I was recently in Santiago, Chile for the first time on business and visited some farmland in the greater Santiago area. These are my brief impressions in no particular order:

  • Chile is not the Latin America many people likely envision;
  • Santiago is a modern and efficient city and felt much more like Europe than my impression of much of Latin America;
  • Santiago reminded me of Spain, but that may be because so many of its people have Spanish or European roots;
  • I had the chance to view Santiago from the tallest man-made structure in all of Latin America – it was breathtaking;
  • I will never view grapes, walnuts or avocados in the produce aisle the same way again after seeing how such crops grow and are harvested – I have a much better appreciation for where my food comes from and the manpower and natural effort put forth to produce what ends up on my plate;
  • Valparaiso, on the west coast of Chile, is one of the largest Pacific Coast ports in the world and most people in the U.S. have likely eaten fruit shipped from Valparaiso;
  • Valparaiso is also an artist’s haven, with much of the city’s walls up and down its many hills painted by local artists – it makes for a stunning drive through the city’s streets;
  • Even in the rural areas I observed, my perception is that Chileans tend to live better than much of the world and definitely better than many people in the region;
  • Chile is a very livable city with extremely warm people and left a strong positive impression on me.