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

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.

Lake District

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 Island

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.

What you need


Tap water in Chile is generally safe to drink, however bottled water is usually tastier, safer and not too expensive. If you visit the lakes in the south, it is best not to drink water from the streams and lakes; though fresh, it may cause stomachaches and diarrhea. Regarding food, in general there are no serious problems with hygiene in Chile. Nevertheless, it’s wise not to consume seafood and raw vegetables in the north near the border with Bolivia. In the high regions that surpass 2500m above sea level, the lack of oxygen and atmospheric pressure may cause headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and physical weakness in some people. The body should adapt to this situation after a couple of days, but if the discomfort continues you should descend in altitude.

Spring (late September to early December) and autumn (March to June) are great times to witness the changes in the wonderful natural scenery Chile has to offer. Both seasons offer pleasant weather and tourist areas tend to be quieter. Due to the climatic extremes in Chile, the far north and south of the country are best enjoyed during the spring and autumn months. High season in Chile is during the summer from December 15th to the end of February, as well as Holy Week and the middle two weeks of July. Popular resort towns such as Pucon or Viña del Mar are very busy during these times of the year and some hotels will raise prices during high season.

Chileans love kids, and family-friendly lodging and kid’s specials are the rule, not the exception. Many hotels feature playgrounds, swimming pools, childcare, and attached rooms or space for additional beds. Chile is safe and traveling within the country is easy and comfortable, which makes it a great country to travel, even with young kids.

As distances between cities are big, flying is the best way to get around. A LAN Chile travel pass can reduce the cost of flying. Another easy and fun way to get around is by renting a car, a popular choice for travelers looking to get the most out of their vacation. If you are planning to visit multiple destinations, fly-drives are the best option: use your rental car in the region you are visiting, return it, fly to your next destination and have another car waiting for you upon arrival. Rentals may be limited to a specific region, which makes fly-drives even more logical.


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