Chile, the backbone of South America, has some of the most contrasting landscapes found on the continent – from the driest place on earth in the north, to the glacier fields in the south.
The capital, Santiago, is where many tailor-made itineraries begin. In two days here you can take a city tour to visit the main cathedral, the central market, the historic main square, La Moneda Palace and admire the views of the city and the backdrop of the Andes from the tallest building in South America, Sky Costanera.
If you’re looking to escape the capital and move towards the coast, we would recommend visiting Valparaiso – a colourful port city that can be explored via the funicular elevators. From here you can enter the Casablanca Valley for excellent wine tasting and vineyard tours.
Fly northwards from Santiago to the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama where multi-coloured sand dunes dust the landscape, forming part of the impressive Atacama desert. Enjoy the spectacle that occurs each night as the sunset magically changes the colour of the lunar-like craters at the aptly-named Valley of the Moon. Similar to its neighbour, Bolivia, you will also find large salt flats, where flamingos sometimes collect, as well as geysers and geothermal hot springs.
From one extreme to another, as you venture south into the Chilean Lake District temperatures start to noticeably cool and landscapes start to open up into lakes and forests, and in the distance rise into snow-peaked mountains. The lakeside town of Puerto Natales is the perfect starting point for those travelling to Patagonia. From here you can transfer to the Torres del Paine National Park where you will find mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes and a variety of native wildlife. If you want to explore further, cross over to into El Calafate in Argentina to access Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
For those who are culturally curious, we can arrange a trip to the mysterious Easter Island, which is a five-hour flight from the mainland. The open grasslands act as an open-air exhibition of fascinating moai – gigantic stone statues found standing tall across the island. We recommend taking guided tours to the various ceremonial sites to glean insight into the unexplained moai and ahu. Due to its remote location, three or four nights would be an ideal amount of time to stay here.