Chile is a country full of beauty and contrasts, offering plenty of destinations’ choices so it could be difficult to decide where to visit, especially if it is your first time.
Your international flight will take you to Santiago, the cosmopolitan capital. We always suggest to spend at least a couple of nights here at the beginning and a last night before your international departure. Santiago is a safe, clean and modern metropolis and although not as celebrated as other South American cities like Rio or Buenos Aires, it is definitely worth a visit! Stroll through the beautiful neighbourhoods of Lastarria and Bellavista or shop in Providencia and you will know what we mean!
Other must see destinations:
Atacama Desert and Norte Chico
Fly to Calama in the country’s north and take a 2-hour transfer to San Pedro de Atacama to be stunned by the amazing landscapes of the Atacama Desert, here you will feel like you have landed on the moon! Our advice is to spend at least 3 nights to make the most of your visit and also to climatise. This desert is the world’s highest at an average altitude of 2,400 m.a.s.l. and some excursions will take you to over 4,000 m.a.s.l so we suggest to take your time when exploring and not to rush.
If you want to go off the beaten track, the north of the country offers other up and coming destinations like the Elqui Valley, a verdant valley famous for its wine and pisco production surrounded by landscapes as beautiful as the Atacama minus the number of tourists.
Torres del Paine and Southern Patagonia
If it is your first time to Chile, Torres del Paine cannot be missed! At least 3 nights here are a must, more if you can budget and timewise. It is one of our favourite places in Latin America and we ourselves have gone back several times. Its massive growth in popularity means that it can have high number of tourists so we suggest to travel in the shoulder months of September, October and March (do remember that season here runs from September to early April as it is better to avoid the Patagonian winter and most lodges close during this time).
If you can spend longer in the region, Southern Patagonia as a whole is truly astounding and there are so many possibilites! Our favourite? A self-drive through the Austral Highway must be up there with the world’s best experiences!
Lake District and Northern Patagonia
Northern Patagonia is where the landscapes are made up of verdant forests, snow capped volcanoes and glacial lakes with waters characterised by the deepest hues of blue. The tranquil lake side villages are charming and reminiscent of Alpine resorts. The most famous and visited is Puerto Varas but if you like being active on your holidays and want something a bit different, the northern part of the region around Pucon is more laid back and less touristy.
You should spend a minimum of 3 nights here or why not do a 5 to 7 days self-drive here to really get under the skin of the Los Lagos area and explore further to places like Chiloe Island?
The mystical Rapa Nui is one of those places that should be visited at least once in one’s life! Although part of Chile, the culture here is completely different as it is Polynesian rather than Latin American so if you include it in your Chilean holiday, once you land in Hanga Roa you will feel you have arrived in a completely new world. It is a beautiful place both inland and under water, however, it is not a beach destination as other South Pacific islands. The flights here can be expensive so we suggest to book as early as possible and to spend at least 4 nights.
We are here to help you craft your perfect Chile holiday and we suggest to set aside at least 2 weeks to discover the country and to travel between September to early April so you can include all destinations.