Squashed between the gargantuan Andes and the Pacific, magical Chile is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Unique and spectacular, this country is a surreal outdoor playground for adventure lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s almost impossible to believe that this narrow undulating stretch of land, neighboring Argentina and Bolivia to the east and Peru to the north, is home to almost all nature’s gifts.
The landscape embraces incredible peaks, glacial wilderness, lakes, volcanoes, salt flats, beaches, and a desert, in the most natural way and without making too much of a fuss about this. Not to mention that to the south, there’s nothing else but the ocean and majestic Antarctica! The moment you find out you can climb atop a snow-capped mountain, bathe in a thermal spring, and stargaze in the desert, all in the same day, you start to realize that Chile is indeed magical!
Discover the vibrant Santiago and the poetic Valparaiso
The best place to start your immersion into this land of magic and awe is Santiago, the country’s capital. You won’t need more than a day or two to discover the city. Stroll around the town center, admire the superb neoclassical La Moneda Palace and then enjoy the silence inside the Catedral Metropolitana. For a splendid view of the city hike atop Cerro San Cristobal where you’ll be welcomed by an impressive statue of the Virgin Mary.
The nearby port of Valparaiso should also be added to your itinerary. An atmospheric port city, Valparaiso is a maze of narrow streets and brightly colored houses perched almost dangerously on many sinuous hills. Pablo Neruda has drawn his inspiration from the streets of Valparaiso and his home, La Sebastiana, invites visitors to discover his private universe.
Hike the Andes and discover Patagonia’s wilderness
Santiago and Valparaiso are enchanting and interesting but travelers who hop on a flight to Chile come here for the fabulous outdoor experiences. The real Chile awaits in the forests, on the peaks, in the lakes, and in the ocean. There’s nothing humanity can do to match the surreal landscapes of Chile. It’s enough to visit the beautiful Torres del Paine Park and you’ll discover the magic of Chile.
Avid hikers are eager to conquer the W-trek, for a taste of Patagonia’s wilderness, but if you’re just a valiant beginner, you can settle for a trek to the base of the Torres easy to achieve in one day. The hike rewards travelers with a superb view of a glacial lake guarded by the piercing peaks of the Torres. For a different point of view of the peak and a glance at the incredibly turquoise Lake Pehoe, enjoy a three-hour walk around Las Cornisas. Eager to see a glacier up close? Take a boat trip to the Grey Glacier and, if you think you’re ready, you can even go for an ice hike to the top.
Meet the penguins and admire the vast nothingness of a desert
If you visit Chile’s southernmost city, Punta Arenas, you’ll find the gateway to Antarctica and its spectacular scenery. Book a tour into the world’s last undiscovered wilderness and mingle with the penguins while admiring majestic icebergs and experience the exhilarating remoteness of Antarctica. Isla Magdalena is home to no less than 60,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins, while Parque Pinguino Rey is ruled by eight king penguins.
Climb down from the peaks of Andes and feel the burning sand between your toes in the desert. A land of contrasts, Chile is home to the world’s driest desert. The rain hasn’t visited some of its areas for more than 400 years but the desert still creates a spectacular scenery dotted with volcanoes and salt flats.
Explore the Lake District and meet a moai
A fabulous playground for outdoorsy people, Chile’s Lake District is ideal for hikes. The region is home to emerald lakes glittering at the foot of conical volcanoes and infinite forests dipped in the perfume of millennia-old pines. The Llanada Grande Valley is perfect for fishing and a variety of family-friendly activities, while Pumalin Park invites hikers to explore the lush rainforests of Patagonia.If you’re eager to meet a moai, it’s time to fly out to Easter Island. A precious part of Chile, Easter Island is the land of the worldwide famous stone statues known as moais. Take your time and stare as much as you want at the grandiose and phenomenal statues. No one knows how and why these 300 statues were made so go ahead and come up with your own theories. Imagination keeps the world going!