Chile

Ranging from the hot and dry Atacama Desert in the north all the way to the cold and windy Tierra del Fuego on the doorstep of Antarctica, Chile’s landscapes include jungles, mountain peaks, glaciers, rolling winelands and deserts.

Chile is famous for politics, delicious new world wines and some of the most dramatic landscapes you will encounter anywhere in the world. From the world’s driest desert in the north, The Atacama, to the dramatic granite massifs in the Torres Del Paine National Park in the south, Chile offers something to wonder at even to the most well travelled.

Patagonia, deep in the South, is home to the Torres Del Paine National Park. The landscape is dramatic and overpowering, with massive granite cliffs that soar into clear blue skies and rise out of crystal blue and green lakes. A UNESCO World Biosphere, this National Park offers some fabulous trekking and horse riding. Keep heading south and you can board the Terra Australis. This is a luxury cruise liner that navigates the straits of Magellan and Beagle Channel travelling east to Ushuaia in Argentina. The journey takes in nine glaciers, virgin forests, lakes and flora and fauna in one of the most remote and pristine areas in the world.

One of the most stunning journeys in the whole South American continent is The Andean Lake Crossing. This spectacular crossing of the Andes takes you through lakes and mountain passes from Puerto Varas in Chile to Bariloche in Argentina. You will be able to wallow in the imposing sights of Osomo Volcanoes which has the continent’s 3rd largest lake as a backdrop.

In total contrast to the green lushness of the Andean Alps is the world renowned Atacama Desert. It is truly desolate. San Pedro de Atacama makes a good base for excursions to the Valle de la Luna with its bizarre desert landscape and the El Tatio geysers, the world’s highest at over 4000 metres. For a city adventure head to Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003 and the most striking city in Chile. It is filled with delightful examples of colonial and Victorian architecture and has lots of imposing monuments and squares.

Not on the main continent but belonging to Chile is Easter Island otherwise known as Rapa Nui. Situated in the Pacific Ocean just south of the Tropic of Capricorn it is one of the most isolated places on earth. It is thought that it was originally colonised by the Polynesians and the island’s most unique features are the huge stone figures called maoi. These can stand up to 10 metres tall and rest on ceremonial altars.

This unique shape gives Chile a widely varied climate and terrain, and contributes much to the incredible natural diversity that makes the country so attractive to tourists.

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