Crossing the Andes

Only 2 more weeks until the end of my list of suggestions for your travel bucket list. Of all of my adventures so far, these are the 10 things that stick out in my mind as the most memorable.

In no particular order, my top 10 suggestions for your travel bucket list are:

  • Kayaking and swimming in the bioluminescent bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico
  • Seeing the millions of monarch butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico
  • Desert safari off-roading, camel riding, and dinner show in Dubai, UAE
  • The Grand Canyon in the USA
  • Superman zip-lining in the cloud forests of Costa Rica
  • Machu Picchu in Peru
  • Ruins of the city of Ephesus in Turkey
  • Helmet diving in the Caribbean
  • Crossing the Andes
  • Sailing from Colombia to Panama through the Sand Blas islands

This week I’ll talk about Crossing the Andes.

When I traveled from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina last year, I decided to make a pit stop in Mendoza to get a taste of the Argentinian wine country. Instead of flying, I wanted to experience the zig-zagging roads that connect the two countries through the Andes, and I am definitely glad I did. The bus crossing was by far more entertaining than my time actually spent in Mendoza.

For more info, check out the video I took of some of the journey (it definitely does not do it justice) and/or read my original post on the crossing.

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Events in Santiago

Usually, Startup Nomad is interviews and country overviews, however, while I was in Chile, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a few really cool events that allowed me in with my camera! I don’t usually get to film the events I attend so I was psyched and wanted to share with you.

The three videos below are of Cumpre Emprendedores (Entrepreurs Summit), which was hosted by the Chilean government’s entrepreneurship promotion organization and featured Chile’s president as the keynote speaker; a Startup Chile investors event where 3 international investors gave mini-talks to the audience about the investing landscape and what they look for in companies they’d consider investing in; and the Startup Chile Demo Day, which included pitches from current Startup Chile participants who are fundraising and talks from investors and successful entrepreneurs.

Cumbre Emprendedores:

Startup Chile Investors Event:

Startup Chile Demo Day:

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Interview with Cristian Chong

Cristian Chong is the current account manager for Oro V. He’s been involved with a number of startups, has a Master’s degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology, and helped start Movistar Innova, the innovation arm of telecommunications giant Telefonica. He’s Chilean and currently resides in Santiago, but he’s lived and worked abroad so he has a unique view of Santiago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and how it differs from other parts of the world.

Check out this week’s Startup Nomad interview (below) to see what Cristian had to say and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Interview with Claudio Barahona of Wayra

If you know anything about entrepreneurship in Latin America you know that Wayra is an incredible powerhouse in the space. Owned by Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica, Wayra is an incubation program with locations in numerous countries in Latin America and Europe. I was lucky enough to speak with a few of Wayra’s representatives along my journey through Latin America and my first introduction was with Claudio Barahona, the Business Development Manager for Wayra’s Santiago, Chile office.

Claudio was kind enough to let me pick his brain about Wayra and the work it does as well as about Chile’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also gave me a tour of the offices and we chatted with entrepreneurs from Crowdsourced Testing and Thinker Thing about their experiences in Startup Chile, Wayra, and Santiago’s entrepreneurship scene more generally.

The video is a long one this week but trust me, it’s well worth it. Check out what Claudio and some of Wayra’s entrepreneurs had to say and then let me know your thoughts:

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Interview with Eduardo Pizarro

Eduardo Pizarro is a self-described story-teller who has helped to build a couple of businesses in Santiago, including his current project, iWink. He’s very much involved in the startup scene in the city and knows a lot about how the entrepreneurial ecosystem is developing, so I was excited to speak with him about how he sees the entrepreneurship community. Check out the video below to see what he had to say:

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Interview with Alan VanTaoi

Alan VanToai is the co-founder of Simple Crew and is currently participating in Startup Chile. However, he and his co-founder are from the United States, so I was psyched to sit down with Alan and pick his brain about his experience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Santiago and how he thinks it compares to that in NYC.

Check out the video below to hear what he had to say:

Chile’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Interview with June Avila

June Avila is a self-described “startup enabler” working in Canada and she’s also an entrepreneur and graduate of the Startup Chile program. Even though she made the eventual decision to shut down the company that she took through the Startup Chile program, because of her work both as an entrepreneur and a non-entrepreneur supporter of entrepreneurship as well as her experience in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of both Chile and Canada, she had some interesting thoughts on the startup scene in Santiago.

Check out this week’s video to see what June had to say about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chile and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below:

Chile Startup Overview

Over the last couple of years few countries have received as much attention for their governments’ efforts to support and build entrepreneurial ecosystems as Chile has, with its most talked about program being Startup Chile. If you’re in Santiago and looking to get involved in the entrepreneurship world there is certainly no shortage of activities, organizations, and people willing to take you by the hand and help you get acclimated to the world of entrepreneurship in “Chilecon Valley.”

As you can see in the graphs below (from the GEM data visualization tool), entrepreneurial activity has basically shot through the roof in recent years in Chile and given its stable economy and government its poised to be a leading entrepreneurship hub. However, it’s still working on finding its own unique style within the entrepreneurship world and is reliant on experts and entrepreneurs from abroad to keep the entrepreneurial ecosystem running as actively as it currently is.

Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity, Chile vs. USA
Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity, Chile vs. USA
Percentage of 18-64 population who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business.
New Business Ownership Rate, Chile vs. USA
New Business Ownership Rate, Chile vs. USA
Percentage of 18-64 population who are currently a owner-manager of a new business, i.e., owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than three months, but not more than 42 months.

Over the next few weeks Startup Nomad will be talking to a number of entrepreneurs (both Chilean and non-Chilean) that are currently working in Santiago to build their businesses about how they see the ecosystem and its growth. Chile has been my busiest stop yet, so we’ll hear quite a range of opinions about what Chile is doing especially well and how they can improve their entrepreneurial ecosystem for the future.


If you have any thoughts about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Santiago or in Chile as a whole OR if you’re an entrepreneur, investor, or part of a support organization in Latin America and would like to be interviewed for Startup Nomad, please let me know!

Crossing the Andes: Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina by Bus

Instead of flying from Santiago, Chile directly to Buenos Aires, Argentina I decided to take the scenic bus route through the Andes and stopping in Mendoza, Argentina to visit the wineries and olive oil factories (which you’ll hear more about next week). All I can say about the bus trip is WOW.

I booked my tickets online via the Andesmar (an Argentinian bus company) website and all I had to do was show up at the bus station the morning of my trip with my printed ticket, my reciprocity fee receipt (Argentina charges all those traveling on a U.S. passport a $160 reciprocity fee in order to enter the country, which you must pay online in advance), and my luggage and check in at the Andesmar desk. My advice: if at all possible choose the a seat on the top level and in the very front of the bus for the best views.

While 6-8 hours on a bus isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good time, the views of the snow-capped Andes were absolutely amazing. Please check out the video below to get an idea, but it doesn’t do the journey justice at all. It was incredible to see and I am so happy I chose to cross the border by bus instead of choosing the more convenient flight.

Viña del Mar and Valparaíso

Two popular beach towns to which people from Santiago escape in the summer are Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. Less than two hours outside of the capital city and rather adorable, I can see why they would be popular spots for weekenders in the summer. I, however, visited Chile in the winter so there wasn’t a ton going on.

I still had an awesome time and tasted some delicious food though (shrimp and cheese empanadas – delicious). Check out the video below to see what the two cities look like in gloomy winter and try to imagine them with sunshine and summer crowds.