Chile is an extremely long country with a huge variety of landscapes to attract those on vacation. There are cosmopolitan cities to explore, deserts to admire, the Lake district region in which to go hiking, the Chilean fjords in which to take a cruise and fantastic trekking to be had at the southern tip of Chile.
Santiago, Capital City of Chile
Your flight to Chile will normally be into the capital city, Santiago. Santiago is worth a couple of days to explore, particularly the old port town of Valparaiso. Portillo and Valle Nevado are two popular skiing vacation destinations near Santiago. The Colchuagua valley will appeal to theose seeking a wine tasting tour.
Northern Chile Vacations
Catch a flight from Santiago to Calama at visit the Atacama Desert. Three of four nights is normally enough to explore the Atacama desert with it's fascinating volcanic landscape. Activities such as exploring, mountain biking and hiking are popular. The best hotel in the Atacama is the Explora en Atacama.
Catch a flight from Santiago to Easter Island in Pacific Ocean, known locally as Rapa Nui, with Lan Chile. Easter Island is famous for it's giant stone busts. A vacation to Easter Island is a cultural experience - if you are seeking a beach holiday in Chile this is not the best place. The best hotel in Easter Island is the Explora Rapa Nui. Three or four nights is normally suffice in Easter Island.
Lake District / Patagonia
For many, one of Chile's main highlights is it's Lake District region of Patagonia. You can catch a flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt, which is 30 minutes from the lakeside tourist town of Puerto Varas, and pretty village to use as a base to explore and go hiking in the surrounding countryside. Other popular vacation destinations in Patagonia include Pucon and Villarica, which are slightly further afield. Chiloe island is nearby and is an exceptionally beautiful island which can be visited. Chiloe has fantastic mythology and is scattered with pretty churches throughout the mountainous landscape. From Puerto Montt, the lake crossing to Bariloche in Argentina is a very scenic trip. Tourists might also have a cruise through the Chilean fjords further south in Chile's Patagonia.
Torres Del Paine, Southern Chile
Torres del Paine National Park is the highlight of any vacation to Chile. Travellers will need to catch a flight from Santaigo to Punta Arenas, from where it is a five hour drive to Torres del Paine National Park. Dramatic landscapes with towering cliff faces provide a sensational background for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, rafting, horseback riding and generally exploring one of the most beautiful parts of the world. For a five star hotel, try staying at the Explora en Patagonia, quite possibly the best hotel in South America. To travel on from Torres del Paine it's a long day's scenic drive over the Andes to El Calafate in Argentina.
Lan Chile is Chile's major airline carrier, which uses Santiago as it's hub. Domestic flights within Chile are very good value if one purchases the Lan Chile Airpass, which has a minimum of three travel coupons. To be entitled to the Lan Chile airpass tourists must have flown into South America with a One World Airline carrier. You can also use the airpass for Lan flights in Argentina, Peru and Equador..
When is the best time to visit?
Chile is a seasonal destination. Unless you are seeking a skiing vacation, it is best to visit in the summer months of November to March when the weather is milder and the daylight hours much longer. The weather in Chile varies enormously according to location, but the further south one is the better the weather will be in the summer period.