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Introducing Chile

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Autumn in Chile © mabahamo

Chile Travel Guide

Stretching 2,700 miles (4,300km) along the Pacific coast of South America, the distinctive ribbon of land that is Chile is only 109 miles (175km) wide on average. This unique shape gives Chile a widely varied climate and terrain, and contributes much to the diversity that makes the country so attractive for tourists.

Ranging from the hot and dry Atacama Desert in the north all the way to the cold and windy Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of the continent, Chile's lush landscape includes dense jungles, lonely mountain peaks, rolling winelands, picturesque fjords and sunny beaches.

Many of Chile's most popular attractions are found in its rich culture as well, however. Vibrant cities like Santiago and Valparaíso offer colourful markets, stately mansions and historical monuments, buzzing nightlife and fascinating museums.

The most intrepid explorers can earn their stripes by venturing far out to sea to Easter Island, to see the famous and enigmatic statues that have puzzled archaeologists for centuries.

A holiday in Chile promises excitement and enjoyment for all types of traveller, and an unforgettable South American adventure.

Best time to visit Chile

Chile's climate varies dramatically from north to south, with dramatic changes in temperature from summer to winter. While the summer months in Chile (December to February) are the warmest, summers in Chile tend to be very windy, especially in the southern part of the country. The best time to visit Chile is in the shoulder seasons, including October and November, and March and April. The weather in Chile is more temperate at these times. Winters in Chile are the worst time to visit, as the weather is very cold. Read more on Chile's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Chile

-See the giant and mysterious statues of Easter Island.

-Visit the Magdalena Island Penguin Reserve in Chilean Patagonia.

-Spot rare indigenous animals in Parque Nacional Chiloe.

- Watch the El Tatio Geysers shoot clouds of steam into the air.

What to do in Chile

-Stroll through the busy markets and stately buildings of Santiago.

-Take a cruise along the fjords of Chile's Lake District.

-Sample local vintages on a tour of Chilean wine country.

-Relax in the resort town of Pucón on Lake Villarica.

Getting to Chile

Getting to Chile from the US is simple, as there are direct flights to Santiago from many US cities, including New York, Miami, New Orleans and Denver. There are no direct flights to Chile from the UK, but there are indirect flights available from London and a few other major airports. Get more information on Chile Airports.

Read

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende and Tierra del Fuego by Francisco Coloane

Listen

Vicente Bianchi Alarcón

Watch

Post Mortem (2010)

Drink

Carmenere (Chilean red wine).

Eat

Freshly-caught Chilean sea bass and seafood stew.

What to buy

Lapis Lazuli jewellery, alpaca shawls and leathergoods.

What to pack

Warm layers, including a waterproof jacket for sudden showers

What's on in Chile

Dozens of theatre performances are staged around Santiago each January for Santiago a Mil.

Did you know?

-Along the mountainous region of Chile there are more than 1,300 volcanoes, a number of them still active.

-Chile is one of only two countries in South America that doesn't border Brazil.

-Chile is the world's 38th largest country; it is nearly twice the size of Japan

-Catholicism is the primary religion in Chile.

A final word

Chile's wildly diverse landscape contains many adventures for intrepid travellers.

Become our Chile Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Chile travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Chile or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.