Exploding into the scene like few destinations have ever done, Chile is the bees’ knees in adventure travel circles. If you’re craving a sensationally delicious experience and simply love stretching your legs whilst soaking up a visual feast of spectacular landscapes, topped with a delectable pinch of magnificent wildlife, then Chile may just be that secret ingredient you’ve been missing.
Step 1 – Mould the Earth into Mountains
Step 2 – Fill the Valleys with Lakes
Step 3 – Just add Chile and Enjoy!
Chile – The Outdoor Lover’s Dream Destination
Chile may well be the ‘it’ kid in town nowadays yet, truth be told, the country’s been a favourite among adventure travellers for decades. Small and narrow yet long and overreaching, this once relatively anonymous South American nation has always boasted a very impressive diversity and always offered a very rewarding travel experience due to its colossal array of highlights and very modern infrastructure. Put simply: you can (and always could) do more in Chile in a short amount of travel time than almost anywhere else in the region.
Due to it being home to a few of the continent’s major highlights – including the Atacama Desert and the glorious Chilean fjords of Patagonia (a region which also boasts the most wildlife-brimming national park of all, Torres del Paine) Chile has always attracted a discerning crowd. The Andes of Peru may be most famous, granted, but the ones of Chile are just as spellbinding and not nearly as crowded. Avid high-altitude hikers, in particular, have always loved Chile, a country that’s also home to one of the most picturesque Lake Districts on our planet.
Chile is one of the most distinctive countries on earth. On the east, it is framed by a sky-reaching section of the mighty Andes Mountain range and, on the west, by the frigid but nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean. The unique current flows have created an astonishing landscape. Whilst on the eastern side of the Andes the Amazon thrives with life, on the western (Chilean) side, the land is eerily arid. The Atacama Desert is what happens when warm winds from the east can’t roll over 5,000m high peaks. The driest desert on earth, a spellbinding horizon of terracotta-hued contours, the Atacama is one of the most fascinating highlights of the country. You can learn more about it, right here.
Down south, instead, Chile reaches the southernmost point in Latin America, at Cape Horn. Here, it kisses the Atlantic at the Magellan Strait, creating even more surreal landscapes, where ice flows and penguins roam.
With more than 6,000km of coastline and spanning over 4,200km from north to south, Chile is an incredible powerhouse of delights. The high peaks by which it is defined also host a wonderful array of luscious valleys, where some of the world’s best wines are produced. Check out The Best Wine Regions in South America to know more.
Coupled with its superb cuisine, it certainly makes for one hell of an awesome destination.
And we haven’t even started mentioning the wildlife NOR any of its incredible islands. Yet…
The volcanic historical treasure that is Easter Island flies under the Chilean flag, as does glorious Chiloe and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. Between the dramatic landscapes and the wildlife – which include Magellanic, Gentoo and King Penguins, Andean Condors, Rheas, Andean deer, Pumas, Andean Foxen, Flamingos and an abundance of fluffy Guanacos – Chile is an absolute nature lover’s paradise and a prime playground for those who want to get totally immersed in pristine nature surrounded by unique creatures of all shapes and sizes. The crazy thing about Chile is that it almost matters not what it is that gets your juices flowing: you’ll find it here. Want an epic trekking adventure? You got it. Prefer a city-scape with wicked gastronomic delights and a great nightlife? Yes, got that too. Want to go on a wine-appreciation tour de force? Boy, are you in luck! Planning a wildlife cruise complete with whale-watching and penguin meet? The choices are many!
The Central Valley Lakes District is among the most popular hubs for first-time visitors, with the entire region dotted with sapphire lakes and stunning waterfalls, all framed by impressively high peaks. In total, over 80% of the country is characterized by mountains and most of that is sparsely populated. It is here that you’ll find the highest active volcano on earth, a formidable hiking challenge not for the faint of heart.
But oh….the views!
Considering the fact that the Andes reach their highest elevation in Chile, mountaineering obviously makes up a huge chunk of the country’s tourism market although one need not be a supreme high-altitude athlete to take advantage of all the astonishing trails laid out as if on a red carpet. It is simply impossible to visit Chile and not feel the urge to explore on foot – for however long and wherever one may be. This would have to be one of the most enticing active vacation destinations on our planet, where you’ll find 36 peaks over 6,000m elevation.
The fact Chile is a modern, well-to-do country certainly adds to the appeal. If you don’t want to give up your creature comforts, Chile doesn’t force you to. Even the country’s most remote regions – like the Atacama and southern Patagonia – are home to some splendid lodges that offer the unique delights of the region in an unobtrusive yet luxurious way.
On a twist of genius, to add to the country’s ever-growing list of enticements, comes the news that Chile is creating a new Route of Parks, a magnificent maze of 17 national parks – as big as Switzerland – to protect and nurture the country’s most prized flora and fauna. The creation of the Route of Parks – which we detailed here just a few months ago – came to fruition thanks to a very generous donation of wilderness to the Chilean government by the Thompkins Foundation, the brainchild of the recently departed founder of North Face brand, Doug Thompkins, an avid lover of the country and one whose passion we wholeheartedly share.
When looking for an ideal adventure destination, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a worthier country like Chile.
Fulfilling, delectable and unforgettable – Chile IS the secret ingredient you’ve been missing…
Ready for a spectacular feast for all your senses? Then visit our Chile Tours page, devour our dedicated Chile Archives for more titillating info and, as always, contact us right here for more details and planning help.