Reasons to Visit
Endlessly referred to as the "driest desert in the world" the Atacama is a great base for the outdoor enthusiast. Mountain biking, walking, visits to salt pans and bubbling geysers are just a few of the possibilities whilst staying here.
The bottom third of Chile is home to numerous fjords, islets, archipelagos and peninsulas to explore. There is no better (in fact no other!) way to explore these fascinating territories than by taking to the water. Whether it is exploring the northern ice fields, travelling down through fjords or cruising around the southern tip of South America to Cape Horn there is a journey to suit all interests.
The most famous National Park in Chile and all of Patagonia, Torres del Paine is remote, rugged and windswept. The eponymous "Torres" or towers and uniquely smooth and twisted cuernos (horns) of the Paine Massif are unforgettable. Once there, the incredible landscape is waiting to be explored, either by foot, boat, bike, horse or vehicle.
By comparison to neighbouring countries, Chilean roads are generally a good standard and well-signed, making it an excellent choice for self drive. Opportunities extend from heading out of Santiago, through the Winelands down to the pretty Lake District through to self-exploration of the Patagonian Steppe around Torres del Paine National Park.
The mighty Andes create a magnificent natural border between Chile and neighbouring Argentina, running the full length of the country. They loom up from the Pacific providing a breathtaking backdrop to desert, vineyard and glacier and isolating the Chilean people from most of the rest of the continent.
From gentle strolls in the lush green hills of the Lake District, to hiking a volcano in the Atacama or climbing to the base of the famous towers in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile offers some of the best opportunities in Latin America for walking and trekking at all levels.
Chile has been making wine for over 400 years and now produces some of the best Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. It is also very reasonably priced. Chile's most famous vineyards and wineries are generally located in the valleys around Santiago and make excellent day trips from the city whilst many have their own accommodation.
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We can arrange a wide range of activities during your trip. Here is just a small selection of what's on offer.
Visit Ahus Vaihu and the unrestored Akahanga on the south coast of the island. Continue on towards Rano Raraku, a quarry where almost all 900 existing statued were carved, 397 still standing or lying on the slopes of the extinct volcano with a crater lake.
The Northern Lake District
Snow capped Villarrica looms majestically over Pucón at 2,840 meters (9318 feet) above sea level. You will be able to look into the crater of an active volcano perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
The Mare Australis and her sister ship Via Australis were built specifically for cruising the waters at the very tip of the South American continent.
San Pedro de Atacama
Join a shared excursion to observe the vast night skies of the Atacama Desert. The altitude of the town as well as the remote location makes this one of the best spots for astronomy, for both amateurs and experts alike.
Torres del Paine National Park
Guests are transferred from their hotel to Lago Grey where you will enjoy a boat excursion to the stunning Glacier Grey.
A stay in the Elqui Valley provides you with a great opportunity to explore Chilean Pisco culture. Pisco is the strong South American 'brandy' distilled from fermented white muscat grapes, grown throughout the Elqui Valley and in Peru.
The day begins by heading south from San Pedro de Atacama to Cejar Lagoon (the floating lagoon). This small lagoon has impressive white edges of crystallised salt and is intensely turquoise in colour, providing a home for flamingos and tagua birds.
The Maipo Valley lies to the south of Santiago with the nearest wineries just an hour away from the capital. A guide and driver will take you to some of the best in the area where you are able to taste their products and learn about their techniques.
This is one of the most iconic treks in Patagonia. The Granite towers soar majestically thousands of meters into the air creating the centre piece of the whole park.
Follow in the steps of Alexander Selkirk, the famous Scottish sailor who was stranded here alone, for four years and four months in the early 1700s.
Leaving the Paine Grande Mountain Lodge, follow signs for Capming Itialiano. You will reach the campsite after around 1½ hours walking along the base of the Torres Massif, along Lago Pehoe and across small streams and valleys.
Travel out of Santiago towards the coast, past the vineyards and orchards of the Casablanca Valley.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Chile by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in ChileWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoAccommodationAbout ChileCountry Guides
Other countries in South America:ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilColombiaEcuadorGuyanaParaguayPeruThe Falkland IslandsThe Galapagos IslandsUruguayVenezuela
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