Chile is a dream vacation for outdoor enthusiasts.
Desolate moonscapes and pink flamingo-filled lagoons fill chiles northern deserts, and fertile vineyards dominate the central valley.
Walk through the untamed rainforests of the lake district or head down south to the mighty glaciers and peaks of storied patagonia.
Chile is packed with mind-boggling possibilities.
Chile is a playground for lovers of the great outdoors, a country blessed with limitless deserts, ancient volcanoes, emerald lakes and the magnificent andes as backdrop wherever you travel.
Its culture is equally intriguing.
Chile info more--
Chile was named south america’s leading adventure tourism destination at the world travel awards for a third consecutive year.
Chile is an expensive country to visit.
In my experience, the food and transport tend to be expensive when compared to colombia, ecuador, and peru.
It usually costs $10 and more for a meal, and the fare for taking a long-distance bus is higher than its neighbor countries as well.
Climate in chile
Chile is one of the longest north-south countries in the world, extending across 38 degrees of latitude and its climate varies significantly along its length.
If you are in the south you are likely to be experiencing a cold alpine climate.
If you’re further north in central chile, the climate is more of a temperate mediterranean climate.
Major hub: Santiago de chile
The main airport is in santiago and the majority of intercity and international buses arrive here as well.
Beware of taxi scams in santiago chile.
Transport in chile
For backpackers on a limited budget, buses are a great way to get around.
There are many bus companies that offer comfortable, safe and reliable services.
Busbud is a very useful online platform for finding services and booking tickets.
Getting around chile:
Overnight buses, though not very punctual, are very comfortable covers most of the popular tourist location.
Be sure to get the cama seat for your overnight buses.
For chile, turbus and pullman provide a great range of buses that covers many popular locations.
Flying is too expensive for budget travelers, although some people fly from santiago to the atacama desert or to patagonia to avoid the very long bus ride.
Bus ride from Santiago, chile to Atacama/Copiapo, Chile?
Turbus operates a bus from santiago to copiapo (atacama) every 2 hours.
Tickets cost $21 - $60 and the journey takes 10h 30m.
11 other operators also service this route.
Travel advice for visitors to chile
Popular tourist spots and transport hubs are also prime targets so be mindful of your surroundings and belongings.
If you travel by bus, do not place any valuables in the storage compartments.
If you make use of any taxi services, you should book them by phone rather than hailing one on the street.
What to see?
Why go to santiago, chile?
There is nothing quite like waking to the view of the andes mountains covered in snow, before exploring a city with a history as passionate as santiago has.
From the natural landscapes to the incredible food weve got you covered on what to do in santiago chile.
The city will mainly act as the beginning or end of the south american adventure
You can take a tour but i preferred walking around, discovering each work of street art at my own pace.
There are many beautiful graffitis scattered all over the hills of valparaiso and in between are small cozy cafes where you can indulge yourself in the finest coffee overlooking the the colorful streets of valparaiso.
Premium wine producer
The residents planted the new crop north and south of modern day santiago.
This central valley surrounding the new city proved favorable climate and growing conditions for the vines.
And what good fortune for today’s travelers to chile who appreciates fine wine.
Wine continue: The white varietals of chile
Of the 30,000 acres planted in chile, most is grown in the central valley.
The best sauvignon blancs come from casablanca valley though it also grows well in the aconcagua sub-region as well as in the western, cooler areas of san antonio and as far north as the limari sub-region.
Iquique chile (Northern Chile)
The attractions are a mild climate, commerce, the atacama desert, natural and archaeological treasures, access to peru and bolivia and a great many recreational and sporting activities.
The hot springs and thermal baths attract visitors for the mud baths and healing properties to these oases.
The inland orchards and farms provide produce to complement the seafood found offshore.
Iquique chile (Northern Chile) cont:
Towered over by the enormous cerro dragon sand dune, iquique sprawls alongside the pacific ocean with a host of restaurants and bars and sandy beaches safe for swimming.
Playa huayquique, which is renowned for its excellent waves for surfing, is also accessible by colectivo (minibus).
Rated as one of the prime destinations for paragliding, iquique is the spot for trying out this sport with a tandem jump from the sandy plateau above the city.
Northern Chile - Elqui Valley
A fertile area that is chile’s largest pisco producing region, it comes alive during the summer when the heavy, grape-laden vines turn the sandy mountain slopes into a patchwork of greens and deep purples.
Arrange a tour to a boutique or larger-scale pisco distillery, all of which are accessible from the picturesque towns of pisco elqui and vicuna.
Given the almost perfect conditions for stargazing in the elqui valley, finish your day with an astronomy tour at a local observatory.
Northern chile - Atacama desert:
This tiny oasis town set in the middle of the atacama desert is deservedly one of the top tourist attractions in the whole of chile and it only takes a few days to discover why.
Highlights include a dawn tour to el tatio geysers, the world’s highest geothermal field, where the billowing steam appears more clearly in the cold, crisp air of morning.
Spend an afternoon bathing in the thermal waters in puritama or laguna cejar and a day driving out to the two altiplano lagoons, miscanti and miniques, whose waters reflect the spotless cobalt blue skies and are fringed by crisp, white salt.
San pedro de atacama
At night, go on a star tour organized by spaceobs and gaze at the stars in one of the clearest sky you will ever see.
The next morning, you can go on a geyser tour that starts at 4 am to catch the sunrise at geysers del tatio, one of the largest geyser site in the world.
Be prepared for the cold since you will be going up to 4,200m above sea level.
Chile's national parks:
That listing includes 30 national parks, 38 national reserves and 11 natural monuments.
Because of geographical location of the country a wide variety of landscapes can be found in chile, from the atacama desert (world’s driest desert) to the largest sweet water reserve on the planet.
Each of these protected areas is worth a visit, you’ll be able to see rare animals and beautiful landscapes.
Patagonia chile: an untouched, infinite glacial wilderness
Moss-covered forests abound in the north where rivers give way to waterfalls and fjords.
Sail through the many caves or tunnels carved out by the water.
Take a drink of whiskey cooled by the ice of the ancient glaciers and visit with gauchos in centuries-old villages.
Fly further south still and venture into chilean patagonia with a stay in the beautiful torres del paine national park.
Huerquehue national park - pucon, chile
There are many great places that are within an hour or two of a city that are absolutely worth the effort of getting there.
The beautiful scenery coupled with the peace and quiet make it a physically challenging, yet rewarding activity.
Patagonia, chile continue
For those seeking stunning landscapes, there’s the blue icebergs that break off from grey glacier, part of the expansive southern patagonian ice field.
It is a tough walk, but the reward is an overwhelming view of the glacier, which is part of the southern patagonian ice field.
The environment is overwhelming and the presence of the special condor makes this an unforgettable experience.
Which glaciers to visit: the one in argentina or chile
Visit glacier perito moreno in al calafate.
It’s close by, and it is worth all the money to see it.
Chaiten is another small town and one we had heard mixed reviews about.
It was bought to the ground by a volcano in 2008 and since then they have been bringing it back to life, mainly for the purpose of tourism as it is a gateway for the chiloe islands and a popular stop along the carretera austral - the highway that runs 1,240kms from puerto montt to villa ohiggins through rural patagonia.
Some peoples comments were that it was a beautiful little town with a lot to explore and showed interesting beach landscapes with the volcano in the background, whereas other people had said there isnt much around.
Pucon - Villarrica national park:
The park is home to villarrica volcano, which is among south america’s most active volcanoes, as well as many lakes and extensive deciduous araucaria forests.
Because it is the closest national park to pucon chile, villarica is easily accessible.
Bus rides take you through the forests and along the lakes and offer great mountain views.
Easter island & argentine wine country
Explore one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.
Easter island, where you will learn the secrets of its enigmatic past and witness the beauty and historical sites that make the island so unique.
Where to stay?
Where to stay in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Hotel Tierra de Atacama:
It is a cute boutique spa hotel with a lovely view of the famous licancabur volcano.
It is an all inclusive hotel with tours included in the price.
Aji hostel offers digs near the bellavista district with breakfast and dinner included (dorm bed from £9).
Princesa insolente hostel, located in the brasil district about 2 kilometres west of plaza de armas.
It’s about a half-hour walk to the city centre.
Hostels in Chile
The cheapest hostel we could find was a bed in 6 dorm room for 10,000 clp (15 usd) and it was crammed with beds and no lockers.
They have very spacious rooms, many common areas and many of them have an outside terrace with a pool.
The most beautiful areas of valparaiso are cerro conception and cerro alegre, which are both good for getting a hotel at.
Cerro conception and cerro alegre are also the places where you find the most skillful street paintings.
The Aysen region of patagonian chile
At the tip of the fjord sat puyuhuapi, a sleepy place with a few spots for camping and some basic guesthouses.
Hotel Mi Casa, Chaiten, Chile
Despite its size, a small town chaiten in southern chile is not a place to be skipped.
On the contrary, for many travelers, it is a significant and unmissable stop on their itineraries.
For us (as for many others), chaiten was the beginning of our patagonia trip while for the other group of visitors, the town means the end of the ultimately picturesque carretera austral journey.
Hotel Alaia, Punta de lobos, Chile
A popular surf hangout, it is famed for its consistent breaks.
Away from the crowds, the punta de lobos peninsular is wild, raw and windswept.
Effortlessly blending with the natural surroundings, hotel Alaia is designed with chilean spirit in mind.
Singular hotel, Santiago, Chile
Due to the short time we were staying, location was important to us as well as a comfortable, relaxing place that included breakfast.
We chose to stay at the singular hotel santiago.
The 5 best patagonian lodges in chile
The 5 Best Patagonian Lodges.
#5 – Valle Chacabuco Lodge.
The lodge at valle chacabuco.
#4 – Patagonia Camp.
The yurts at the Patagonia Camp.
#3 – Espejo de Luna.
Espejo de Luna, Eco-Hotel in a grounded boat.
#2 – Hotel Las Torres.
Hotel Las Torres.
What to eat?
A taste of chile
Somewhat like the british with their meat and two veg, traditional chilean food is simple, safe and somewhat unimaginative.
But recent years have seen chilean gastronomy reaching global standards and global influence appearing in chilean dishes.
Guide to food in chile
The coastal region is known for for having some of the best seafood in the world and it is possible to eat almost every type of sea animal including urchins, octopus, barnacles, clams, oysters, etc, along with more typical fare.
Chupe is a seafood casserole cooked in a cheesy, buttery, breadcrumb sauce and paila marina a delicious seafood chowder.
Traditional chile food and main courses
Porotos granados another summertime meal also originally from the central regions of the country, porotos granados is a stew comprising white beans, corn, onion, garlic and pumpkin, the latter of which is often mashed to thicken the dish.
Caldillo de congrio originally hailing from the northern coastal region of chile, caldillo de congrio is a soup containing conger eel and vegetables and sometimes other seafood such as mussels and clams.
Food in santiago, chile
Focus on good produce and meats like the brisketlike carne mechada.
Traditional dishes, like the palta cardenal, an avocado stuffed with shrimp salad, have the kind of flavor that comes from unhurried preparation.
Safe eating while travelling in chile
Salads and fruit are fine to eat, even if they have been washed, but only in big cities.
In more remote places, avoid anything that could have been washed as the water here isn’t drinkable.
As always, if food doesn’t look or smell right, or might have been left out in the sun for too long then stay away from it.
Where and what to eat in chile
Even in the touristic areas, we were able to find local restaurants that offered cheap and good lunch deals with “cazuela de vacuno” (typical chilean meat soup) and other simple, but tasty dishes.
At a certain point during your travel to chile, we recommend you to try “chorrillana”, a very unhealthy, but delicious dish with meat, eggs, onions and french fries.
In chile you will find fish and seafood at a reasonable price, and in some markets you can eat great seafood for little money.
Whats the food like in chile?
Specialities include cazuela de ave which is a tasty chicken stew with potatoes, rice, onions with green peppers, pastel de choclo which is a casserole of beef with a maize mash baked in an earthenware bowl and caldillo de congrio, which is a soup with large pieces of fish with onions and potato.
Mixed grills (parillada) are also very popular in chile, either seafood grills (parillada de mariscos) or grilled meats, offal and intestines are served in a miniature bbq on your table.