With jaw-dropping geography, top-notch wine production, envious infrastructure and world-class guides, the question travelers should ask themselves is not ‘why travel to Chile’ but instead ‘when.’
Running almost 2700 miles (4350 KM) from north to south along the Pacific coast of South America, Chile is one of the longest (and narrowest) countries in the world. As slender as it may be, the Andean nation is brimming with national parks (105 to be exact), UNESCO Biosphere reserves (10), and marine parks (42% of the Chilean coastline is protected). So it should come as no surprise that Chile is ideal for nature lovers and adventure junkies.
Marked by ice glaciers in the south near Antarctica, fire color Andes Mountains range in the north, and driest desert in the world, the nation’s varied landscapes invite us to discover why traveling to Chile is a must for the passionate traveler.
Land Based Adventure Activities
Looking to fit some adrenaline into your Chile travels? Depending on each traveler’s preferred pace and abilities, outdoor adventure activities allow us to experience the natural bounty of a destination in a unique and thrilling way. Paired with an expert guide and/or instructor, travelers can be ensured of their safety as well as the planet’s thanks to our connections with eco-visionaries and environmentally conscious locals.
For those who hear the call of the mountains, the Torres del Paine National Park is paradise for hiking. The unique granite mountain peaks tease trekkers who come from all over the world to experience the strenuous yet rewarding ascent. The full circuit takes approximately 8 days of hiking and takes hikers past lakes, glaciers and lush hills.
Traverse Chile on two wheels or by horseback to up the pace. Mountain bike across the Atacama desert, traversing vast stretches of sand and salt flats, or feast your eyes on exotic vegetation and rich colors in Puerto Natales. Meanwhile, few internal borders make horseback riding in Chile a seemingly infinite experience, whether it’s through the world’s driest desert or around the snow-capped Andes that surround the capital city of Santiago.
Escapades by Sea and Glaciers
By surface, it is estimated that some 80% of South America’s glaciers rest in Chile—a perplexing fact to many travelers who have yet to travel to Chile. Keep in mind however that Chile runs to the southernmost tip of the continent, and includes the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. An overnight kayak trip in Patagonia is a unique way to experience Chile’s wild side. Supported and led by an expert guide, tourists will navigate the frigid waters to gain an unmatched perspective of the crystalline ice formations. As well, don’t miss out on fly fishing opportunities in the trout-rich rivers in this area of Chile.
For those seeking warmer temperatures and challenging waves, discover prime surf spots along the northern coastline, such as in Arica and Iquique. Active groups of travelers can find a burst of energy while rafting in Chile. Feeding into the Pacific Ocean are numerous short rivers, surging forth from the Andes Mountains, that are apt for all levels.
Every now and then it’s important to slow down and sink deep into the local culture—or perhaps into a delectable bottle of local wine.
World-class whites, reds and sparkling wines can be paired with mouthwatering seafood and hearty rustic fare, upon a tasting tour of local vineyards. As well, there is no better way to discover the layered history of the fertile country’s cuisine than with a culinary class with a top national chef.
Practice active meditation by night with stargazing (try Elqui Valley and Cajón del Maipo with their almost non-existent light pollution) or by day with birdwatching. The 100+ protected natural areas have ensured that this South American destination remains a haven for winged creatures. From mountains to sea and even glaciers, the friendly song of distinct bird species (many endemic to Chile) will catch travelers’ attention and lure them to stop, listen and observe.
Lastly, entho-tourism opportunities abound in Chile, enriching one’s travel experience and building connections that perhaps would be impossible without travel. Living indigenous cultures—such as the Mapuche (renowned for their warrior spirit), Aymara (textile masters of the highlands), Easter Islands’ Rapa Nui people, and the Yagan who continue to glide across the waters surrounding Tierra del Fuego—remind us all of how beautiful it is to connect, despite cultural differences.
When to travel to Chile
Now that you have discovered your ‘why’ for traveling to Chile, take a look at the ideal times of year to travel to Chile:
•Northern and Central Chile and Easter Island: All year round
•South Chile (including the Lakes District and Patagonia): October to April
•Wine harvest: March and April
•Best waves for surfing in the north: September to November