Long and slender Chile is blessed with super-model looks. It is a land of extremes; from the dry lunar landscape of the Atacama Desert in the north to the towering peaks, glacier fields and wilderness in the south. Sitting in between the Pacific coast and the rugged Andes, it packs in an astonishing array of landscapes just waiting to be explored. Pristine scenery is made up of ancient forests, glistening lakes, snow-capped volcanoes and verdant valleys. Remote Easter Island, in the middle of the Pacific, is on many people’s bucket lists, eager to witness the mysterious Moai statues. The bustling cities of Santiago and bohemian Valparaiso are well worth the visit as are the exceptional vineyards in the Central Valley; host to some of the world’s best wines!
Chile's great wildernessIf you’re looking for Chile’s most dramatic landscape, look no further than Patagonia. The most southerly point on earth (before you hit Antarctica) is a wild world of glaciers, icy fjords and sweeping steppes. Saddle up with local huasos (cowboys) to ride through its crown jewel, Torres del Paine. Named after the 8000 foot Towers of Paine that stand guard over the park, you’ll cross thundering rivers, circle stunning lakes and spend the evenings enjoying traditional asado BBQ. By boat you can explore further, cruising the fjords to touch the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
The Atacama desertFrom vast ice fields to one of the driest places on earth: head far north to truly appreciate the extremes of Chile amid the barren beauty of the Atacama Desert. The scenery here morphs throughout the day: early risers are rewarded with the sight of steaming geysers spurting up into the cloudless sky at the El Tatio geyser field, while the evening sun gives the deserts’ lunar-like rock formations a warming glow. Explore the salt flats – keeping alert for lizards and flamingos, trek through rolling sand dunes, past cacti and pampas grass, or simply slide into the 33C degree water at the Puritama hot springs. By night the Atacama transforms again into one of the world’s best spots for stargazing. Join an expedition deep into the darkness of the desert to gaze up at the canopy of stars and spot the Southern Cross and splendour of the Milky Way.
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