About Chile Travel
Atacama Desert: On the Pacific coast, west of the Andes Mountains, this is considered the driest desert in the world. With such little rainfall, water comes from pockets in ancient salt lakes and snows at higher elevations. This is the third largest geyser site on earth with more than 80 active geysers.
Easter Island: Few places have gripped the world’s imagination more than Easter Island with its giant stone figures. Some 600 giant stone moai figures dot the island. This lonely speck of land is about 3,701 kilometers/2,300 miles west of Santiago in the Pacific Ocean. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rapa Nui National Park, includes Ahu Vinapu’s Inca-like precise stonework; Rano Raraku quarry where the giant figures were carved; and Rano Kao with it curious ruins of the village of Orongo, a likely center for the ancient birdman cult. Other areas to explore include historic Ana Tepahu caverns; Puna Pao quarry, source of the giant red cylinders crowning many of the statues; Rano Raraku Volcano; and the toppled moai of Akahanga.
Isla Negra, Valparaiso & Viña del Mar: Isla Negra is a tranquil family seaside resort, and is known as the home of the late Nobel poet Pablo Neruda. His eccentrically designed house is now a museum. For 500 years, Valparaiso has been a port of call for vessels from around the world. This colorful city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From conquistadors and pirates to Charles Darwin and James Whistler, all came in search of some form of treasure. It is Chile’s principal port and secondlargest city. Its hilltop suburbs are reached by funicular railways and stairway footpaths. Viña del Mar is called the Garden City for its many parks and garden.
Northern Chile: This fascinating region is well off the tourist’s beat. Small towns and villages such as Rio Hurtado and Pisco Elqui are set in the Andes amid striking mountain landscapes. The Altiplano is Chile’s link with the great civilizations of the Central Andes. Even now, the traditional, nomadic society of Aymara wanders the Altiplano with their llamas and alpacas. Experienced riders can venture out to “the roof of the Andes,” at heights up to 3,800 meters/12,467 feet. Nature hikes, a visit to an unusual winery and ancient petroglyphs, some dating back 4,000 years, make this an intriguing area. Rock carvings depict masked faces, animals and other images. Caves show some of the earliest traces of human settlement here.
Patagonia: This vast region at the southernmost tip of South America is shared by Argentina and Chile. Civilizations with mystical rites, sailors and pioneers have added to its history. Torres del Paine National Park covers 242,002 hectares/598,000 acres with granite peaks, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Torres del Paine is the focus of the park. Bernardo O’Higgins National Park borders it to the west, while Los Glaciares National Park is just north in Argentina. The scenery is dominated by the Paine massif. Small valleys separate mighty granite spires and mountains of the massif. Outdoor pursuits include climbing, fly fishing, sailing, horseback riding, kayaking and trekking.
Patagonia Cruises: Cruises travel through the Southern Patagonia Ice Field and navigate channels, past fjords and glaciers. Many legendary explorers walked these ice fields including Ladrillero, Darwin and Fitz Roy. Ships sail through Montanas Fjord, past colossal mountains. Trekkers explore the dense forest on the way to Bernal Glacier.
Pucon & Villarica: Pucon is a small city in the middle of the southern lake region. The Andes here change into a series of spectacular volcanoes, age-old forests and lakes of distinctive beauty. This is a fashionable resort area with abundant activities such as trekking, glacier treks, boating and mountain biking. Snow-covered Villarica, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, is one of only four volcanoes in the world known to have an active lava lake within its crater.
Puerto Varas & Chiloe Island: In southern Chile, Puerto Varas is known for its strong German flavor as a result of German immigration in the mid-19th century. Llanquihue Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in South America; and Osorno Volcano is one of the most historically active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes. It sits on a 250,000-year-old eroded stratovolcano, with a caldera that is six kilometers/3.7 miles wide. Mt. Osorno has a year round chairlift for skiing in winter and sightseeing in summer. Chiloe is the largest island of the Chiloe Archipelago. Having evolved for centuries isolated from mainland, the “Chilotes” developed a strong, selfreliant culture, rich in folklore. Chiloe has crafts markets, museums, great seafood and a unique architectural heritage. Visitors to the island include blue whale, dolphin, sea lion, marine otter and Humboldt penguin.
Santiago & Winelands: Santiago is one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas. It boasts some of Latin America’s most modern transportation infrastructure, including a metro system. Set in a valley with a mild Mediterranean climate, the city’s charm is found in its old quarter, Spanish colonial churches, Europeanstyle districts, gardens and government palaces. Chile’s famous wine estates are nearby. This region is the center of a wine-growing tradition dating back to the mid-16th century. Many historic wine estates remain family-run, and several wine estates have accommodations and guest facilities.
Suggested Chile Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Santiago, Chile
The city’s old quarter, European-style districts, Spanish colonial churches and gardens offer great charm.
Day 2: Santiago/Winelands
Chile’s noted vineyards are the center of a thriving wine-growing region dating back generations.
Day 3: Winelands/Santiago
Santiago is one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas.
Day 4: Santiago/Punta Arenas/Patagonia
Patagonia is a vast region of staggering natural beauty at the southernmost tip of South America.
Days 5/7: Patagonia
Rugged granite peaks, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls offer adventure activities from mountaineering to kayaking.
Day 8: Punta Arenas/Santiago/Depart
Custom Travel Options
Atacama Desert (4 days)
In this rugged wilderness, adventurers can explore primitive desert landscapes and a 12th-century Indian fortress.
Easter Island (5 days)
The island is among the handful of places in the world that remains part fact and part legend.
Isla Negra, Valparaiso & Viña del Mar (1 day)
Isla Negra is a family resort, Valparaiso is a 500-year-old port, and Viña del Mar was first developed in the 1870s.
Northern Chile (4-7 days)
Largely untouched by tourism, this unusual area offers horseback riding adventures “to the roof of the Andes,” ancient rock art and even a winery visit.
Patagonian Cruises (4-7 days)
Cruises travel through the utterly compelling Patagonian Ice Fields.
Pucon and Villarica (3 days)
Towering mountains, spectacular volcanoes and age-old forests beckon while Pucon is a fashionable resort area.
Puerto Varas & Chiloe Island (3 days)
In southern Chile, Puerto Varas is known for its strong German flavor; and Chiloe Island for distinctive culture.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $500 - $1,200 per day.