"Scenery Galore!" Chile by mad4travel
Chile Travel Guide: 4,912 reviews and 13,636 photos
What can I say about Chile. It was fantastic.
Its a long, thin country - Chile stretches over 4,630 kilometers (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometers (265 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes.
Apparantly, is the world's 38th-largest country!
Because of its length it encompasses a wide variety of landscapes from the arid Atacama desert in the north through to the rainer Lake District in the middle and wild and windy Patagonia to the south.
Because of the range of climates its difficult to find a perfect time to visit. Summer is the best time to go because of getting better weather in Patagonia however its far from guaranteed. Visiting this time of year also means its very hot in Santiago and in the Atacama.
Still, there are some fabulouse places to go:
Visit the village of San Pedro de Atacama - once a sleepy little village but now geared up for tourists but still in a low key way (certainly no McDonalds or KFC here thank goodness)
Experience the Valley of the Moon at sunset- although don't expect to share it alone unless you are renting a 4 wheel drive or are prepared for a desert hike.
Get up very early (4am) to drive up to the El Tatio geysers (and prepare to be VERY cold. Wallow in the hot springs while you are there
Visit tradional villages with picture postcard churches and munch on some home cooked empanadas.
Check out the fish market (pooh!) and artisans market at Puerto Montt
Go for a trip on one of the many lakes flanked by snow capped volcanoes
Go to the top of a volcano for a fantastic view if the weather is good.
See the Penguin Colony outside of Puenta Arenas
Tour the Torres Del Paine National Park (and hope for good weather)
Wander the streets of Puerto Natales and go on a boat trip to a glacier
Theres lots of things to see and do. See my tips section for more....
Chile has a very European feel, being in downtown Santiago is like being in a city in Spain, once you get outside Santiago you keep running into places that remind you of other places - the Atacama reminded me of the SW USA (minus the volcanoes). The Lake District reminded me of British Columbia and Patagonia, well , I haven't been to Alaska yet, so maybe when I get there it will remind me of Patagonia!
Other things to recommend about Chile - you'll eat a lot of beef. Bad news if you are a vegetarian, its hard to avoid. Have a munch on an empanada, drink some Pisco sour (maybe not on an empty stomach!) and try the bread. Don't bother with the coffee - their idea of coffee is Nescafe- even in good restaurants, I was surprised at that considering how close they are to Brazil.
If you don't have much time then flying is your only option. LAN Chile operate a good service but be prepared for planes taking off late, no meals on domestic flights except sugar laden "Happy Boxes" and sometimes no inflight movies (they will be in spanish anyway). Sit on the mountain side of the plane and you won't need movies as you will have your own mountain and volcano scenery movie right before your eyes.
I also went to Easter Island which was fab but I've put that under a separate page.
- Pros:Fantastic scenery
- Cons:Its a long, thin country!!
- In a nutshell:More than just Volcanoes and Glaciers
Puerto Montt is a port city in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncaví Sound in the Llanquihue... more travel advice
Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile. It is 55 km south of San Pedro de Atacama, is surrounded by... more travel advice
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