Chile is the ultimate bucket list location for many travellers, promising stunning scenery, lively locals and once in a lifetime opportunities. Here are four Chile travel experiences you’ll remember forever:
1. Torres del Paine National Park
Accessible only by foot, the tough hike that leads to Torres’ towering peaks is made worthwhile by the other-worldly views that grace this stunning national park. Glacial waters with jade green tones lap at the foot of the huge peaks – beautiful in photographs, the views have to be seen to be believed.
It’s been a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve since 1978 and is known by local residents as ‘the end of the world’. With challenging terrain, strong winds of up to 100km/h, unpredictable weather and truly wild animals such as pumas, you’ll want to plan your trip well before you go.
2. Visit Valparaiso
While the capital of Chile, Santiago, is a popular destination for city breaks that also provide the opportunity for natural experiences such as hiking, Valparaiso is a colourful coastal city popular with artists and creatives such as the poet Pablo Neruda. Brightly painted houses and buildings cling together for a bold cumulative effect, creating an intimate feel. Of course, being coastal means there is no shortage of beaches to visit, including the high-end Vina del Mar and the hip Renaca.
Excellent eateries providing the best of Chilean cuisine; local art galleries exhibiting the works of painters and artists inspired by the local scenery; and the historic base of the Chilean Navy and legislative Congress, provide an endless list of things to do while you’re in town.
3. Go surfing
With more than 6,000km of Pacific Ocean coastline, Chile is a surfer’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just want a new adventure, there are places for you to take to the water up and down the coast. But with 45% of injuries caused by the surfboard itself, make sure you get lessons if you need them before heading off.
Iquique is home to some of Chile’s toughest waves, including El Colegio and La Bestia, whereas Reñaca and Pichilemu have more to offer beginners.
4. Rano Raraku Volcano
For ancient culture, the magnificent Rano Raraku is the quarry from which the early Polynesian moai figures were cut and carved.
Once you’ve reached the top, the 360-degree view provided is simply jaw-dropping and only improved by the 20 or so figurines that stand in the centre of the crater. Keep an eye out for the individual kneeling Maoi Tukuturi that squats on its knees and rests its arms on its thighs.
5. The Chilean Eclipse
For a truly once in a lifetime experience, ensure you’re in this corner of South America on 2 July 2019 for the total solar eclipse. Only occurring every 1 – 12 years, a total eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and usually lasts a few hours. In the world-famous star-gazing spot of Elqui Valley, you could book onto a uniquely sophisticated tour involving a private charted plane that takes you to the final location.
As you can see, there are plenty of incredible sights and experiences in Chile. So what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to start planning your next adventure!