With such a diverse geography stretching from the remote Tierra del Fuego in the very south of the country to the deserts and altiplano lagoons in the very north of the country, it’s natural that Chile should have an extremely diverse culture and history too. While Santiago has, for a long time, lagged behind Buenos Aires and Rio as a cultural destination the growing number of restaurants, theatres and museums is attracting more and more people to the capital and the country is starting to make more of its cultural traditions.
Without a doubt Chile has some of the best walking available in South America, mainly due to the fact that the Andes mountain range runs right along its eastern border. From the very South to the very North of the country, there is walking to satisfy all levels and abilities.
With the new influx of high end properties in the area (see the Awasi, the Tierra and the Explora Hotels), the Rio Serrano has definitely slipped down the ranks as far as luxury is concerned but we still think it is a good option for those that are wanting some luxury but can't afford the higher price tags of the others.
Torres del Paine
Arguably the most famous park in all of South America, the Torres del Paine National Park is a true mecca for those looking to experience the rugged nature of Chile’s Patagonia and to discover some of the continent’s best hiking. Reached through the “frontier” town of Punta Arenas, the national park lies right on the border between Chile and Argentina and features, as its centerpiece, a colossal granite outcrop of epic proportions! We tend to recommend at least 3 nights to explore the area, although many of the longer walks are up to a week.
With over a third of Chile's 16 million inhabitants, Santiago is, both metaphorically and geographically, at the heart of Chile. For most it is the starting or ending point for a trip out to see some of Chile's stunning natural beauty, but, as a burgeoning city Santiago has plenty to offer those that are looking to experience what it is to be in Chile on a more day to day basis. In an era post Pinochet, Santiago, with its great dining, nightlife and simple beauty, is very much a window into modern Chile.
The Lake District
While not quite as wild as Chilean Patagonia to the south, the Sur Chico and Chile’s lake district is a region of the country that never fails to surprise and inspire those that venture here. In contrast to the other regions of Chile, Sur Chico is an area of snow capped volcanoes, pale green lakes and endless miles of virgin and ancient forest. Mixed in with this wondrous natural beauty are plenty of interesting and quirky places to lay your head or simply take it all in. For those looking for an adventure then this is the place.
Along with the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, there is no doubt that the Atacama Desert is one of the huge draws for anyone considering a trip to Chile. This vast and arid region, stretching 600 miles south from the Peruvian border, is known as one of the driest places on the planet and, it has been reported, there are regions in the Atacama that have not seen a drop of water in over 300 years! With stunning scenery, and plenty of walking to be done, this is somewhere that needs to be seen to be believed.