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Top Chile


Wedged between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the best-known fact about Chile is its wholly improbable shape. Stretching 4,000 km (2,500 mi) south from the base of Peru right to the tip of the continent, it has almost three times as much coastline as its neighbor, yet only half the total landmass.
As you might expect of such a country, Chile features enormous extremes in its landscape. The very north of the country is occupied by the world’s driest desert, some parts of which have never felt a drop of rain, while deep in the south, the ice fields of Tierra del Fuego stretch out into the distance like giant floating boulders. In between, more hospitable terrain greets visitors; palm-fringed sandy beaches and well-developed ski resorts can be reached in a couple of hours from Santiago and further south, the Lake District and Patagonia both feature world-class hiking. On your way down, you can stay in a comfortable hacienda in the midst of Wine Country.
In comparison to Chile’s natural wonders, its cities are something of a disappointment. Santiago certainly doesn’t have the 24-hour party reputation of other Latin capitals, and its buildings are mainly modern; frequent earthquakes have gradually claimed most of the colonial buildings here, which have since been replaced with more stable, but unattractive, concrete structures. However, they do tend to be clean and safe, with all the modern conveniences (and prices) of a European city, and are good jumping-off points for exploring the backcountry. Also,more reminiscent of Europe than Latin America is Chile’s transport system. If you have traveled in other countries on the continent, Chile’s safe, efficient and fast bus service is a joy to use – and not that expensive either. LanChile’s flights around the country are surprisingly good value considering the vast distances covered.
The best time to visit Chile depends on which areas you are planning to visit. You can visit Northern Chile all year round, although rain falls in January and February, which can occasionally make road travel difficult. Santiago and the central region is best between September and April when the smog (in Santiago) is minimal, and skies are blue.
Chileans take their holidays in January and February, so the beaches can get very crowded at this time. Ski resorts are open between June and September. For Patagonia and the Lake District, October to April is a good time – it can rain at any time of year, and falls more the further south you go.

Regardless of when you go, how you go is also essential. Camping here is more prevalent than any other Latin American country (with the possible exception of Argentina), and backpackers will find plenty of hostels but also find it hard to keep under budget in Chile. Luxury travelers may want to have a custom-made tour designed for their precise needs and interests.

02 Nov 2015

Chile's national parks: stunning natural beauty

Perito Moreno Glacier

103787The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in the southwestern part of Santa Cruz province, Argentina. When it snows high in the Patagonian Andes, the snow and ice does not ...
Boating, Trekking, Hiking, National Park
El Calafate, Argentina

Cerros de Amotape National Park

With its four different ecosystems, the Cerros de Amotape National Park, south of Tumbes, stands out as one of the finest models of an equatorial dry forest on the Pacific coast. Here\'s where you ...
National Park
Zorritos, Peru

Huascarán National Park

Established in July 1975, the spectacular Parque Nacional Huascarán is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and part of the World Heritage Trust. This area of intense natural beauty is located in the ...
National Park

Reserva Nacional de Paracas

102812Reserva Nacional de Paracas, established in 1975, protects 335,000 hectares (827,803 acres) of the Paracas Peninsula and surrounding sea. Besides being a land and marine reserve, it is also an ...
National Park

Podocarpus National Park

Podocarpus National Park is one of the jewels of Southern Ecuador and is named after the Podocarpus tree, the only native conifer in the Ecuadorian Andes. Spanning 1,462 square kilometers (564.5 sq ...
Region, National Park
Loja, Ecuador

Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary

The Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary, a half hour north of Tumbes, gives travelers access to 200 species of birds, rare mammals (such as the crab-eating raccoon and the neo-tropical otter) and ...
National Park
Tumbes, Peru

Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras

A steep, winding road leads high into the Andes, to Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras (also called Pampa Galeras Bárbara D’Achille) at 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) altitude. This reserve is home to ...
National Park
Around Nasca, Nasca, Peru

Reserva Nacional San Fernando

Reserva Nacional San Fernando is a 154,716-hectare (382,312-ac) land and sea national park near San Juan de Marcona. It has two distinct sectors. The northern part of the reserve is where the Ica and ...
National Park, Eco-Tour
Around Nasca, Nasca, Peru

Fuya Fuya

Fuya Fuya is located 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) south of Otavalo. Trails on the mountain offer straightforward climbs with spectacular views of the Lagunas de Mojanda, three pristine lakes located at ...
Hiking, National Park
Around Otavalo, Otavalo, Ecuador

El Paílón del Diablo

101290A beautiful waterfall about one kilometer (0.6 mi) off the main road from Baños to Puyo, El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil\'s Cauldron) is well worth the visit. If you ride a bike from Baños (17 ...
National Park
Around Baños, Baños, Ecuador

Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca

The 366,936-hectares (906,718-ac) Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca preserves diverse vegetation and wildlife, earning it a Ramsar desination in 2003. The altiplano landscape is punctuated ...
National Park
Colca Canyon, Peru

The best hikes in Chile

The Inca Trail

102040Characterized by rugged ascents boasting magnificent views of Andean scenery and trails that wind their way through the cloud forest and past ancient archaeological sites, the Inca Trail is perhaps ...
Hiking, Major Attraction, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru


102675Quito’s best-known tourist attraction offers some of the most spectacular and most easily accessible views of the city. There are 18 gondolas that soar up the side of Quito\'s western mountain ...
Hiking, City Park
Northern Quito, Quito, Ecuador

Four-Day Inca Trail Trek

103226To give you a better sense of what the four-day trek involves, we\'ve put together a brief day-by-day summary of the trip.Day 1Total Distance: 10 to 11 kilometers (6.2-6.8 mi) Arrive by train from ...
Hiking, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Perito Moreno Glacier

103787The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in the southwestern part of Santa Cruz province, Argentina. When it snows high in the Patagonian Andes, the snow and ice does not ...
Boating, Trekking, Hiking, National Park
El Calafate, Argentina


139954Another popular way to explore the Estero del Iberá is by hiking. Near the Reserva Provincial Iberá’s Centro de Visitantes Agua Brillante are three trails. Behind it are the Sendero del Cerrito, ...
Colonia Pellegrini, Esteros Del Iberá, Argentina

Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria

Sitting a hefty journey south of Iquitos in a flooded rainforest between the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers, Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria is the largest and one of the best conserved protected areas ...
Hiking, Trekking, Birdwatching
Iquitos, Peru

The Lost City Hike / Ciudad Perdida Hike

137498 Treks to Teyuna (or Ciudad Perdida) combine the opportunity to see some of Colombia’s natural beauty with a fascinating insight into the ancient indigenous Tayrona culture. Usually a five-day ...

Hiking around Cuicocha Lake

The hike around Cuicocha Lake can be completed anywhere between 3.5 and 5 hours, depending on your general level of fitness. Most people head off around the lake anticlockwise from the restaurant. Be ...
Cuicocha Lake, Around Otavalo, Otavalo, Ecuador

Volcano Osorno

122637Volcano Osorno, elevation 2652 meters (8701 feet), is located on the northeast end of Lake Llanquihue, 51 kilometers from Puerto Varas. The pristine drive along the lake eventually leads into the ...
Puerto Varas, Chile

Valley of the Volcanoes

Characterized by an unearthly, ostensibly endless lava field dominated by the majestic snow-capped peaks of Coropuna and Escríbano, the Valley of the Volcanoes (Santuario Nacional Valle de los ...
Hiking, Trekking, Climbing
Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon Trekking

Colca Canyon has a good range of trekking opportunities, from easy day hikes to longer, more intense treks in and around the canyon.One of the most popular treks—and one done on most ...
Hiking, Trekking, Climbing
Colca Canyon, Peru

Incredible islands of Chile

Easter Island

121776Abandoned in the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from the Chilean mainland, is Easter Island, famous for its wondrous Moai sculptures and ancient cultural celebrations. It was so called because the ...

Navarino Island

105104Isla Navarino is a small island in the Beagle Channel, off Tierra Del Fuego, and is home to the southernmost city in the world, Puerto Williams (in spite of Ushaia's competing claims to that title). ...


101764Just off the coast of the Carretera Austral sits Chiloé. Chiloé is made up of nearly 100 islands, of which only 30 or so are inhabited. Modern development is slowly starting to filter through to ...
View Chile Map

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