Due to its geographical layout, a holiday in Chile can have it all. It is long and thin so any holiday to Chile will involve a certain amount of flying, but the rewards are limitless. If you have the time you can do it all in one visit, but we would recommend 3 to 4 weeks of travelling in Chile to accomplish this.
If time is limited, then pick your areas well and perhaps consider combining it with a holiday in Argentina. The Atacama Desert in the far north can be combined with Salta and the north west of Argentina, whilst Chile Patagonia can be combined with El Calafate and Bariloche in Argentina.
To help you plan a holiday in Chile, here is our brief guide to the main areas of the country;
Its capital is Santiago, which although nice enough is really an entrance and exit city and we would recommend spending time either at the beginning or end of your holiday in Chile in either Valparaiso or the Chilean wine valleys. Both are located a 2 hour drive away from the airport and the UNESCO town of Valparaiso with its multi coloured houses is certainly worth a couple of nights. The Chilean wine valleys are probably worth 3 nights as not only are the wines world class, but it is also a great way to have some down time at the end of your holiday in Chile.
The far north contains the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert. This part of your holiday in Chile will involve soaking in hot springs, driving across salt flats, watching geysers explode with the early morning sun, horse riding, walking across lunar like landscapes and all in the shadows of towering 6,000 metre volcanoes. It is an area where you can be as active as you wish, though to see the spectacular scenery you should expect some long drives.
Off its coastline is the mysterious Easter Island. It is nearly 3,700 km away from Santiago and as such it is a place where few people get to. This tiny island is covered in nearly 900 Moai statutes, some of which have to be seen to be believed as they were built at a time when the wheel did not exist. 3 nights is about right for being on the island and if you have had enough of Moai searching, then island also has a couple of superb beaches.
Heading south from Santiago you land in The Lake District of Chile. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and where you will find Azul blue lakes backed by snow-capped volcanoes and as well as high Andean peaks. The Lake District of Chile can be what you want it to be and by this we mean if you want to trek for 8 hours, no problem, if you want to uncover the history of the Mapuche people, no problem, see colonial towns with colourful markets, no problem!
Where Chile ends is where the Andes meet the Pacific and the mystical Tierra del Fuego is located and where no holiday in Chile’s Patagonia is complete without visiting. The first Europeans came upon it in Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition of 1520 and it has lost none of its allure since. The land here is incredible and within it lies the best national park in South America; Torres del Paine. At the centre of the park is a massif containing lakes from glacial run off and a rock formation of both granite and basalt. Over the years the extreme weather has carved some of the most beautiful peaks, which you have to see to believe and where you will find some of the best trekking in the whole of South America.
Don’t think, just go. A holiday to Chile is one that you will remember forever, so make sure you do it the right way. The Latin Odyssey team have been there many times, so let us help you create your holiday of a lifetime.