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 even the most well travelled something to wonder at. There is a myth that Chile comprises everything that God had left over.
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. With its drama and sharp contrasting colours, it is also a photographer’s paradise. Parque Nacional Bernardo O’Higgins permits the visitor to take a boat trip to the glaciers at the bottom of one of the planet’s largest non-polar ice fields.
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. If lucky, you might also capture a glimpse of the last of the Yamanas Indians, now virtually extinct. One thing is for sure you will definitely see lots of penguins, sea lions and whales.
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.
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. The imposing falls at Petrohue are worth a visit. For nature lovers, the ecological village of Peulla is a must see.
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 which is a bizarre desert landscape and the El Tatio geysers at over 4000 metres, the world’s highest, are also worth a visit.
For a city adventure head to Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003, this historic port is 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. 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. These are iconic images that will last a lifetime.