When people think about traveling to South usa the typical suspects are Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina or to become more precise, Rio, the Inca trail, Salt Plains and Patagonia but only the Argentine part. These are all stunning places and certainly worth a visit at some point, but let's remember the long strip of land joined to the west of Argentina referred to as Chile!
Often wiped off as boring, dull or expensive, america has recently exploded into life with lots of stunning sights that are not fully discovered by your average person tourist on a South America holiday.
Stretching over 2,700 miles from tip foot and averaging just 109 miles wide the environment contrasts dramatically while you descend from the driest desert in the world within the north to one of coldest and many desolate places to reside in the planet within the south. The contrasts from end to end are merely stunning and well worth touring in your Chile trip.
~San Pedro de Atacama is really a small village you could base yourself at the beginning of your Chile trip. Even though town is pretty it doesn't offer much more when compared to a tourist attractions you would expect. The USP for this town may be the location. You could head out in to the desert late one afternoon and climb to the top of the sand dune to watch the sunset and also the moon rise. This really is stunning as possible watch the color of the desert floor change because the sun drops and also the moon rise. The sky is beautifully clear meaning the heavens are really visible. The Milky Way may have never appeared so clear or close!
Simply to add incredible area you can take tours towards the Altiplano lakes where flamingos live, head to the Tatio geyser first thing each morning to watch the sunrise because the geyser erupts or take some relaxation time in your Chile vacation in the many hot springs dotted around the area. Be cautious though, an abrupt rise in blood temperature will make you feel just a little dizzy at first but that is just area of the fun. San Pedro is also a start/finish spot for tours to the Salt Plains and ties in nicely with Bolivia.
Heading south may be the Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces which during the the summer time is the place to find flamingos, vicunas and guanacos but more to the point offers stunning hiking and climbing opportunities through the snow topped mountains and beyond the clear blue lagoons. Best of all though, this place just isn't on the tourist trail YET so to get away from it all head here.
The next likely stop will be Santiago, capital of this vast country. Keeping it simple and to the point you will find far better cities in the world than Santiago. However, it does have its draws and it is worth a couple of nights out of your holiday period to explore. Climb to the top of Cerro San Christobal (you can't miss it as being there's a 14m high white marble statue of the Virgin Mary perched on its peak). Here you will see the town with the Andes mountain range in the background (assuming the smog isn't too thick on your chosen day's visit), then go ahead and take cable car down which winds round the hillside. In the afternoon explore the centre and also the following day head to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar coastal towns just a couple of hour's north-west from the capital. This where the locals head for the weekend and holidays to swim, soak-up the sun's rays and party.
For wine lovers, the Casablanca Valley is where Chile's best Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot grapes are produced. For a small fee you are able to have a tour of the vineyards then sample the produce, surely a highlight of your Chile tour. Should you fancy buying a few bottles you can do this and shipped home.
Continuing our windy way south is Pucon, the outdoor adventure capital of Chile. If you want adrenaline pumping through your veins and feeling alive by pushing the boundaries beyond your normal limits then Pucon is perfect for you. Set upon the gorgeous Lago Villarrica with a volcano overlooking it really is an ideal setting for taking your life to your own hands. Ride up it, jump off it, slip it etc. Pucon is the best Chile adventure holiday destination.
Continuing on the theme of adventure and adrenaline, hop on a bus and keep on south a bit more (you will probably notice the weather getting a little cooler now). There are lots of Nature in Chile but a particular favourite has a handful of 2,000m high granite towers that dominate the sky line, these gave the nation's Park its name Torres del Paine which means the awesome term 'Towers of Pain'!!
Torres is really a haven for all those searching for Chile adventure holiday, for hikers, ramblers and climbers alike, even if you're not too in love with walking you can still go out together with your camera to consider photos from the look at the lakes, forests as well as a stunning blue glacier which just increases the diversity of the area.
Torres is one of the most widely used parks so it can feel busy sometimes and the hostels do fill up quickly so always book ahead of time, nevertheless the place is really vast that to find tranquility is not hard.
Patagonia has become a area however the main placed you will probably base yourself throughout every season is Punta Arena, that is an ideal point for continuing your Chile travel from our area using the main draw being the penguins across the Magellan Straight. The two main colonies that inhabit the area take presctiption Seno Otway as well as on Isla Magdalena. These are not the large penguins that are based in the Falklands but nether-the-less continue to be mighty impressive, even in just sheer number with 6,000 at Seno Otway and around 50,000 on Magdalena Isla. The only way to visit these places would be to employ a car or have a tour as there are no public buses towards the area. Fom Punta Arenas if you're feeling adventurous and energetic then definitely keep heading south to Cabo Froward which is the most southerly point around the continent. The 2 day hike will be cold and windy as it is an exposed path to the harsh natural elements, as you would expect when this near to Antarctica but will surely be considered a highlight of the Chile itinerary.
A pinnacle of any Chile tour would have to be Easter Island-a stunning isolated tropical island littered with Moai statues is more than 2,300 miles from the west coast of Chile. An easy island with no influx of tourism and gaudy hotels. Hire a car to drive the 50 odd km of anti-clockwise roads, some of them concrete, some gravel yet others nothing more than dirt. No insurance is required, but then again there's barely any traffic so accidents should not happen and if they do often cash changing hands will sort the issue. The statues are simply magnificent, considering how subjected to the tough elements they have been for years and years, they are incredibly well maintained and do not look dated or tired- ideal for you to take pictures for your Chile holiday album. They are all over the island, 12 meters high, 2/3 meters wide and some have hats.
With just one town which includes a few bars, restaurants and also the odd souvenir shop you don't come here for luxury, just enjoy the simplicity and allow your mind wander concerning the good ways the statues were not only carved but then moved, and ultimately what exactly are they're for, and do they represent something? In the end, your guess is really as good anyone else's.