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Stretching from dry, dusty desert to ice-cold glaciers, this 4,270-kilometre (2,653-mile) long, thin country boasts plenty of outstandingly beautiful places. Becoming more and more attractive to travellers, this country has been on adventure travellers’ bucket lists for years. Discover the best destinations to visit in 2018.
The towering peaks of the Torres are the perfect reward after a tough hike. With jade-green glacial waters, you really couldn’t make its stunning beauty up. Photos make this natural masterpiece look incredible, but you really have to see its sheer size for yourself.
With views that are reminiscent of a scene out of a sci-fi film, this beautiful landscape can be found in the north of Chile. It’s a perfect holiday destination, where you can let the warmth of the thermal baths soothe you, awe at the spurting geysers and watch as some of the world’s most colourful sunsets develop into a celestial sky.
The country’s capital, Santiago, is centred perfectly between the Andes and the Pacific, offering weekends away in the mountains or by the coast. The city has has a rather dark history from the time of the Pinochet dictatorship, but now expresses itself through street art, tradition and culture. Why not time your visit to coincide with the September 18 Fiestas Patrias celebrations?
A stomping ground for the poet Pablo Neruda and visual artists alike, this coastal city gives Santiago a run for its money with brimming culture, eye-catching street art and an ever-increasing size. Admire the colourful houses that hang off each other artistically, and marvel at how they are all still intact after so many earthquakes.
Chile’s not short of vineyards, nor valleys where wine is made. In fact, most of the countryside surrounding Santiago is lined with blossoming vines, which are used to create some of the finest wines in the world. Why not try a tipple of Carménère, Syrah and Pinot Noir, accompanied by some fine Chilean cuisine cooked with local meat, fish and veg?
As you venture down to the south of Chile, you will encounter the German influence, as well as Mapuche traditions. Chiloe, in particular, is an island where, due to its isolation, life still continues much as it did in the past. If you’re lucky to witness a minga celebration, you might be lucky enough to taste the explosive flavour of a curanto as well.
Visit this sublime area of Chile, where the national drink, Pisco, is made. You can take a tour around the distillery and taste the product, as well as enjoying great trekking and other outdoor activities. It’s not far from La Serena, so you can combine your trip with a stop off at Isla Damas, where you can spot penguins on one of the many sandy beaches.
Embark on a road trip or a journey by bicycle along this famous route, stopping at the marvellous marble caves that can be found on the General Carrera Lake. As you whizz over the glacial lakes by boat towards the caves, you will notice the incredible tranquillity. These stunning natural caves really are photogenic, with the swirling patterns of the caves’ walls standing out against the azure blue lake.
This is the island of magic, where moai statues are there to protect you. Discover the enchanting history and the traditions of Rapa Nui, lounge on the pristine white beaches and bathe in the warm, crystal-clear sea, where you can enjoy some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world.
Tierra del Fuego means ‘the end of the world’, and the main inhabitants down here are the colonies of Magellanic and Humboldt penguins. Nature and wildlife enthusiasts love the incredible scenery that comes hand in hand with animal spotting; keep an eye out for humpback whales, sea lions and dolphins.
Located near to the border with Peru and Bolivia are the snowcapped, rumbling volcanoes Pomerape and Parinacota. The park is rich with flora and fauna as well as grazing wildlife. You can spot flamingoes, llamas, rheas and alpacas mincing around this spectacular park.
The Chilean lake district is another place that is not short of great treks worthy of a day’s exploring. From waterfalls to dense forest, gurgling volcanoes and quaint country villages, you really will feel in the heart of Chile. Take a boat ride around one of the many lakes that offer a great angle of the surrounding volcanoes.
A perfect day trip to escape bustling Santiago, at the stunning Embalse el Yeso the turquoise waters shine, providing a mirror for the looming mountains. You can relax in one of three natural hot springs in the area.
Pucon is an outdoor enthusiasts’ heaven. You can climb the Villarrica Volcano, white-water raft on boisterous rapids, gallop through the valleys on horses, go canyoning, hike through the surrounding national parks and once you’ve completed all these, sit back and relax in the steamy thermal baths.
Portillo is South America’s oldest ski resort, with an iconic yellow building that is easily noticeable from all around the resort. Discover the pistes and ski on the well-groomed terrain, or if you’re feeling adventurous, explore some of the endless off-piste runs.