Running along the spine of South America, Chile stretches over 4,300 kilometres from north to south, yet is just 350 kilometres across at its widest point.
The country is blessed with a landscape of extremes, from the driest of deserts to snow-dusted mountains and enormous bright-blue glaciers. Holidays to Chile manage to squeeze a huge variety of activities into a small timeframe, including tours of lush vineyards in the Central Valley and the dramatic granite columns of the Torres del Paine National Park. Its cosmopolitan capital, Santiago, lies amid one of the most fertile wine-producing regions the world has to offer and is full of colonial charm and a Mediterranean feel. Wine tastings can be undertaken on day trips from Santiago or as part of a longer stay.
Alternatively, travellers can continue south towards the Lake District, where waterfalls and hot springs glitter invitingly, reflecting the spotless white peaks of the Andes. A visit to Chile isn’t quite complete without a stay in beautiful Chilean Patagonia, with time spent exploring the Torres del Paine National Park. Here, the vast granite towers which give the park its name plunge into dramatic valleys, surrounded by waterfalls, glaciers and lakes.
In complete contrast, Chile holidays could also visit the Atacama Desert, thousands of kilometres away from the glacial south in the north of the country. At its most ethereal during sunrise and sunset, the Atacama Desert is a photographer’s dream and at certain times the earth and sky appear to turn burnished gold and crimson, depending on the height of the sun. The lunar-like landscape is peppered with geysers and salt flats, and the region is a stargazing hotspot.
With Easter Island a mere six hours from Santiago by air, you can see why many include the otherworldly destination on a holiday to Chile.
Set in the vast Pacific Ocean some 3,200 kilometres off the coast, the island is one of the most isolated places on Earth and home to the Moai statues who silently guard the island’s coastline.
To get a well-rounded view of everything Chile has to offer, it’s best to set aside a few weeks to get under the skin of this incredibly rewarding country.
Balance time in sophisticated Santiago and the indulgent Winelands with back-to-nature stays in Patagonia, the Atacama Desert and the Lake District.
If you’re blessed with time to spare, the addition of Easter Island and the chance to meet the Moai and the island’s Rapa Nui people is not to be missed.