Chile, a beautiful and incredibly varied country - from barren desert in the north to a winter wonderland in the far south, definitely is a country of geographical extremes! Chile is indomitable and exuberant Patagonia, arid and dry Atacama as well as mystical and indecipherable Easter Island. It offers a unique combination of Pacific coastline and Andean highlands along with discoveries of distinctive cultures which have survived the chasms of recent history and welcome visitors with open arms.
Situated in the South-West of America, Chile emerges majestically and imposingly with its volcanoes, lakes, deserts, untainted glaciers and forests, all swiftly brought to the eye of the tourist who arrives at this threshold of the South of the World. Guarded by the Andes chain of mountains, the Atacama desert and the Pacific Ocean, the landscapes of Chile remain capricious and untarnished: sumptuous valleys dotted with vineyards, rapid rivers, extensive salt deserts and magnificent virgin forested peaks. And there is more. From the South Pole, which can be visited for a few weeks during the summer months, to Easter Island, lost in the immense pacific Ocean. Rapa Nui hides its mysteries in huge moai. “Te Pito Te henua (the navel of the world)”, is a fascinating open museum populated by cheery and simple people with good beaches and archaeological sites.
The extreme North is punctuated by the Atacama Desert, a world awaiting discovery. Acknowledged as the driest desert on the planet, its sands hide archaeological treasures over 10,000 years old, and one of the richest copper mines in the world. Inland, there are still small settlements of indigenous people, unchanged as centuries slide by, tarns, geysers, salt flats and a very particular wildlife. Old ports, on the coast, are gradually becoming modern cities and resorts offering visitors modern amenities together with an unchanged way of life. The majestic desert slowly gives way to cultivated valleys until the Central Valley. Here, one finds the most important vineyards, large fruit plantations and the major cities, including Santiago, the capital. One of the great attractions of this zone is the proximity of both sea and mountains. By road from Santiago, beautiful little coastal resorts are little over an hour away while the best ski resorts of the hemisphere are just forty minutes away from the capital. Further South everything turns green. Broad meadows, native forests, lakes, volcanoes and picturesque towns framed by the influence of German settlers make this one of the most attractive zones of the country. The true force of nature makes itself known in Patagonia. The surprising cold-temperate jungle with its araucaria forests give way to the Patagonian steppe while the territory fragments into tiny islands, fjords, channels, lakes and glaciers. It is one of the few places left on earth where pioneers and legends still coexist within a surreal landscape - it is the end of the world - where the Andes disappear into the sea.
Suggested Chile Discoveries
- CLASSIC TOURS - From the Atacama Desert to the Patagonian ice-fields Chile offers so many possibilities for great discoveries, soft adventure programs and cultural visits. It is like visiting the Sahara in the north, California in the center, the Alps in the mid-south and Norway in the deep south, plus some places that bear no comparison, such as Easter Island, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the Atacama Desert. Each of these areas offer something of value and has fascinated travelers for centuries. The fame of Chilean has grown tremendously over the last decade and, if you seek a gourmet experience we are sure you will agree that the bounty of sea and earth has made Chile a country to experience and enjoy.
- CRUISES - Its coastline broken into hundreds of islands, fjords and channels, the South of Chile provides a magnificent scenic backdrop for navigation and the most incredible way to discover this glacial wonder. You will be cruising right up to glaciers that front the sea for hundreds of miles. Occasionally, with a deafening crash, a huge chunk collapses and plunges into the churning water, startling the observer.
- LAKE CROSSING - One of the treasures of southern Chile, the crossing between the great heights of the Andes between Chile and Argentina, through the Todos los Santos, Frías and Nahuelhuapi lakes. Known as the Vicente Pérez Rosales International Passage, it has become a “must” for the tourist. Sail these emerald coloured waters dominated by the glorious shapes of the Osorno, Puntiagudo and Tronador volcanoes.
- EDONISTIC GET-AWAY & GOURMET TOURS - Join in gastronomic discoveries through the wine regions of Chile, sampling local favourites and learning chef’s secrets. In these programs, besides the cultural and artistic sites, we include visits to local specialty wineries as well as meals at carefully selected restaurants.
- ACTIVE TOURS - If you wish to be active in Chile be prepared for tremendous natural geography with snowcapped volcanoes, deep blue lakes, steep coastal roads, forested valleys, high Andean, glaciers and deserts of exotic landscapes and super natural light. Enjoy a host of activities from rafting, hiking, walking, trekking, canyoning, horseback riding, sea-kayaking and some of the world’s best known whitewater rafting adventures at the Bio Bio and Futalefu. There are also many areas of Chile that offer terrific terrain and conditions for mountain biking from San Pedro de Atacama in the north to the far reaches of Patagonia.
- EXPLORA PROGRAMS - Explora Lodges, guest-houses, and hotels in Patagonia, the Atacama Desert, and Easter Island combine suitable architecture with Explora’s unique experiential approach to tourism and enable luxury travel in some of this planet’s most remote regions.
- REGIONAL PROGRAMS: THE NORTH - The north of Chile is a singular landscape of solitary beaches, vast deserts and enormous perfectly conical volcanoes, where picturesque Andean villages, ruins of Precolumbian cultures and hauntingly abandoned nitrate mines live on. Here you will find tours to the enormous salt lakes, deserts, mountain ravines dotted with oases and the high Altiplano, crowned by some of the highest volcanoes in the world. This section covers the areas of ARICA, CALAMA, IQUIQUE, LA SERENA.
- REGIONAL PROGRAMS: THE CENTRE - Central Chile is the heart of the country with its largest cities, finest agricultural lands, vineyards and colonial architecture, a veritable microcosm of the country, balanced between deserts to the north and forests to the south, with the capital poised between the highest peaks in the Americas and a host of premier beach resorts. This section covers the areas of SANTIAGO, VINA DEL MAR and WINERIES.
- REGIONAL PROGRAMS: THE LAKES - Chile’s southern region of lakes and volcanoes offers an incredible mix of nature’s exuberance. Between volcanic cataclysms, glacial sculpting, torrential rivers and massive temperate rainforests, this is very much a landscape to savor and slowly visit. This region is also home to one of the most remarkable indigenous cultures in the Americas, the Mapuches. This section covers the areas of PUCON, CONCEPCION, TEMUCO, VALDIVIA, OSORNO, PUERTO MONTT, PUERTCO VARAS and CHILOE ISLAND.
- REGIONAL PROGRAMS: THE SOUTH - PATAGONIA - This immense territory is best understood as two separate regions, separated by the vast expanse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Northern Patagonia is one of the world’s last great expanses of wilderness, accessed by a gravel highway known as the Carretera Austral. Southern Patagonia, known as Magallanes, is a world apart, where the broad expanses of the pampa meet with the glacially sculpted spires of the Andes. This section covers the areas of COIHAIQUE, PUERTO NATALES, TORRES DEL PAINE and PUNTA ARENAS.
- CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS - As specialists on this destination, we can prepare “the” specific itinerary you desire with the exact services you need. If you would like to have “your own” itinerary, contact us and advise us of all your requirements