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 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.
Spend your days visiting steaming hot springs, gleaming white salt flats and emerald lakes. Challenge yourself by kayaking along dramatic fjords and tackling some of the world’s best white water. Trek into virgin temperate rainforest to watch monkeys swing in the canopy. Track pumas as you trek to the Torres del Paine or enjoy close-up wildlife encounters such as watching whales among the islands, fjords and rainforests of Aysen. Take a private plane, helicopter, or hot air balloon up and admire the awesome, endless Patagonian steppes. Go on a road trip or epic motorbike ride along the Carretera Austral. Surf the waves at Pichilemu, pausing to dine on a seafood beach barbecue. Explore the gold rush remains in Tierra del Fuego. Master world-class vintages by exploring boutique wineries and enjoy a wine tasting at a leading winery where you can sample the best Carmenère, Chile’s signature grape. Elsewhere, join a chef for a cookery class and get to grips with Chilean cuisine. Stroll through the streets of the colonial city of Valparaíso. Sink sundowners while marvelling at the spectacular light show as the sun sinks below the Andes. Travel to Easter Island for an off-the-beaten track escape and a chance to wonder about the origins of the mysterious Moai.
Take advantage of chic properties and unusual places to stay throughout this slither of a country. Start by staying in slick urban hotels in Santiago such as The Singular but discover serious style amidst the stark landscapes of the desert at Awasi Atacama or Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa. Immerse yourself in traditional life at luxury estancias like the Lapostolle Residence or designer wine estates and vineyards in the Chilean Lake District. Further south, base yourself at boutique adventure lodges in the endless Patagonian wilds such as Tierra Patagonia or private timber lodges like Awasi Patagonia. Get properly off the beaten path while staying at rural retreats on Rapa Nui including Explora Easter Island. Ask us as well about how to secure a berth on board an expedition ship such as MV Stella Australia that sails a beat among the Southern fjords.
Tour the Atacama Desert from the comfort of your own luxury 4WD vehicle with a personal guide. Luxury Relais & Châteaux retreat under the world’s clearest skies.
Clos Apalta Residence
A luxurious estancia idyllically located on a hillside, this designer hideaway has just four stylish suites named after the wines produced in this famous region.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa
The newest hotel on the Torres del Paine block. Spend your days exploring the park, then return to the lodge to be pampered and refuelled in exquisite surroundings.
Explora Easter Island
Upmarket all-inclusive resort on mystical Easter Island offering an impressive line-up of island-exploring activities combined with first-class facilities.
Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa
The ultimate in adventure and relaxation, this Atacama Desert hotel combines off-the-beaten track adventure with indulgent spa treatments, fine wines and gourmet dining inspired by it Andean surrounds.
Stay in a private timber cabin with views of Torres del Paine where everything from the superlative dining to the range of private excursions are tailor-made around your tastes.
The Singular Santiago
Elegant and refined luxury hotel with contemporary design features located in the cultural hotspot of Lastarria, packed with trendy restaurants and bars.
Hotel Rey Don Felipe
Perfect stopover hotel with simple rooms, extremely well placed for access to the pier and for exploring the charming and peaceful city of Puntas Arenas.
MV Stella Australis
As the only deluxe cruise that links Patagonian Chile and Argentina, this is a unique opportunity to discover the myriad wildlife and spectacular scenery of this wild region.
MS Hebridean Sky
A newly-refurbished, all-suite ship offering a high-class and stylish base for adventurous exploration of the southern solar region’s extraordinary landscapes.
By virtue of its extraordinary shape and length, Chile enjoys a wide range of climates. While Santiago is ostensibly a year-round destination, travel to the Atacama Desert in the north from April to December and explore Patagonia from October to March when the air is at its clearest, the weather warmest and all trekking routes are open. In the central winelands, spring and autumn are both appealing, with autumn in particular bringing wonderfully colourful landscapes and harvest festivals to match.
Highlights of Chile
13 days from £6,515 pp incl. flights
Travel the length of Chile on this indulgent holiday, comparing – on small group excursions – 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.
Patagonia’s Glaciers & Fjords
16 days from £8,510 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.
Torres del Paine & Antarctic Cruise
16 days from £17,125 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.