, at a hippie music festival in the 70s.

Their love story is affected by a number of economic, social, cultural and religious factors. The plot develops for the most part in Santiago, but also includes emblematic moments on a beach in Concon, with a description of the incredible landscapes of the central Chilean coastline in one of the country’s few nudist beaches.

9.- Natural Disasters, by Pablo Simonetti (2005): This book tells the story of Marco whose memories of a trip to the south of Chile in the 1970s help him put together the pieces of his past and his identity, because it was the only time he felt close to his father.

The text features places like Villarrica and Pucon, which we are sure you will want to visit.

Imagen de Pucón y su lago

10.- Perico Trepa Por Chile, by Alicia Morel and Marcela Paz (1979): This classic Chilean children’s book tells the story of a boy from Tierra del Fuego who has to leave school to become a sheepherder like his father.

At first he knows he will miss school, but then he embarks on an adventure in which he travels all around Chile. Perfect for reading as a family and learning about the different landscapes and areas described by the book. You may even want to start planning your next vacation to Chile with the whole family.

Imagen de un turista disfrutando del vuelo de condores chilenos


Written by: Chile Travel

Guía para descubrir los destinos excepcionales que se encuentran de norte a sur en Chile, compartiendo información y valiosos datos con todos los viajeros que aman su naturaleza indómita, paisajes llenos de contrastes y, por sobre todo, la calidez de su gente. // A guide to discover extraordinary destinations from north to south of Chile, sharing information and important data with travelers that love its untamed nature, landscapes full of contrasts and, above all, the warmth of its people.

Guía para descubrir los destinos excepcionales que se encuentran de norte a sur en Chile, compartiendo información y valiosos datos con todos los viajeros que aman su naturaleza indómita, paisajes llenos de contrastes y, por sobre todo, la calidez de su gente. // A guide to discover extraordinary destinations from north to south of Chile, sharing information and important data with travelers that love its untamed nature, landscapes full of contrasts and, above all, the warmth of its people.