As one of the narrowest countries on the planet, Chile is packed with diverse landscapes and varying climates. The South American nation registers a total length of 2,690 miles (4,329 kilometers) and is home to arid deserts, glacier-carved national parks, sun-kissed coastal towns, and the cosmopolitan capital, Santiago de Chile. Here are the top 5 experiences waiting for you in Chile.
The Atacama Desert is considered the driest desert in the world. This arid and cool desert provides a landscape of sand dunes, salt flats, blue lagoons, hot springs, canyons, and geysers. Major draws include the opportunity to witness wild Chilean flamingos at Los Flamencos National Reserve and stargaze at Valle de la Luna (the Valley of the Moon).
Journey to Parque Nacional Lauca in the northeast to see the high-altitude Chungará Lake as well as the Parinacota, Pomerape, and Acotado volcanoes.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Located in Southern Chile’s Patagonia region, the cinematographic Torres Del Paine National Park is a region of mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rare wildlife species. Hiking is top of the agenda in Chilean Patagonia with other tourist attractions including cruises through the fjords to reach Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of the continent.
Torres Del Paine is awash with luxury lodges and resorts such as Tierra Patagonia that adhere to eco-friendly principles.
Santiago de Chile
Bursting with cultural attractions, plazas, museums, and markets, Chile’s largest city is the perfect place to start and conclude your Chilean vacation. Pore over pre-Columbian art works at Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino and connect with Chile’s shocking recent history at Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos. Walk or take the funicular up to the summit of Parque Metropolitano (Cerro San Cristobal) for a perspective of the city surrounded by the Andes mountains.
Conclude your exploration with a Pisco Sour at one of Santiago’s sleek cocktail bars such as Red2One at the W Santiago.
Chile’s long coastline is awash with golden beaches and laid-back towns. Located on the north coast, Valparaíso, the “Jewel of the Pacific,” is one of Chile’s favorite seaside towns. The city comprises a myriad of artistic streets, colonial architecture, cafes, and galleries spread across steep hills that are accessible via vintage funiculars.
Further north, La Serena is one of the leading beach destinations with a long stretch of sand and views over the Pacific Ocean. The city overflows with churches, lush gardens, and museums and is an excellent base for planning a day trip to Elqui Valley where Chile’s emblematic brandy, Pisco, is produced.
Chilean Food and Wine
Chilean cuisine is as varied as the scenery. Look forward to a typical Chilean barbecue (asado), the soupy stew Cazuela, and the hearty Pastel de Choclo – a baked casserole comprising corn and meat. Seafood steals the show with such specialites as Ceviche (raw fish “cooked” in lemon juice) and machas la parmesana (oven-baked clams coated with a thick layer of cheese).
Chile is one of the world’s greatest wine destinations. The vineyards of the Central Valley produce reds, whites, and sparkling varieties that pair perfectly with Chilean gastronomy. Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is the most well-known variety however visitors who favor reds should sample a velvety Carménère. Although it originated in France, Carménère is now almost solely crafted in Chile. Meanwhile, you can wash down the seafood with a full-bodied Chilean Chardonnay or a crisp and fruity Sauvignon Blanc.
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