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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This is a rough guide to when to travel to this region. Choose a month of travel to see typical temperature and rainfall around the country. The ticks indicate our recommended months to travel.
As befits a country that spans a range of latitudes, Chile has many different climatic regions.
The temperate north and sub-tropical Easter Island can be visited year round, while Santiago and the central regions of Chile have seasons that are the reverse of our own. The Lake District is delightful in Chile’s spring and autumn, while the endless sunshine of the high summer months of December and January attract many crowds.
As is the case in Argentina, Chile’s Patagonia has a very changeable climate, and being this far south you must be prepared for anything even during the optimum months (October to March), with the inclement winter weather from June to August rendering the area effectively closed.
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Further reading:Tours in ChileHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout ChileCountry Guides
Other countries in South America:ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilColombiaEcuadorGuyanaParaguayPeruThe Falkland IslandsThe Galapagos IslandsUruguayVenezuela
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