Imagine a place where-during just one visit- travelers can explore the driest desert on the planet, admire some of the world’s most impressive glaciers, savor a glass of the continent’s finest wine, and gaze at one of the most legendary sites in the south Pacific.
That place is Chile.
Chile is home to a wealth of great shopping options that range from big city malls with a wide variety of brands and the luxury boutiques that line the most elegant streets of Santiago to the crafts fairs held in its smaller towns and on the islands. Local products include handicrafts made from wood, copper, stone and wool, as well as liquors and homemade jams. The most popular souvenirs include jewelry featuring semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli and chrysoprace and wine and pisco, which are available in supermarkets and specialty stores. Once you've finished shopping, enjoy a meal at a restaurant or have a drink at a bar. Going out with friends is a favorite pastime in Chile, and fun nightspots in cities like Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Concepción,Valdivia and Puerto Montt are open every day of the week and are especially popular on the weekends. In the summertime, there's plenty activity in resort towns like Viña del Mar, Reñaca, Zapallar, Villarica, Pucón and Puerto Varas.
Chile features a number of world-class hot springs. Whether you prefer to be surrounded by trees in an idyllic southern landscape like Puyuhuapi, or amid snow-capped mountains in Chillán or Puyehue, relaxing after a long day of skiing, it will always do you good to treat yourself to a soak in a thermal pool or a hot rock massage. One of the best ways to keep your vacation worry-free is to make reservations at an all-inclusive resort where concerns like extra expenses and dinner reservations simply melt away.
Chilean wines are known the world over for their quality, variety and competitive prices. Some of the best wines in the world are produced in the country's central valleys. Try touring the wine routes, which are located in the Aconcagua,Casablanca, San Antonio-Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Curicó and Maule Valleys. The Elqui and Limarí Valleys produce exquisite white wines and pisco.
All of Chile's cities – and many of its towns – are home to interesting museums where you can learn about local history and culture, as well as beautiful churches and historic buildings. Chile is home to hundreds of museums dedicated to its history in general as well as its artists, writers, musicians, native peoples, historical figures and other subjects like cars, fashion, trains and nature. One recently inaugurated option near the city of Antofagasta is the Atacama Desert Museum. The museum can be found at the Ruins of Huanchaca in an imposing former silver foundry that now houses archeological and geological collections. In Santiago, a visit to the National History Museum will allow you to learn about the country’s Colonial and Independence eras through objects, clothing, furniture and documents. To learn more about the continent’s native peoples, visit Santiago’s Pre-Columbian Museum and take in its excellent collection. If you’re a fan of literature or have enjoyed the work of Pablo Neruda, you’ll love visiting the places where he wrote the poems that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. The poet’s three homes – in Valparaíso (La Sebastiana), Santiago (La Chascona) and Isla Negra – are now museums featuring collections that give insight into his personality and life story. Another winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gabriela Mistral, has a museum in her hometown of Vicuña, in the Elqui Valley. If you happen to be enjoying the beaches of La Serena, the museum is just a short trip away.
With 4,300 kilometers of coastline and a large number of islands, Chile has plenty to offer when it comes to beaches. The warmer climes of the northern regions are perfect for those who simply want to spread out their towel and enjoy the sun. Arica, Iquique,Antofagasta, Copiapó, La Serena and Coquimbo have warm-water beaches, dispelling the myth that only cold Pacific waters reach the Chilean coast. One of the most beautiful examples is La Virgen Beach in Caldera, north of Copiapó, which features fine white sands, turquoise waters, gentle swells and dune fields. Cifuncho, in Antofagasta, is less touristy and offers deep blue, crystalline waters, white sands and, best of all, a number of excellent fish and seafood restaurants. If you want to combine a beach trip with nature and wildlife, pay a visit to Las Tijeras on Damas Island off the coast of Coquimbo. The excellent visibility allows scuba divers to spot dolphins and penguins, and you can’t beat the tranquility of its white sands.
The big cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar have lively beaches with bigger waves, like those found at Reñaca. There are also more peaceful options, such as Algarrobo, Concón and Zapallar. Some of the coves south of Santiago have become popular among surfers, including Navidad and Matanzas. Chile’s surfing epicenter is Pichilemu. Southern Chile is home to more rustic beaches, with enormous forests providing the backdrop. The waters are cold and wild, and the sand is darker. You’ll find good examples of this on the outskirts of Valdivia and Chiloé and in Patagonia. There are also hundreds of lakeside beaches, such as those on Lake Villarrica(in Villarrica and Pucón). Along with the beaches at Lakes Ranco, Rupanco and Puyehue, they offer fun nautical outings and 100 percent natural relaxation. But the star attraction remains Anakena Beach on Easter Island. It combines tranquil waters and perfect temperatures, complete with palm trees and view of the mysterious Moai statues.
"Ethnic tourism" is a great way to discover and learn about a country's native cultures. In Chile's altiplano, inland from Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta, you can explore small towns where the inhabitants still practice the traditions of the Aymara culture (including colorful celebrations). Their daily life is a product of this culture's contact with the Incans and the Spanish conquistadors. You'll marvel at the area's churches, museums and archeological sites where you can learn more about pre-Columbian cultures.
Easter Island offers an opportunity to view the mysterious Moai statues and have direct contact with the Rapa Nui culture, which you can experience to the fullest during the Tapati Rapa Nui celebration that is held each February. Don't miss the old quarter of Valparaíso, which has been selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or regional festivities including the central regions' wine harvest, Quasimodo processions and rodeos and the La Tirana celebration in the Atacama Desert.
In the southern part of the country, you'll find organized ethnic tourism options in the areas surrounding Temuco and Osorno, where the Mapuche communities will show you their traditions and offer tours of the natural parks whose conservation they oversee. If you visit Chiloé, the locals will share their legends with you and let you partake of their culinary offerings. Don't miss the chance to visit the local churches, 16 of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The party of football takes place between June and July every year. The world's oldest tournament is held in Santiago, Rancagua, Valparaiso, Concepción, Temuco, Antofagasta, La Serena, Viña del Mar.
Winter Festival in Punta Arenas
Patagonia celebrates the winter. From June to late August, Punta Arenas celebrates this time of year with different activities, whose center Winter Carnival that takes place in July
Torrencial Valdivia Trail
This race challenges runners with a unique experience that will take you from Nature Sanctuary Carlos Anwandter in the sector Quitaqui to the Pacific Ocean, on the beach Pilolcura, combining exquisite scenic beauty on this route through the Valdivian Forest. With nearly 2,500 meters uphill, will test the mettle and the heart of the sport.
The biggest religious holiday in Chile, which is held every July 16 of each year in the Atacama Desert. The village of La Tirana dresses with color, music and religious fervor to celebrate the Virgen del Carmen.
Santiago Gets Louder
The best live rock and metal Festival . Santiago Gets Louder every September in Hangar Suricato, former Los Cerrillos Airport.
Valdivia International Film Festival
A platform that helps spreading the cinema for national and international filmmakers. Valdivia dresses for the most notorious of world cinema.
The Andes offer a number of trekking trails where you can marvel at the natural beauty of this small country, which practically hangs off the edge of the map. Options include northern altiplano treks at altitudes of over 4,000 meters, climbing circuits (of varying skill levels) at the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia, and paths leading through native forests on the island of Chiloé and northern Patagonia. Keeping with the mountain theme, the area surrounding Santiago and the southern part of the country are home to skiing and snowboarding runs that attract tourists from around the globe each year. With an endless array of rivers and lakes and an unusually long coastline, Chile is a premier destination for water sports like surfing, kayaking, rafting, scuba diving and fishing. The rivers and lakes of Patagonia offer world-class fly fishing thanks to their abundance of trout. Adventure seekers will find plenty of places to practice sandboarding, canopying, paragliding and other exciting sports throughout the country. If you're looking for something more peaceful, southern Chile is the place for you. Its lush forests, waterfalls and lakes are a delight for travelers looking to connect with nature in its purest form. Relax as you take in its canals lakes and volcanoes. Snapping photos will be your only care in the world.
Below please find a few initial ideas around family travel in Chile, with unique experiences from stargazing in the Atacama Desert to sampling traditional foods with the indigenous community of Lake Budi. Chile’s extraordinary geography also offers a variety of outdoor adventures for parents and children alike.
• OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Chile has a wide range of different landscapes which makes it the perfect place to cycle with the family. There are many routes with different levels of difficulty, some of which can be accessible for all the family members. Chile’s central and southern regions are home to a wide variety of ski centers which receive thousands of visitors each season (between June and October). With 4,300 kilometers of coastline, Chile is also a paradise for water sports, especially surfing. The central and southern regions are home to dozens of rivers where kayaking enthusiasts of all skill levels can practice this sport.
• STARGAZING: Northern Chile is home to one third of the planet's telescopes and is an international hotbed for the scientific pursuit of astronomy. Most observatories offer guided visits and have activities especially designed for kids, families and school visits.
• INDIGENOUS CULTURES: Chile has nine native ethnicities, the most populous of which is the Mapuche. Some destinations, such as Lake Budi, offer opportunities for visitors to explore these indigenous communities, with immersive activities such as sleeping in a hut or sampling traditional foods.
• ZOOS & SAFARIS: Chile has five zoos located throughout the country’s major cities, offering different activities like safaris, nighttime tours and exotic animal exhibitions.
You can find delicious products from the sea along the entire length of the Chilean coast. Fish like eel, corvina, grouper, reineta and salmon are used to make dishes like fried eel, baked corvina with seafood sauce, and salmon with capers. The coast also produces all kinds of seafood, including crab, sea urchin, razor clams, scallops and mussels, all of which can be prepared a number of ways. If you find yourself on the coast in Arica, Iquique, the beaches of Copiapó, La Serena, Valparaiso,Concón, Algarrobo, Valdivia or Angelmó, you simply have to sample these delicacies. In Chiloé, you can enjoy an abundance of oysters, while Easter Island is famous for its Polynesian fish. If you find yourself in the country's central valleys, try the empanadas (available in meat, cheese and seafood varieties), the generously portioned sandwiches, cazeula (a traditional stew), pastel del choclo (corn pie), humitas (steamed corncakes), porotos granados (bean stew), longanizas (sausages) and the variety of dishes made with beef and pork. All of this and more is available in Santiago, Santa Cruz, Talca, Chillán, Concepción and Osorno. Meanwhile, the cities of Valdivia, Osorno,Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Puerto Octay await you with exquisite German confections that form part of a tradition passed down by the colonists who came here in the 19th century. In Patagonia, you will find such non-traditional meats as boar and ostrich as well as the famed spit-roast lamb and spider crabs. For many Chileans, an important part of the dinner experience is the wine. Chile’s legendary vineyards produce some of the world’s finest wines; varietals range from the whites Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the Valleys of Limarí, Casablanca, Leyda and Bio Bio along with the red grapes Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from the valleys of Maipo, Colchagua, Maule and Curicó.
If you’re interested in monuments and architecture, don’t miss the port of Valparaíso, where the lovely Plaza Sotomayor features buildings known for their historical import and aesthetic value. Highlights include the Turri Clock Building, the El Mercurio Building, Palacio Ross and the Museum of Natural History (also known as Palacio Lyon). Make a trip to the Cementerio de los Disidentes on Cerro Panteón, which includes mausoleums of real historic and artistic significance. And this is just a fraction of what the city has to offer. Valparaíso is a master class in architectural styles. An entertaining tour of Santiago‘s iconic buildings includes Palacio La Moneda, with its water fountains and modern underground cultural center, the Cathedral, the Stock Exchange, the Museum of Fine Arts (built in 1910 in honor of the country’s Centennial), and the halls of the National Library. Have lunch at the Club del Unión or the Mercado Central and explore the Cementerio General, which holds the remains of some of Chile’s greatest historical figures. You can also take in a terrific view of the city from Cerro Santa Lucía, and enjoy an opera or dance performance at the Teatro Municipal. This tour will allow you to learn about some of Chile’s history and culture. A prominent landmark in southern Chile is the Malleco Viaduct, an enormous metallic railroad bridge. Also designed by Eiffel, it was built in France between 1886 and 1888. It was once considered the highest railroad bridge in the world. In Punta Arenas, Palacio Sara Braun was home to one of the most powerful women in the Patagonia during the 18th century. With frescoes on the ceilings, original furniture, sculptures and a marked European style, it now functions as a restaurant and hotel. Examples of modern architecture in Santiago include the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI), La Moneda Cultural Center and the Santiago Library. Southern Chile has the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Valdivia.
Chile is home to hundreds of museums dedicated to its history in general as well as its artists, writers, musicians, native peoples, historical figures and other subjects like cars, fashion, trains and nature. One recently inaugurated option near the city of Antofagasta is the Atacama Desert Museum. The museum can be found at the Ruins of Huanchaca in an imposing former silver foundry that now houses archeological and geological collections. In Santiago, a visit to the National History Museum will allow you to learn about the country’s Colonial and Independence eras through objects, clothing, furniture and documents. To learn more about the continent’s native peoples, visit Santiago’s Pre-Columbian Museum and take in its excellent collection. If you’re a fan of literature or have enjoyed the work of Pablo Neruda, you’ll love visiting the places where he wrote the poems that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. The poet’s three homes – in Valparaíso (La Sebastiana), Santiago (La Chascona) and Isla Negra – are now museums featuring collections that give insight into his personality and life story. Another winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gabriela Mistral, has a museum in her hometown of Vicuña, in the Elqui Valley. If you happen to be enjoying the beaches of La Serena, the museum is just a short trip away. In the mood for some Chilean art? Head to the National Museum of Fine Arts in the Santiago neighborhood of Lastarria. This spectacular building, which dates back to 1910, features works by Chilean artists Roberto Matta, Claudio Bravo and many others. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Parque Forestal (behind the Fine Arts Museum) and the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI) are just a few blocks away. In the neighborhood of Quinta Normal, you’ll find another MAC location as well as the interesting architecture of the Matucana 100 Cultural Center and the Santiago Library. The imposing Palacio La Moneda Cultural Center, located in the basement level of the house of government, is home to important seasonal collections that are presented against a modern architectural backdrop. Past exhibits have included the Terracotta Warriors, the finest selection of gold and silver from the museums of Latin America, the sackcloth works and paintings of Violeta Parra, and a host of other interesting international collections. It’s well worth taking a look at the schedule and planning a visit. The center also houses restaurants, cafés and a crafts store selling high-quality products. The capital is also home to museums you might not expect to find here, including the world-class Fashion Museum, which exhibits garments from different eras in Chile and other countries, including some worn by such notables as Elvis, Madonna and the Princess of Wales. There are also interesting seasonal exhibits. In the heart of the Colchagua Valley (known for its vineyards and tourist attractions), you’ll find the city of Santa Cruz and the Colchagua Museum. This museum boasts finely curated collections that include carriages, jewels, garments and trains. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Chile’s colonial era through soldiers’ uniforms, letters, everyday objects and much more on display. Well worth a visit. The archipelago of Chiloé is home to the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) and the Ancud Regional Museum, among others.
Wedged between the sea and the mountains, Chile has some tremendous natural riches, including 32 national parks and 36 reserves distributed throughout the country. On the border between the regions of Antofagasta and Atacama, you’ll find Pan de Azúcar National Park. It’s 43,000 hectares in size, 100 of which can be found on Pan de Azúcar Island (home to a Humboldt penguin colony), the Chatas Islets and rocks that jut out from the sea. Visitors can choose from beach camping areas, cabins and eco-tourism circuits, and see guanacos, culpeo foxes, seals, pelicans and the awe-inspiring condor. Rapa Nui National Park is located 3,700 km from mainland Chile on Easter Island. Given that it sits on the eastern extreme of Polynesia, it’s primarily accessed by plane. A number of trails let you take in the majesty of this mysterious island. In the same part of Pacific, you’ll find Juan Fernández National Park, which consists of Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Slekirk and Santa Clara Islands. More than 600 km from the port of San Antonio, this lost paradise is best known from the book Robinson Crusoe. Here you’ll find the largest quantity of native species of flora and fauna in the world, as well as activities like trekking (medium-high difficulty) and diving. Given the devastating effects of the tsunami of February 2010, we recommend checking in advance to see if the conditions are adequate for visiting and taking part in these activities. If you plan to travel along the Carretera Austral, check out Queulat National Park, a giant green space bisected by the Andes. It features countless trekking paths that allow you to appreciate the area’s beauty. Its biggest attraction is undoubtedly the glacier that hangs from the peak of Cerro Alto Nevado at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters.
One of the most popular entertainment destinations in Santiago is the downtown neighborhood of Bellavista, on the north shore of the Mapocho River. The area is filled with bars, restaurants, clubs, museums, theaters, art galleries, and handicrafts and souvenir shops. It’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The downtown area is also home to the neighborhoods of Bellas Artes and Lastarria, which feature fashionable bars and nightspots, some with live bands playing “cueca chora,” a rock-style variation on the national dance. Avenida Vitacura in the municipality of the same name features bars and pubs for all ages and tastes, most of which are open every day. In the summertime, their terraces fill with people looking to beat the heat with a refreshing cocktail. The municipality of Ñuñoa offers a far more relaxed scene that is perfect for music lovers who enjoy listening to live bands as they sip a frosty craft beer. The Plaza Ñuñoa area offers a wide variety of bars and pubs, as does Avenida Tobalaba in the neighborhood of Providencia.
Chile’s deliciously diverse culinary scene is designed to satisfy the most sophisticated palates. Whether travelers want to sample the tastiest local cuisine or spoil themselves with international delicacies from around the globe, they’ll find myriad options around the country. Chilean cuisine is a rich blend of ancestral traditions and ingredients used by the original indigenous people, combined with European trends and techniques. Popular recipes vary from north to south, and seafood is one of the regional favorites, thanks to Chile’s long Pacific Coastline. Mar, Reñaca, Zapallar, Villarica, Pucón and Puerto Varas. Restaurants offer everything from international haute cuisine to local specialties. Don't miss the "picadas," which serve up quality traditional fare at low prices.
Chile, a port country par excellence, is home to two “zonas francas,” or duty-free ports. They’re found at the opposite ends of the country, in Iquique (to the north) and Punta Arenas (to the south), and offer perfume and electronics at very reasonable prices. All of Chile’s main cities are home to large malls which offer a variety of shops, movie theaters, restaurants and cafés. They’re every bit the equal of their counterparts in the United States, and a number of them are found in Santiago. Certain Santiago neighborhoods have established themselves as unique shopping areas. For example, the international luxury brands are found on Calle Alonso de Córdova in the neighborhood of Vitacura, which also has a number of elegant boutiques and design shops. In the bustling neighborhood of Providencia, you’ll find a wide variety of shops offering music, books, design, fashion and crafts. Meiggs and Patronato have hundreds of stores that offer domestic and imported products available at low prices. If you’re in the market for handicrafts, head to the Pueblo de los Domínicos in Las Condes and the shops of Patio Bellavista in the heart of the city’s artsy district. The downtown areas of Bellas Artes and Lastarria have become highly fashionable in recent years, with a number of stores offering independent design and fine crafts. The small bay of Angelmó – located in Puerto Montt in southern Chile– hosts a large crafts fair where you can find products made with Chiloé wool, regional cheeses, smoked salmon and condiments, as well as a market featuring restaurants that serve traditional fare. On the island of Chiloé, Castro is home to a varied and extensive crafts fair where you can find all kinds of souvenirs, including wools, traditional island liquors and local fruit. In La Serena (in northern Chile), visit the famed Recova, a colonial building where merchants sell their wares. It now features a number of crafts stands and tourist-friendly restaurants. A perennial favorite is the La Serena papayas.
Canopying whether you find yourself near Santiago or in southern Chile, there are plenty of opportunities to try canopying, a sport that involves zipping through forests among the treetops, combining fun, adrenaline and an opportunity to appreciate the natural wonders that surround you. In Cajón del Maipo (15 km from Santiago), you can zoom along a line over the Maipo River at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour. The Viña del Mar Botanical Gardens offer both adult routes (which are about 1,500 meters long) and shorter children’s circuits. This activity is very popular in Pucón, Villiarica and Valdivia. In fact, the longest canopying circuit in South America is Pucón’s “El Cóndor,” a 3,500 meter long route with six stations and views of the Villarrica, Quetrupillán and Lanín Volcanoes and two lagoons.
Cycling Mountain biking is a favorite activity of tourists visiting Santiago. Surrounded by the Andes, the Chilean capital offers some of the best circuits around for this sport. The best areas for cycling are the country’s valleys, which provide exciting obstacles amid lush vegetation. Two of the most popular destinations for cyclists are Río Clarillo National Reserve in Pirque (45 km from Santiago) and the Aculeo Lagoon (68 km from the capital), which offers more than 40 km of optimal biking terrain. If you’re looking for a route in the city itself, Parque Metropolitano is a favorite among locals.
Diving Chile is paradise for scuba diving fans thanks to its varied ecosystems and despite the cold Pacific waters of its central and southern regions. Destinations within continental Chile, Iquique is known for its pleasant temperatures and weather conditions where diving can be practiced all year long. In calm waters you can find kelp forests, sea lions and attractive historic shipwrecks like the frigate Esmeralda and Independence. Near Coquimbo, in Punta de Choros, is located Damas Island with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Here you can dive with Humboldt penguins, otters and an occasional bottlenose dolphin. This site highlights the presence of a variety of schools, algae and a fish collection representative of central Chile. And as the waters of Iquique you can meet the wrecked Almirante Lynch and a labyrinthine path of rocks. In the Central Coast, in the Valparaíso Region, Los Molles beach highlights with great marine diversity. The seascape shows a beautiful mosaic of sponges. Also in the city of Valparaiso you can dive and meet a variety of algae, fish and sunken vessels. Easter Island is a wonderful diving destination. Its waters are temperate, clean and crystalline and offer terrific visibility (between 40 and 60 meters). Here you’ll find a wide variety of colorful native fish as well as underwater caves that attracted Jacques Cousteau himself. One of the area’s advantages is that there aren’t too many divers.
Fishing You can enjoy fishing practically all over Chile. There is a wide selection of specialized lodges which range from very simple to luxury accommodations with multi-day “all-inclusive” packages. While there are a number of perfect spots for fly-fishing, spinning and trolling are also popular techniques. Just choose your favorite and pick a destination. Patagonia is known around the world for its beauty and the quality of its fish. You’ll find plenty of accessible lakes and rivers that offer excellent fishing in places like the Reloncaví Sound (near Puerto Montt), Lake Yelcho, Puyuhuapi and on the outskirts of Coyhaique in Northern Patagonia.
Horseback Excursions Some of the best horseback excursions in Chile can be found in the northern regions, where you can ride through the areas surrounding San Pedro de Atacama (such Valle de la Luna) or altiplano destinations like the Atacama Salt Flat. You can also make a four-day trip to Elqui Valley to enjoy its rivers, oasis and the towering peaks of the Andes.
Kayaking Chile’s central and southern regions are home to dozens of rivers where kayaking enthusiasts of all skill levels can practice this sport. In the north, kayaking is done almost exclusively in the sea because of the region’s dry climate, which is not conducive to supporting fast rivers. Sea kayaking has earned a number of fans in places like Damas Island and the resort towns of Pichidangui and Los Molles.
Mountain Climbing From the country’s northern regions to legendary Patagonia, Chile offers hundreds of peaks for mountain climbing enthusiasts, including 50 volcanoes. For example, the Ojos del Salado Volcano, which sits 184 km east of Copiapó, is 6,893 meters high. Although it’s not quite as tall as Argentina’s Aconcagua, the highest mountain on the continent, it is an unforgettable adventure for even the most daring climbers. There’s also the perennially snow-capped Parinacota Volcano, which is known for its perfectly conical shape. You’ll find it in the altiplano’s Lauca National Park, which is also home to Lake Chungará and beautiful Aymara towns, and shared with Bolivia.
Skiing and Snowboarding Chile’s central and southern regions are home to a wide variety of ski centers which receive thousands of visitors each season (between June and October). You can go skiing or snowboarding for the day at one of the ski centers just outside Santiago or spend a few days at an all-inclusive hotel further south. If you’re looking for the best slopes in South America and Chile’s best-loved ski centers, simply travel 40 km east of Santiago and head into the Andes. Farellones, El Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado all feature hotels, restaurants, equipment rental services and runs for everyone from beginners to experts seeking “off-run” skiing.
Surfing and water sports With 4,300 kilometers of coastline, Chile is a paradise for water sports, especially surfing. In the country’s northern regions, the waves are short, tubular and crash over the rocks that line the coast. In the central and southern regions, they’re long, strong and perfect. To find them, just head to the country’s coastal cities, surfing towns and the legendary Easter Island or choose from a number of pristine, isolated beaches. In Arica (northern Chile), you can enjoy the internationally renowned El Gringo break. Iquique welcomes surfers with pleasant water temperatures and waves that break against a shallow reef. Cavancha Beach is the best-known destination here, facing the city’s seafront esplanade, where you can also enjoy windsurfing, sailing and water skiing.
Sandboarding Sandboarding is becoming more popular in the country’s central and northern regions, which offer large dunes with fine sands and majestic views. Best of all, the sport is still so new that you won’t have to deal with hordes of tourists. The best known place for practicing this sport is Valle de la Muerte, located 2 km from San Pedro de Atacama, where local agencies provide sandboards, guides and transportation to gigantic dunes of fine sand. The slopes allow you to reach high speeds and offer the unique colors and textures of the Atacama Desert at sundown. You can also surf the dunes by starlight.
Some other sports include rafting, regattas, trekking and kayaking!