Chile is the longest and narrowest country in the world, stretching 4,270 km along the Pacific from Peru to Argentina. It boasts the Atacama Desert, the majestic Andes Mountains, and the lakes and valleys of Patagonia.
Chile’s capital, Santiago, is a modern city and its strategic location, close to ski resorts as well as Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, the perfect seaside pair, makes it a very popular travel destination.
Located in the south of Chile, some 700 kilometres from Santiago, the city of Pucón is blessed by nature in its surroundings. The Villarrica volcano is the protagonist of the landscape and regional excursions include everything from hikes up to the top in summer to skiing down during winter. But the area also has beaches, waterfalls, a forest of Paraná pine trees, lakes of emerald-green water and centres for water sports. The hot springs there help to relax the body after so much physical activity.
San Pedro de Atacama
Majestic in its desolate beauty, the Atacama is the driest desert in the world. Travellers can take advantage of the best stargazing conditions as it boasts the clearest skies in the hemisphere. The starting point for any adventure through the arid desert of Atacama is the city of San Pedro de Atacama, which is situated in one of the most beautiful landscapes in northern Chile. It’s surrounded by attractions where you can spend days – or even weeks – experiencing its ancient history and exploring breath-taking landscapes. At the end of each experience, you can go back to San Pedro de Atacama to relax and hang out in the city, enjoying some coffee, excellent food, going shopping or even chatting with the locals about regional legends.
Formally known as Easter Island, Rapa Nui is a remote island in the middle of the Pacific offering scuba diving, horseback riding, and views of the ancient Moai statues. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, Rapa Nui is also a National Park filled with cultural attractions and archaeological sites, as well as unforgettable landscapes. Its natural assets include beaches with white and pink sands, a wealth of flora, marine fauna (which you can experience when diving), volcanoes that are perfect hiking destinations, and caves and overlook with views of the Pacific Ocean. It is also home to over 900 catalogued moai (the typical statues), links to a culture that remains alive thanks to a cultural revival led by the island’s inhabitants, represented by folk dances, cuisine and handicrafts.
Patagonia lies at the southern tip of the continent and faces the Straits of Magellan, where the Pacific and Atlantic meet, and offers unmatched hiking adventures.
Torres del Paine
By the edge of the Strait of Magellan, at the bottom tip of South America, Torres del Paine is one of Chile’s most famous national parks, especially among trekkers. Its untamed nature is represented in the dramatic shapes of the mountains, the trails that run along lakes and glaciers and the abundance of fauna observed there. Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas are the closest bases to this important reserve.
This Chilean city is one of the bases for exploring the Andean lake region, some 18,920 square miles between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. At the foot of the picturesque scenery formed by the Osorno Volcano and Llanquihue Lake, Puerto Varas is a haven filled with inheritances from the German colonies in its cuisine and architecture, little shops, hotels and nightlife. From there you can also experience the natural wonders of Vicente Peréz Rosales National.
Around 200 kilometres south of Puerto Montt (the capital of the Los Lagos Region), the archipelago of Chiloé is a world apart in Chile. Three dozen islands are home to unique settlements comprised of colourful little wooden houses built on stilts. A destination that’s mostly unknown to tourists, the city has an impressive set of churches and serves as a natural habitat for a series of seabirds, including penguins.
Contact your local travel agent and ask them to arrange a trip that suits your style. You’ll be so glad you did.