If the closest you’ve come to Chile is a nice bottle of red from the supermarket, it may be time to explore this diverse country.
Chile is tall and skinny, 2,700 miles long and squeezed between the Pacific and the Andes. It stretches from desert to Mediterranean climes to the frozen landscapes of Antarctica.
Travel insurance to cover personal possessions, medical emergencies, delays and cancellations can be booked before setting off.
Here are 7 great reasons to visit Chile:
- The skies are some of the clearest in the Southern Hemisphere, with an average of 340 completely cloudless nights every year. Stargazers can follow a special tourist route from one observatory to the next.
- The mysterious and fascinating Atacama Desert is the most arid on the planet, and other must-sees include a visit at sunrise to the Tatio Geysers, 4,300m high up in the northern mountains.
- Wine enthusiasts are catered for with vineyard tours, tastings, demonstrations of wine-making techniques and well-planned routes snaking through the best wine-producing valleys such as Colchagua, Maipo and Casablanca.
- Wild Patagonia and the far south provide majestic peaks, ice fields, fjords, 4,000 islands, excursions to get close (but not too close) to icebergs or even a cruise to the Antarctic.
- ‘Ethnic tourism’ circuits are a chance to sample mouth-watering local cuisine built on simplicity, Spanish influence, fresh ingredients and recipes passed down the generations, as well as sleep in traditional ‘ruca’ homes.
- Skiing in the Andes, with a wealth of resorts easily reached from the capital Santiago, lazing on a beach or feasting on seafood in the port of Valparaíso.
Fly-fishing in the Baker River where rainbow and brown trout are abundant and the backdrop is of stunning snow-capped peaks. Tranquillity, excitement and natural splendour rolled into one.