Seemingly pinched between Andean behemoths and Pacific waters, slender Chile is brimming with iconic landscapes, elegant cities and an array of eye-catching wildlife, making Chile holidays truly one-of-a-kind. Hike alongside heavenly lakes, spot blue whales in choppy seas, ski in the high Andes, or luxuriate in thermal springs, sipping wine beneath snow-dusted volcanos.

Implausibly slim, Chile is both restricted and enriched by the superlative natural barriers that define its spectacular landscapes. To the north, visit the inhospitable Atacama Desert – the world’s driest – and find scorched-red dunes, rocky plains and unimaginable geological formations shimmering orange and gold. Meanwhile, bristling along Chile’s eastern spine the world’s longest mountain range – the snow-capped Andean peaks rising in angular majesty separating you from Argentina. Venture into this exciting terrain, hiking beneath mighty granite towers in Torres del Paine, or amid the azure lakes of western Patagonia; or perhaps pick through primeval forests for views over the immense glaciers that spill from Chile’s southernmost archipelago.

Exploring this vast and pristine wilderness, you’ll meet endearingly hospitable people – poncho-wrapped alpaca herders and gauchos in straw chupalla hats – and you’ll savour delicious seafood, and exquisite wines from the sumptuous Colchagua Valley. Nature-lovers can find flamingos, elephant seals, penguins and the elusive Patagonian puma, while charming and colourful towns such as hillside Valparaíso see grand colonial buildings rise between brightly-painted houses in typical Latin American quirkiness. Chile’s cosmopolitan capital, Santiago offers gentle strolls revealing European architecture and leafy avenues, all cast against a magnificent mountainous backdrop. Fly to Easter Island to uncover the ancient mystery of its enigmatic Moai statues, or sail around Chiloe Island, home to 16 UNESCO-recognised churches, keeping your eyes peeled for the fabled ghost ships that drift in the thick morning fog. And that’s not to mention the hot springs, smouldering volcanos and mighty fjords that await discovery in this most varied and bewitching of holiday destinations.  

 

The Astounding Atacama Desert

The driest place on earth after the two poles, only cacti grow in this rock-strewn Martian land of canyons, dunes and vacant salt lakes. Visit the aptly-named Valley of the Moon, catch sunrise over the steaming columns of the El Tatio geyser field, or for unbeatable views take a hot air balloon to fully comprehend this uniquely desolate corner of the world.

Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna), Atacama Desert in Chile

Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)

El Tatio Geyser in Atacama Desert, Chile

El Tatio Geyser

Hot air balloon ride over the Atacama Desert in Chile

Hot air balloon over the Atacama Desert


Torres del Paine National Park

Dominated by the dramatic shafts of the Paine massif, whose towering granite spires are circled by giant Andean condors, Chile’s most famous national park hosts spellbinding Patagonian panoramas. From luxurious hotels, hike paths that snake between stunning lakes, into thick forests, across the wonderfully multi-coloured steppe and to the edge of eerily-glowing blue glaciers.

View of a the mountain range in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

Torres del Paine National park


Enigmatic Easter Island

An curiosity in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Easter Island’s world-famous stone heads pepper green hillsides, gazing forlornly out over blue horizons in a silent homage to their mysterious creators. Beyond the iconic Moai statues, there’s leisurely hiking opportunities up to gaping craters, excellent snorkelling and diving, and pristine white beaches upon which to mull the mystery over one more time.

Anekena Beach, Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in Chile

Anekena Beach

Moai statues on Easter Island known as Rapa Nui in Chile

Moai statues


Chilean Lake District

Nestled between Chile’s Mediterranean valleys and the subpolar south, self-drive into a realm of fairytale beauty pitted with peaceful green lakes, dotted with snow-capped volcanoes, and draped in dark and misty Valdivian forests. Explore Chiloé Island’s quaint churches, spot pudu – the world’s smallest (and cutest) deer – or buy handicrafts made by Chile’s colourful indigenous Mapuche. For those on a larger South American odyssey, access to Argentina is provided by the stunning Carretera Austral road.

Chiloe Island in Chile

Chiloé Island

Horse riding with Hotel Vira Vira in Pucon, Chile Lake District

Horse riding in Pucon

Petrohué Waterfalls in Chile's Lake District Region with Osorno in the background

Petrohué Waterfalls with Osorno volcano in background


Santiago & Winelands

Encircled by mountains and invested with a pleasant Latin ambiance, Santiago is burgeoning with sophisticated seafood eateries, boisterous bars, and grand colonial cathedrals and museums. Climb San Cristobal Hill to admire the capital’s incredible setting or, for a large slice of paradise, delve into the sprawling vineyards that fill nearby Colchagua Valley, where sheer indulgence meets peaceful seclusion under the influence of Chile’s exquisite range of wines.

Colchagua Wine Valley

Colchagua Wine Valley in Chile's Winelands

Old Fire Station in Santiago, Chile

Old Fire Station in Santiago


Vibrant Valparaíso

Known as ‘The Jewel of the Pacific’, eccentric Valparaíso is proudly bohemian and joyfully colourful, its historic hillside districts linked by intricately-painted ascensores (funicular railways) while charming wharfs waft the enticing aromas of seafood specialities and traditional chorrillana street food into the maze of cobbled lanes around the seafront. It’s a hodgepodge mess of crumbling villas rejuvenated by street art, creating an infectiously care-free atmosphere quite apart from that of Santiago.

A picture of the colourful houses of Valparaiso in Chile

Colourful houses in Valparaíso

Rooftop garden of Casa Higueras in Valparaíso in Chile

Rooftop of Casa Higueras hotel

Colourful houses and mountainous background of Valparaíso in Chile

City of Valparaíso


Chilean Cuisine

Unlike neighbouring Argentina where the steak is king, Chile’s extensive coastline provides the staples for the country’s delicious array of seafood dishes – from sumptuously-stewed conger eels to mouth-watering fried sea bass and tasty shredded king crabs. Perfect mid-stroll snacks can be found in the form of fried sopaipillas, Chilean hotdogs and chacarero sandwiches crammed with beef strips and mashed avocados.

Sopaipilla, a typical food in Chile

Sopaipilla

Pumpkins at Mercado Central Market in Santiago, Chile

Pumpkins at Mercado Central Market in Santiago

Fish at Mercado Central Market in Santiago, Chile

Fish at Mercado Central Market in Santiago


Suggested itineraries

Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna), Atacama Desert in Chile

Highlights of Chile

13 days from £6,435 pp incl. flights

Travel the length of Chile on this luxury holiday, comparing – on exclusive private tours – the otherworldly landscapes of its deserts and big-name national parks to the tumbling lanes of its charming seaside towns and the leafy bustle of mountain-framed Santiago.

Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia

Patagonia’s Glaciers & Fjords

16 days from £9,095 pp incl. flights

Compare Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia as you cruise the icy fjords from Ushuaia and explore Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Park – all while enjoying our collection of curated luxurious lodges and boutique hotels.

Penguins in Antarctica

Torres del Paine & Antarctic Cruise

16 days from £17,995 pp incl. flights

Witness towering rock spires in Torres del Paine National Park, relax on the shores of Lake Sarmiento and savour exquisite wines on this itinerary, designed to celebrate the best of Chile's natural treasures – including its proximity to the wild, frozen expanse of the West Antarctica Peninsula.

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