Gertrud’s Working Holiday experience in Chile

Working Holiday

Hostel Work / Chile

March 2016

(cortesy translation from German)

My time at the hostel in Arica in February / March 2016 was totally impressive! The owners of the hostel - Ross from New Zealand and Beatriz from Arica - were in my advanced age, very nice and relaxed even in the biggest hustle and bustle.

The location of the hostel was close to the bus terminal, so many backpackers came through the door, but most had pre-booked. The hostel consisted of 2 merging houses with 32 beds, 3 four-bed rooms, 3 three-bed rooms, the rest were double rooms with and without bathroom. There were 2 kitchens for the guests with a lot of space cooking - there was a wonderful fruit and vegetable market nearby, there were also several meat stands and fresh fish sales.

I was alone in a double room upstairs, the bathroom was in the basement - no problem, good shower and always warm water.

My working hours started in the morning at 6.45 a.m. with the preparation of breakfast, the table was already set in the evening, in the morning the fresh things came on the table: milk, yogurt, cheese and fruit, fresh bread every day - I made coffee, prepared water for tea. Breakfast was served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. - sometimes, however, some guests sat longer. The table had space for 10 people and was very communicative, even if sometimes people had to wait, which was rare. Then everything was cleared, dishes washed and I helped with the check-out and was responsible for everything when Ross and Beatriz went out to shop or go out in the evening. Thursday was my day off, when I went on excursions and explored the area.

In the hostel there were also 2 women cleaning and washing. I always tried to give travel information to the guests for their onward journey or excursions in the area, which of course I also explored myself. The advantage was that I had already worked in San Padro de Atacama - the route was one of the main routes of the guests - and the onward journey to Arequipa / Peru, where I explained the border formalities and the travel options with Collectivo or bus. Of course, people had many other questions regarding onward travel and practical everyday questions, dealing with excursions up high - one of the most frequently booked day trips went towards the Bolivian border to Lake Chungara at 4600m. I have provided some people with special tea for stomach problems - this is also part of my job. For Ross, communication with the guests was very important, which is why the very rich breakfast, which was praised by many.

In the middle of March I was responsible for everything for 4 days - Ross and Beatriz went on a short vacation. Of course that was a bit exciting for me, but everything went well. You get to know a lot of different people and also their peculiarities. There were many younger people there, but also some older ones - an English-Chilean couple even lived in the hostel for several weeks. Overall, I have had a variety of experiences and made friends - it was certainly not the last time, I will do a trip with South America Insid again for sure!

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