This incredibly diverse country has a unique setting which offers a varied topography that ranges from its formidable lunar landscape and arid desert to its dramatic snow topped mountains that are surrounded by the solitude of dense green forests, waterfalls and pristine lakes.
The landscape in Chile lends itself perfectly to a variety of adrenaline fuelled sports and leisure activities that take advantage of this countries outstanding natural beauty while Chile's remote Easter Island provides its own culture, history, intrigue and charm, with the impressive Moai statues providing a stark reminder of how great the Rapa Nui culture was in its prime.
Chile has an immensely rich history and culture which really comes to the forefront during festival time where Chileans can be found rejoicing more often than not with plenty of traditional music, dance and a great deal of enthusiasm.
Due to the length of Chile the climate varies year round depending on where and when you are visiting. The summer months of December through to February are ideal for visiting most of Chile unlike during the winter months of June through to August where you may find certain areas in the south of the country to be unaccessible due to the more severe weather conditions. Spring runs from September through to November and the Autumn from March through to May, both the spring and autumn are very pleasant times to visit much of Chile although the weather can be changeable at times.
- Northern Climate
The north of Chile is warm and dry with little rainfall all year round with occasional fog forming along the coast and watch out at night as the temperature here drops considerably. Winter temperatures average between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and summer temperatures average 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Central Climate
Central Chile offers a Mediterranean climate which is warm during the spring and autumn and very hot during the summer months often averaging between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit attracting visitors to the beaches to enjoy the surf and the sea. The winter months can be changeable with intermittent rain present throughout these months with cooler temperatures higher up in the mountainous regions. On average winter temperatures for this region range from 39 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit and during the winter the mountains have plenty of snow offering excellent skiing.
- Southern Climate
The climate in the south of Chile during the summer is often mild and pleasant averaging between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making this one of the best times to explore the varied landscape. The weather can be changeable with wet and windy spells during the spring and autumn in particular. During the winter months there is plenty of ice and snow around, especially at higher altitudes making travelling very difficult, temperatures during the winter average between 30 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Easter Island Climate
The island of Rapa Nui offers a hot and humid climate during the summer often ranging between 60 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature on the island cool slightly during the spring, autumn and winter with the most amount of rainfall occurring during the autumn months.
Chile offers a somewhat haphazard approach to transport options, in places such as Santiago the public transport infrastructure is excellent with a modern and efficient Metro system and an abundant supply of busses and taxis. On the other hand more remote areas of Chile require a plane, hire car or bus travel to successfully access, with areas such as those found in southern Chile practically impossible during the winter months.
- Bus or Micros
There are plenty of bus services in the major towns although they can get pretty busy at times. The routes that the bus will be going is often displayed on the bus window. You will need to purchase a bip card to enable you to travel on the busses and which can also be used on the metro. Bip cards can be obtained from the metro station.
Chile's main international airport is Santiago International Airport (SCL) and there are also plenty of airports at the major cities throughout Chile offering domestic flights to locations places such as Iquique, Arica, Antofagasta, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas and Temuco.
There are plenty of coaches that offer regular services to the major cities throughout Chile, although the comfort levels on these long distance coaches obviously varies.
Bicycle hire is available in the majority of towns across Chile. Choose your bike well depending on where you want to go, for example for exploring the Chilean countryside a bike with suspension and thick wheels is a must.
All major towns have taxi's available for hire, they are easy to spot as they are black with a yellow roof and can be hailed off the street or pre booked. Many taxis have set rates according to time and distance, however for longer journeys you may need to agree a price before hand.
A shared taxi that are usually all black in colour are known as colectivos and they travel along set routes in a similar way that a bus would for around about the same price. Colectivos take numerous passengers at one time and their prices are often very reasonable, as long as you don't mind sharing! The route is often displayed on the car roof.
Port Valparaiso and San Antonio are the countries main ports for cruise ships, with smaller boat trips and ports available along the coastline.
Car hire is available in most major towns, cities and from the larger airports and can provide you with a great way of getting around especially if you plan to explore a little further afield. Choose a four wheel drive or sports utility vehicle if you are planning to venture out of the city and head off into the mountains. You will need to be over 21 years of age and carry an international driving licence and ensure that the car hire has adequate insurance cover.
Available in Santiago, Valparaiso and Conception the Metro service is quick and efficient and provides easy access to many areas of the city.
The train service is fairly limited throughout Chile with only certain areas offering passenger transportation, although the train network is currently undergoing modernisation. At present trains are available from Santiago to destinations such as San Fernando, Talco and Chillán.
A wide range of products and shopping experiences await visitors that range from modern malls and designer labels to all manner of handicrafts in local markets (ferias artesenales) and small boutiques. The products are more often than not of good quality with items such as beautiful woven garments made from alpaca
and unique blue jewelry made out of Lapis Lazull and of course carved Moai figures amongst the most most popular items.
Santiago is well known for its shopping 7 and you can pick up all manner of souvenirs, food and clothing items. Easter Island is the best location for picking up your souvenir Moai statue but if you don't get a chance to visit the island then you'll find them in all sorts of locations throughout Chile.
If you plan to visit Southern Patagonia and the Torres de Paine National Park then Puerto Arenas is the best place to pick up anything you may need for your hiking trip or souvenirs as prices here are the most reasonable.
This long slender and incredibly diverse country can be roughly split into northern, central, southern and islands, with each one offering its own flora, fauna and dramatic landscape:
Islands Of Chile
- Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
An intriguing and isolated island that is well known for the fascinating Moai statues and for the Rapa Nui culture and history that surrounds this mysterious island... more about Easter Island
- Robinson Crusoe Island
The island takes its name after the Daniel Defoe novel which was inspired by a true tale of events that took place on the island in 1705... more about Robinson Crusoe Island
Chile's northern region contains some of the most dramatic rock formation, sand dunes and valleys as well as flamingo packed lagoons, soft sandy beaches, an impressive geyser field and thriving cities... more about the Atacama Desert
- San Pedro de Atacama
This small town in the north of Chile's Atacama desert is surrounded by sand dunes and a rocky landscape that are known for their moon like similarities. The area is also home to a vast geyser field, a ruined fortress, plenty of culture and history and the Los Flamencos National Reserve where you will come across lagoons and plenty of wildlife as well... more about San Pedro de Atacama
With its superb coastal location, rich naval history, stunning architecture, warm climate and hugely popular duty free zone the city of Iquique has plenty to keep you entertain... more about Iquique
- Northern Patagonia
This vast area is most well known for the Los Lagos region, who's beauty is one of the most popular areas for many tourists to visit. Those who go on and explore other areas of Northern Patagonia will be rewarded with dramatic fjords, outstanding blue lakes and a remarkable degree of solitude... more about Northern Patagonia
- Los Lagos (Chile Lake District)
The Los Lagos region also known as the Lake District is an area of immense natural beauty that contains several National Parks each offering its own charm. The area is known for its snow capped volcanic peaks, lush green rainforests, vast lakes, waterfalls, rivers and for the abundance of wildlife that can be observed. There are several notable cities and towns here most notably Puerto Montt. More about the Los Lagos Region
Superbly positioned with it's mountainous backdrop, Santiago offers everything you'd expect from
Chile's capital, with plenty of history, culture and architecture, any number of fascinating museums, restaurants and parks, an entertaining night life and plenty of excursions possible to make the most of the valleys and snow capped mountains that surround this colourful city... more about Santiago
- Southern Patagonia
A dramatic and diverse landscape that features several areas of natural beauty that ranges from its impressive glaciers and coast line to the photogenic towering rock formations and lush green forests and lakes that surrounded this beautiful area... more about Southern Patagonia
- Torres de Paine National Park
A trekkers paradise which contains the well known "W" circuit that takes in several areas of outstanding scenery and landscape... more about the Torres del Paine National Park
- Punta Arenas
One of Chile's most southerly cities has an incredibly rich naval history and is located along the Straits of Magellan... more about Punta Arenas
Chile Festivals and Events
Religious and cultural events take place throughout the year along with plenty of sporting, craft and music events where you'll be able to enjoy a vivid array of colour, endless enthusiasm and superb all-round entertainment... more about Chile Festivals and Events
There is plenty here to keep you thoroughly entertained from hiking or cycling through stunning valleys to enjoying world class surf. The rivers and valleys lend themselves perfectly to white water rafting and the snow capped peaks are the perfect adventure playground for skiing and snowboarding where you can even snowboard down the side of volcanoes... more about Chile Adventure Travel
Chile's traditional cuisine offers a wholesome selection of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. The countries long coastline has no shortage of fresh fish and seafood and regularly on offer are the likes of Prawns, Lobster, Sole and Squid. Popular sea food dishes include Paila marina a colorful fish soup, chupe de marisco which are spicy scallops
and Lenguado a la plancha a grilled Sole dish.
Traditioanla dishes containig meat include Pato Relleno a poultry dish, Bifes al sarten, a steak dish and Estofado de chancho a stew containing pork and vegetables.
Snacks such as pasties known as Empanades, Tortillas and bread called Marraqueta are widely available as are a wide variety salads called Ensaladas and Sopaipilla which is a pastry dish served with a variety of fillings. On the desert front Chile has a wide range of Kuchen or cakes on offer often with various fruit fillings.
The city of Santiago has a cosmopolitan selection of food choices available from traditional Chilean dishes to Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants and of course all the usual well known fast food outlets.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages the Chilean wines are obviously a great choice either on their own or mixed with fruit to make a Borgona and liquor drinks known as Licor de Oro and Murtado are also widely available as is Pisco another alcoholic drink that can be widely found and the variation of adding lemon makes a refreshing Pisco Sour. The fermented apple or grape Chicha is a southern speciality which is mostly available during celebrations such as Independence Day and Fiestas Patrias.