Chile is a land of extremes, stretching more than 4,000km from north to south and only 180km across at its widest point. This incredible range of latitudes has given Chile an equally impressive diversity of landscapes. But it can also make it tricky to know when is the best time to go to Chile. And which places should you visit while you are there?
The Atacama Desert in the far north is the most arid place on earth. It is a surreal landscape of salt flats, hot springs and geysers. A place with prolific wildlife despite seeming so inhospitable. From pink flamingos to cute vizcachas and the doe-eyed vicuña, related to the llama. If you’re into trekking, biking or volcano-climbing, this is the destination for you. But equally, Atacama offers soft adventure options, making it accessible to everyone regardless of age, interests or fitness level.
The fertile central region is home to the capital, Santiago, as well as the country’s premier wine valleys. Visit a vineyard on a day tour, by bicycle or with an overnight stay at one of the region’s excellent wine lodges. Afterwards, why not head to the coast and explore the colourful port city of Valparaiso.
The Valdivian forests of the northern Patagonian Lake District, boast crystalline lakes and snow-capped volcanoes. Whereas, the southern Patagonian region contains some of the most dramatic scenery on the continent including fjords, glaciers and the iconic Torres del Paine National Park.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is located almost 4,000km off the Pacific Coast and has a distinctive Polynesian culture and traditions. Visit during the fascinating Tapati festival to experience this vibrant culture at its most colourful and entertaining.
– Santiago is roughly the same latitude as Sydney and experiences sunny, dry summers and cold winters.
– The Atacama Desert has warm days and cooler nights all year round; prices rise over the summer months and are generally at their lowest during the Southern Hemisphere winter.
– The southern hemisphere summer is the peak season for Patagonia.
– Visit the stunning vineyards surrounding Santiago for a taste of Chile’s signature variety, the famous Carmenere. Stay in one of the region’s luxury lodges for the ultimate indulgence.
– Roll up your sleeves and discover the art of making empanadas and the classic pisco sour cocktail at a culinary class in Santiago.
– Learn about the culture and traditions of the indigenous Mapuche people and overnight in a traditional Mapuche hut.
– Enjoy some of the best star-gazing on the planet and visit an observatory in San Pedro de Atacama.
– Get off the beaten track, away from the maddening crowds and explore some of the brand new Patagonia National Park.