Some Useful Information About Your Chile Holiday
Chile is nearly 4000 miles long and only 150 miles at its widest. To the east there is Pacific coastline and to the west are the towering Andes. The countries that border Chile are Argentina, Bolivia and Peru
Unlike neighboring Peru or Bolivia, Chile is does not have one famous attraction, but it is nation of outstanding natural beauty, and is one of the safest countries to visit in south America.
The Chile currency is the Chilean peso is currently stable against GBP
The Chile population was 18.05 million as of 2017
The Chilean language is Spanish and English is not spoken much outside of the main Chile holiday destinations
A Chile weather guide can be found here https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/chile
There are direct flights to Santiago airport from London using British Airways. This is currently the longest flight operated by BA. Long distance Chile tourism is still its infancy, but is very popular with Argentinians
At the end of the article, we will discuss the best way to visit Chile but we will start by describing the major destinations in Chile.
Santiago, the capital of Chile, is located in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains. There are some excellent 5-star hotels in Santiago which do not really exist in the rest of Chile.
The two most famous landmarks in Santiago are both located in the Plaza de Armas,: the 1808 Palacio de la Real Audiencia, home to the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral.
Another interesting attraction is La Moneda Palace, home of the president, visit here to see the changing of the guard ceremony. The event has the normal spectacle but is enhanced by the brass band playing popular songs
However, it is fair to say, that a lot of the best things to do are outside the city such as a walk up to Cerro Santa Lucía or take the funicular to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal one of the city’s highest “island” hills.
Valparaiso / Vina del Mar
We are covering these two places together as they are literally joined at the hip. They are located about 90 minutes-drive from the centre of Santiago, or an hour from the airport which lays between Valparaiso and Santiago.
Valparaiso is the main port in Chile and you will likely dis(embark) your cruise here. However, despite its somewhat industrial look there is a lot of character here. We found that the best way to discover the hidden gems was by joining a ‘free’ walking tour where you just pay a tip to the guide at the end of walk.
Vina del Mar is more of a tourist destination with a small beach and some nice walks along the sea front. The architecture of Vina del Mar is also interesting especially the glamorous Municipal Casino at night time
Here you will find an excellent guide to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar https://chile.travel/en/where-to-go/central-area-santiago-and-valparaiso/vina-del-mar.
Wine Tasting in Chile
Where do we start! There are about 10 large wine regions in Chile. Some of the most popular and easily accessible from Santiago are:
Casablanca Valley which lays in between the Andes and coastal mountain range, and is located about 60 km from Santiago on the main road to the Pacific.
Maipo Valley is only a 30-minute drive from Santiago and can be accomplihed as a day trip from your hotel. Is the birthplace of Chile´s wine production and is the best known wine region of Chile.
Cachapoal and Colchagua Valleys are situated about 100 km south of Santiago in the Rapel Valley. This is, in our opinion the best place for a wine tasting tour in Chile. The vineyards are simple amazing.
The Chilean fjords are one of the most impressive natural areas of the planet. The stretch of navigable fjords, channels, stunning glaciers and splendid coastline is a must visit on any trip to Chile.
The Chilean Fjords are part of the magnificent Patagonia, and here you will find beaches with thousands of native Magellanic penguins that you can get within touching distance of.
Other fascinating wildlife includes orcas, Migrating blue, grey and humpback whales, playful dolphins and lounging elephant seals. You can reach uninhabited islands, untouched by man and unexplored.
The only, realistic way to visit the Chilean fjords is on a cruise. There are several short cruises between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia, and 16 days luxury cruises from Santiago and Buenos Aires.
Torres del Paine National Park
If you really love adventure then the turquoise waters, glaciers and towering granite horns of the Torres del Paine National Park are for you. To truly appreciate the size, you have to visit the park.
During the Chilean summer, you can take advantage of 17 hours of daylight in summer. During sunrise you can see the horns of the Torres del Paine massif glow purple and red. You can sail on Lake Grey to admire eponymous glacier, or paddle a kayak through its colossal blue and white icebergs.
The wildlife includes condors, foxes, huemul or Andean deer and guanacos. You may even be lucky to spot the elusive Puma.
There are several ways to get to the Torres del Paine National Park, but we recommend the 3-hour flight from Santiago. More details can be found here: https://torresdelpaine.com/en/
The best way to visit Chile
Travel to Chilean Patagonia (Torres del Paine) | Full Documentary [ 24:53 ]
Map of Chile
The best time to visit Chile is the summer in south America from November to April.
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, we recommend visiting Chile on two separate occasions:
- Take a cruise to / from Buenos Aires or Santiago and spend a few days in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar at the start or end of the cruise. We recommend Valparaiso as the restaurants are better.
- Combine Santiago, Colchagua Valley and Torres del Paine National Park with, perhaps, a cheeky 4-day trip across the Chilean Andes mountains to Mendoza in Argentina to top it off.