Chile

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Overview

Start your Chilean adventures in the capital city of Santiago to lap up the culture of this dynamic city, before heading out into the untouched wilderness. Capture the soul of this dramatic country which stretches from the Atacama Desert in the north, through verdant wine country, down to Patagonia’s jagged peaks and glacial lakes. The perfect blend of nature, majestic landscapes and adventure, it’s no wonder that Chile has been named the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination. Combine Chile with Argentina and explore even more of Patagonia to make the most of your wildlife adventures in South America.

The Atacama Desert is an impressive moonscape of eerie beauty. Explore the spectacular desert landscapes of this barren terrain, with lunar landscapes and the Atacama salt flats, where pink flamingos can be found. Spurting geysers, vibrantly coloured lagoons and the best place to view the starry night skies, complete the picture.

In stark and beautiful contrast, lies Chile’s Lake District, where snow-capped volcanoes, scenic lakes, waterfalls and forest open up a world of possibilities for outdoor adventures. A greener, less rugged alternative to Patagonia, explore the nature and get your adrenaline fix with hiking, horse riding and cycling. Or, simply relax with some fishing or on gentle walks to enjoy the scenery around the area’s 12 major lakes. Our favourites are Llanquihue, Calafquén and Panguipulli, with quaint villages and plenty of Chilean hospitality and cultural charms to enjoy along the way.

Fly further south to experience Chilean Patagonia, to cruise the fjords and gaze on mountains, rivers and towering glaciers. The awe-inspiring sites of Torres del Paine National Park are a must-see on any trip to Chile, with world-class trekking and abundant flora and fauna, which includes the Andean condor, flamingos and the elusive Puma (more  Patagonia information here>>).

Easter Island is a tiny and intriguing island, just five hours flight from Chile’s mainland. This UNESCO World Heritage site is most famous for its mysterious and imposing Maoi (statues) that sit gazing out onto the Pacific Ocean. Discover the underwater world with diving amidst some of the world’s clearest waters. Remote and undisturbed, the waters surrounding the island boast abundant marine life. Learn to fish like a local, with simple weights, hook and line and catch yourself some tasty nanue. Or, take in panoramic island views, forests and meadows on one-day treks up the volcano of Rano Kau.

 

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Quick Facts - Chile

Travel Seasons

  • With its long length, Chile has a varied climate, ranging from the dry Atacama desert in the north (a year-round destination), Mediterranean climate in the centre and rainy temperate climate in the south. 
  • Dec - Feb - Summer. The best time to travel although beaches will be very busy during the peak months mid-December to January. Make sure you book in advance. In Jan/Feb there are warm summer days in most places and lots of local festivals. 
  • Mar - May - Autumn. March is grape harvest time. The Lake District will be awash with beautiful coloured leaves. It's not too hot and a good time to visit Santiago. March has good weather for Easter Island, although it's a year round destination with its tropical climate.  
  • Jun - Aug - Winter. The north is a good place to visit during this time. The ski resorts will be full. Plan ahead as transport and accommodation can be busy.
  • Sep - Nov - Spring. In Oct/Nov there are fewer crowds, clear skies and spring flowers - a good time to visit Patagonia and the central regions.


General Information

  • Capital city - Santiago (population 5 million)
  • Currency - Chilean peso
  • Languages - Spanish
  • Size - 756,096 km2 - over 3 times the size of the UK
  • Population - 17.8 million 


Health and Safety

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:

  • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Chile: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
  • It is safe to drink tap water but it is best to stick to bottled water. 


Tourist Information

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Diverse and beautiful scenery: desert, coastline, mountains, forest, lakes, volcanos, glaciers
  • Trekking in a national park
  • A cultural stay in Santiago
  • Relaxing on the coast
  • Safest country in Latin America
  • Great country for road trips

Cons

  • Santiago can be dangerous so be cautious when out and about
  • Huge distances, particularly when you have to cover them in a bus. Allow for time and a number of nights if using this means of transport
  • Extreme weather changes in the south
  • Chile is quite an expensive country
  • Risk of earthquakes

Travel Info

Arriving in Chile

  • Most travellers arrive by air, usually through the main airports at Santiago
  • Regular services from Miami, Houston and Atlanta and in Europe from Madrid and Amsterdam
  • Regional connections are available for destinations in Central and South America

 Getting Around

  • There are plenty of taxis in the urban centres, but ensure you use a registered one
  • If you are feeling adventurous you can use the extensive and reliable local bus service
  • Most safari itineraries include all transport arrangements

 Visas

  • Visas are not required for visitors of trips up to 90 days, but check before you travel Chile Visas >>

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