Luxury Holidays in Chile
Tailor-Made & Luxury Holidays to Chile
Stretching for approximately 2,670 miles along the western coast of South America but with a widest point of only 221 miles, Chile is sandwiched between the High Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Its very length affords a huge variety in terms of climate, from the driest dessert in the north to the icy cold of the most southerly continental land mass, outside of Antarctica. Add in the mystical Easter Islands, one of the most remote islands on Earth, and you have a most remarkable travel destination.
The far north of the country has in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. The town of Arica holds the record for the longest dry streak having once gone 173 months without a drip of rain. This is hard to imagine when you are travelling through the south of the country, preferably aboard a boat, as the rains come slanting in horizontally, and you drift through fjords that would make a Norwegian blush.
Santiago is a buzzing capital with an excellent food scene, and wine to compare with neighbouring Argentina. Indeed much of Chile’s geography reflects the country to its east, with its own lake district and Patagonia mirroring that in Argentina. Not that Chile suffers in comparison. The Torres del Paine national park, just to cite one example, is a wonder to behold.
And off the west coast Chile has the Easter Islands (or Rapa Nui), a place quite literally without comparison in the world. Marvel at the hundreds of Easter Island statues (or moai) constructed all around this most remote of islands, the perfect place to become stranded.
Add the beautiful churches of Chiloé, surfing off Arica, skiing in the Andes, and visiting the Magellan Penguins on Magdalena Island, and in Chile you really do have a country of breath-taking variety.
Our favourite Chilean Stays
Here is a selection of our most popular places to stay in Chile.
These are just a sample of the holidays available, but if you already have a place in mind, we would love to help tailor-make your dream Chilean holiday.
Places to visit in Chile
Start with the Chilean capital Santiago. A city full of culture, explore the great contemporary art scene in the Belles Artes district or sample some of the city’s wonderful cuisine in its avant garde restaurants.
From Santiago, take the short trip to the port of Valparaiso, through the most glorious hills, to a city that has a culinary and street art scene to rival that of the capital. Alternatively, you could also visit the 16 Unesco-listed wooden churches of Chiloé, built by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Then fly to Easter Island, for there is no other way to reach the most isolated island in the world. Glory at the culture that not only created the most amazing statues, but also the myth of the Birdman of Orongo.
Those in search of natural beauty should venture further south to the astonishing Torres del Paine national park, with its monumental granite peaks. A trek for the most hardy, perhaps a road trip along the Carretera Austral is more in keeping for you. Then there is always the Patagonia National Park and the steam-breathing geysers of El Tatio to visit.
While in the south of the country, visit Punta Arenas, nothing special in itself, but the perfect base for a trip to see the Magellan Penguins on Magdalena Island, or to explore further south either around the Cape to Terra del Fuego in Argentina, or perhaps even to Antarctica.
The Chilean capital, Santiago, is the heart and soul of the country. Like with most major cities one of the best ways to see it is on a hop on hop off tour, although you can easily arrange a private sightseeing tour instead. Make sure that you explore the great cuisine of the capital on a food tour of Santiago, especially the empanadas. If you can try some of the Chilean national dish the curanto, a meat and seafood stew prepared in a hole in the ground and mainly served at parties and fiestas.
Santiago also has a thriving cultural scene so why not indulge in the poetry of Pablo Neruda at his home, La Chascona, or explore the city’s great art museums the Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo).
The port of Valparaiso makes for an interesting day-trip from the capital. You can either explore the street art and food of this colourful city, or laze around on the beaches at Vina del Mar, the most popular beach resort in Chile.
Explore Easter Island. Really there is nowhere else in the world like this remote island, a flight from Santiago. Hire a car or some bikes and travel around the island on deserted roads, stopping occasionally to look at the majestic moai up close. There are some 900 on the island so you are spoilt for choice. Watching the sunrise over the statues at Ahu Tongarik is one of the most mystical experiences on the planet, and you can also visit the quarry at Rano Raraku, in the centre of the island, to see where they were made.
Back on the mainland, a tour of one of the vineyards in Chile is an absolute must for anyone who has an interest in Chilean red wine.
Or if you really want to get away from it all you can hike through Chilean Patagonia, although be sure to check out on the weather before you set out.
Finally, cruise through the Chilean fjords to the south of the country, checking out the amazingly friendly Magellan Penguins on tiny Magdalena Island, close to Punta Arenas. Then sail through the Strait of Magellan to Ushuaia in Terra del Fuego to commence your Argentinean travel adventures.
Whichever experiences you choose to cram into your Chile tours, be sure to allow some time to relax, for if you can’t chill out in Chile then where can you?
When to travel to Chile
The most popular time to visit Chile is in its summer from December to February. The long days are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking or horse riding, as well as lazing around on the beach.
This is a good time to visit the south of the country and Chile Patagonia, as the temperatures tend to be warmer during this period. Also, February is the best month to visit Easter Island, for the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival, a two-week cultural festival on the island. If you are in Chile for the New Year, then make sure you catch the wonderful firework display in Valparaiso.
Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May) are great seasons for exploring the central regions of the country, especially as the crowds tend to thin out from the summer peak. Arguably April is the best month to visit Chile, especially if you are a wine connoisseur, as this is the month where the Vendimia Festival takes place as the wine grapes are harvested. Noted for the quality of its red wines, the Maipo Valley is conveniently close to the capital Santiago.
Spring is equally appealing. This is when the wildflowers start to bloom, making the wildernesses in the north and centre of the country their most beautiful. Chilean Independence Day falls on 18th September, so check how this will affect matters before you book any Chile tours. Also, due to the country’s strong German community, Oktoberfest is celebrated in Malloco (near Santiago), Valdivia and Puerto Varas.
Although the winter (June to August) is no time to visit the southerly extremes of Chilean Patagonia, there are great skiing opportunities in Chile, especially in the Chilean Andes around the Nevado Valley.