Chile is a country blessed with a fantastic range of natural attractions, cultural highlights and historical sites. Occupying a long, narrow strip on the west coast of South America, Chile more than compensates for its slenderness – a mere 115 miles (180km) at the widest point – with its remarkable length of 2,610 miles (4,200km).
Folk tales hold that after God had created the wonders of the world He found there were several pieces remaining. These included raging rivers, icy glaciers, deep valleys, snow-capped mountains, fiery volcanoes, sparkling lakes, dense forests, arid deserts, freezing fjords and sunny beaches. In a flash of inspiration, He packed all of this into the final part of His creation – and so Chile was born.
It is this incredible diversity that draws travellers to Chile time and time again. From the northern deserts to the lush Lake District, from the mountains and fjords of Patagonia to the brooding monoliths of Easter Island, Chile offers the adventurous traveller a wonderful natural playground to explore.
Natural splendour aside, cultural delights also await the epicurean visitor and the exacting globetrotter. Chile offers you excellent wines, wonderfully fresh seafood, unique handicrafts and plenty of opportunities for luxury shopping, with architectural masterpieces both ancient and modern to admire along the way. And Chile’s people are warm and welcoming, whether you are visiting the fashionable capital city of Santiago or the remote island of Chiloé.
The list of attractions in Chile is as long as the country itself. Sophisticated Santiago, the capital city, boasts impressive museums and world-class restaurants. Patagonia’s National Parks, Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael and Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, rank alongside the most scenic landscapes anywhere on Earth. Chile never fails to surprise – take a trip to the surreal landscape of Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos or visit the mystifying statues of Easter Island, just two of many Chilean destinations genuinely capable of inspiring awe.
The attractions in Chile are spread over a wide variety of climatic zones, extending from the tropics down to Antarctica, and from sea level up to breathtaking altitudes. As a rule of thumb, southern Chile is best explored during the summer months, while the north can be considered a year-round destination.
In the north, there is very little rainfall and conditions can be hot and arid. In central Chile there is a Mediterranean climate, whose cool, wet winters fall between April and September. As you move south you can expect more rain and a drop in temperatures.
The warmest month in Santiago, in central Chile, is sunny January, when summer temperatures peak at an average of 21 degrees Celsius (69 degrees Fahrenheit) – while in June’s depths of winter the temperature falls to just 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit).
Spanish is the official language of Chile.
To enter Chile, you will need a valid passport and sufficient funds to cover your stay. A visa may also be required, specifically for stays of longer than 90 days. Please check rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
There are no major safety threats for tourists in Chile, though the usual precautions are advised.
There is a problem with landmines in areas immediately bordering Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
The Chaiten volcano has erupted in recent history but is currently considered stable.
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