Chile at a glance
Chile’s unusual ribbon-like shape – 4,300km long and on average 175km wide – has given it a hugely varied climate. This ranges from the world’s driest desert – the Atacama – in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south, with glaciers, fjords and lakes. It is a country of unusual natural beauty, worth exploring in-depth, on its own, or in combination with Argentina, Peru, and/or Bolivia.
Politically, Chile has been different from the other Latin American nations, who have suffered long histories of military coups and oppressive regimes. The dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet stretched from 1973 until 1990, but this controversial period was an exception rather than the norm for Chile, which today is a beacon of stability and prosperity for the region.
What not to miss in
Santiago de Chile
Santiago is the country’s cultural, commercial, industrial and political center. It’s a cosmopolitan city with ample restaurants, bars, hotels, and shopping from tiny boutique and craft fairs to giant shopping malls.
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is both an oasis in the desert and a gateway to discover its magic. This quiet and peaceful pre-Incan town, set amidst the driest desert on the planet, is one of northern Chile’s most popular destinations.
Torres del Paine
Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978, the Torres del Paine National Park is internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful, unique and uncontaminated places on the planet. It’s a land of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, forests and incredible wildlife.
Puerto Varas is a charming city on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. Enjoy spectacular views across the lake at majestic snow-capped volcanoes, surrounded by native forest abound, as well as countless options for exploring the surrounding countryside adorned with picture-perfect German settler farms.
Chile’s Lake District is famous for its spectacular scenery of deep blue mountain lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, pristine forests, popular resorts, year-round sports, and traditional folklore, handicrafts and legends.
Chiloe is South America’s largest island, and offers varying attractions to visitors such as sea kayaking, walking, fishing, plus a rich mythology of legends and sea monsters, buildings on stilts at the water’s edge (called palafitos), and colorful wooden churches.