Set between the majestic Andes and the rugged Pacific coast, Chile stretches from the desolate Atacama desert in the north to granite peaks, glacier fields and untamed wilderness of Patagonia in the south. In between these striking extremes, the country offers snow-capped volcanoes, crystal-clear lakes, winding fjords, ancient forests and verdant valleys dotted with vineyards.
As well as this pristine and spectacular scenery, visitors can encounter indigenous communities, bustling city culture, friendly hosts and delicious fresh seafood. The remote Easter Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, bears witness to a unique and mysterious Rapa Nui legacy.
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Currency: Chilean peso
Flying time from London: 14.5 hours
Official language(s): Spanish
Time difference: -4 GMT
Visa requirements: UK nationals do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days.
The Chile Experts
Our experts will be delighted to tailor a completely personalised itinerary to suit your interests, dates and budget.
Officially part of Chile, the mysterious and remote Easter Island lies in the middle of the South Pacific, a 5-hour flight from the mainland. This small patch of grass-covered volcanic rock is an extraordinary open-air museum of hundreds of moai (gigantic stone statues) scattered throughout the island. Explore Hanga Roa and dip into the Polynesian culture of the island.
Experience indigenous cultures
The northern Lake District is covered in araucaria and lenga forests, and is home to the indigenous Mapuche people. The small town of Pucon and the nearby lake are a good base for exploring the surrounding national parks, including the volcanic caves on the slopes of the active Villarrica volcano, ancient forests, crystal-clear waterfalls and numerous hot springs. It possible to arrange a visit to a native community in the area.
Taste world-class wine
Set between the snow-capped Andes and the coast, the fertile valleys around Santiago are home to world-famous wineries, country traditions and warm hospitality. Exclusive winery estates, some among the oldest in Chile, offer relaxing stays in their colonial haciendas or boutique lodges as well as the opportunity to sample some of the region’s finest wines.
Head off the beaten track
Coastal Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, is a gateway to the archaeological and natural wonders to be discovered inland, high into the Andes. The region is dotted with picturesque adobe villages and remains of pre-Columbian cultures, including mysterious rock carvings and geoglyphs. On the border with Bolivia lies the desolate Lauca National Park, with snowcapped volcanoes overlooking the emerald green Lake Chungara and Cotacotani lagoon. Flamingoes, rheas and guanacos can be spotted roaming the altiplano.
Stargaze in the desert
Northern Chile is renowned for its incredibly clear skies and unpolluted atmosphere, attracting astronomers from all over the world. Verdant valleys lie between the coastal town of La Serena and the Andes, and contrast with the arid brown of the mountains. Astronomical observatories like Mamalluca and La Stela are open for visitors to gaze at the wonders of the skies.
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine
"Some excellent memories from each of the areas in Chile we visited – Santiago, the Atacama Desert, the Lake District, Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Williams and Easter Island. The two highlights were Torres del Paine and Puerto Williams – in the former you felt as if you really were at the bottom of the world, almost like the outback in Australia. The daily activities in Puerto Williams were excellent."
Mr Brendan Fitzgerald
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