Tourism Slowly Returns to Chile Following Quake

Photo courtesy explora Patagonia

The recent 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile was the fifth-strongest in recorded history, yet many regions were not affected due to the sheer size of the country–Chile stretches 2,653 miles from its northern border to its southern tip, nearly the distance from New York City to Los Angeles.

Thanks to swift action by the Chilean government and the resilience of its determined residents, the country is on the path to recovery, even as yesterday’s aftershocks still rock the country. The hardest-hit areas, including the city of Concepcion and the Maule and Bio Bio regions, continue to struggle following the devastation, but the capital, Santiago, has returned to normal fairly quickly. Significantly, Aeropuerto de Santiago, the international airport, has been able to reopen since there was no damage to runways or taxiways. The passenger terminal had some structural damage, so international travelers are using the domestic terminal (domestic arrivals and departures have moved to a makeshift terminal to the east of the airport’s old terminal).

Chile has a long history of luring adventure travelers with its staggering natural beauty and unique history. For those interested in exploring Chile and celebrating the country’s resilience, explora is offering a “Chile Bicentennial Package”, with savings on trips to unique destinations like the Atacama Desert, the unspoiled nature of Patagonia, and mysterious Easter Island. The new “Chile Bicentennial Package” from explora offers two opportunities to save:

  • From June 1 through August 31, 2010, enjoy special discounts of up to 25% on travel to any two (2) explora destinations.
  • During the entire month of September, enjoy special discounts of up to 25% on travel to any one (1) explora destination, with no combination required.

For more information or to reserve special rates through the “Chile Bicentennial Package,” call explora toll- free in the U.S. at 1-866-750-6699, email: reservexplora@explora.com, or visit the website at  www.explora.com.

Remember, more than two million Chileans were devastated by the quake. Unlike Haiti, there isn’t as much need for volunteer assistance in Chile since the country is much better prepared to deal with natural disasters with a long history of handling seismic disasters. Here are other ways you can show your support:

The Mobile Giving Foundation has launched a text messaging campaign for micro donations, and the four major U.S. mobile carriers waived text messaging fees.

1. Text the word “CHILE” to 25383 to donate $10 on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity

2. Text the word “CHILE” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision

3. Text the word “CHILE” to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army

4. Text the word “CHILE” to 85944 to donate $10 on behalf of International Medical Corp.

Direct Donations Online

If you want to donate a larger amount directly to a non-profit of choice, consider these organizations:

1. American Red Cross — the American Red Cross International Response Fund helps victims of crises such as the Chile and Haiti earthquakes. If you wish to designate your funds to a specific crisis, you’ll need to mail in your donation.

2. Americares — funds go exclusively to the Chilean earthquake (and tsunami relief, should further tragedies occur)

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