Chile offers stunning landscapes from the Atacama desert in the north, the towering Andes running the length of the country down to the granite peaks in Torres del Paine National Park. This varied landscape offers a many adventure activities ranging from strenuous multi day hikes to soft adventure suitable for all travellers.
In addition to the natural landscapes, bustling capital city of Santiago and archaeological wonders of Easter Island are key highlights. World famous Chilean wines produced in the rolling central and coastal valleys are an added bonus to a country with such a vast array of topography. The Southern Lakes district and Northern Patagonia also offer memorable travel experiences.
Did You Know…that Easter Island is the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle?
Chile Destination Highlights
~We recommend 3-5 days to experience the Atacama Desert~
The driest desert in the world, the Atacama, covers much of Chile’s northern territory. The small desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, with incredible views of Licancabur Volcano, is only a short flight and transfer from Santiago and is the ideal base for exploring the region.
The town offers basic but comfortable hotels to high end luxury hotel and spa resorts with gourmet meals and all guided excursions included.
See the sun set and the moon rise over the famous Moon Valley, visit the Atacama Salt Flat and float in a salt pool, see the sun rise over El Tatio Geyser, and relax in the Puritama hot springs. This desert oasis can easily be combined with the Uyuni Salt Flats across the border in Bolivia.
~We recommend 2 days in Santiago~
Chile’s capital is surrounded by mountains with the towering Andes providing spectacular views to the east and the coastal mountain range wrapping around the western side of the city. It is the gateway to skiing in South America’s best Andes resorts and also to the nearby wine regions producing affordable wines with outstanding quality.
Over a third of the countries inhabitants live in Santiago and there are fantastic restaurants, an historic city centre and some world class museums for those wanting to fully explore.
Most flights to South America from Australia stop in Santiago, adding a few days to your itinerary to explore with our 3 day Santiago at a Glance program is a great option.
Chilean Lakes & Rivers Districts
~We recommend 2-5 days in the Lakes & Rivers Districts~
The Lakes District, which includes the magical island of Chiloe, is a short flight south from Santiago and comprises a large region of the country. For those wanting just a taste, our Andes Lake Crossing or Chiloe Escape programs are fantastic introductions.
However, for more adventurous travellers, we highly recommend a self-drive holiday through the region from lake to lake visiting the many National Parks, natural reserves, and small towns the populate this stunning part of the country. Some of our favourite highlights include Puyehue National Park and Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. We will arrange everything – all you need is an adventurous spirit!
~We recommend 4-10 days in Chilean Patagonia~
The region of Patagonia covers the bottom third of both Chile and Argentina and features national parks, glaciers, stunning lakes, multi day treks and simple half day walks for those that prefer to explore the outdoors. See our Ultimate Patagonia Itinerary for a taste of the highlights and most well known National Parks in Patagonia including Torres del Paine National Park.
Similar to the Lakes & Rivers regions above, northern Patagonia and the region of Aysen provide incredible adventures for those with an intrepid spirit and interested in a self drive itinerary. The famous Careterra Austral winds through this remote region providing endless opportunities for trekking, walking and observing the range of wildlife and scenery that gives Patagonia it’s magic.
Central Chile – Wine Region & Valparaiso
~We recommend 2-3 days in this area~
Chile is very well known for its incredible wine and provides some fantastic opportunities for exploring a range of valleys that produce some of the country’s best. Unlike Australia’s cellar doors, most wineries in Chile are not open to the public.
We can arrange visits and guides and highly recommend combining any visit to wineries with a night in nearby Valparaiso – the coastal hillside city only an hour from Santiago. Visit Pablo Neruda’s Valparaiso home, tour the colonial city centre, and eat some of the best empanadas the country has to offer. Cerro Concepcion is one of the best preserved hillside communities and provides insight into how locals live on these steep hills utilising ‘funiculares‘, or elevators, across the city.
~We recommend 4-5 days in Easter Island~
Easter Island is the most isolated island on earth with its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This UNESCO World Heritage site of Outstanding Universal Value is home to a culture whose origins and evolution are still largely unknown, but believed to have developed over the centuries from 1,200 years ago. Famous for the Moai statues scattered around the island, there is more to the island than that.
Our Magic of Easter Island tour explores one of the most unique places on the planet; it is an open air museum, showcasing a fascinating culture and history. The Rapa Nui are some of the friendliest people and the landscape is truly incredible – volcanic craters, lava formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites all add to the fascination of Easter Island.