Chile is nature on a colossal scale, but travel here is surprisingly easy. Your trip can be as hardcore or as pampered as you like, but you'll always feel welcome.
Meet A Land of Extremes
Preposterously thin and unreasonably long, Chile stretches from the belly of South America to its foot, reaching from the driest desert on earth to vast southern glacial fields. It's nature on a symphonic scale. Diverse landscapes unfurl over a 4300km stretch: parched dunes, fertile valleys, volcanoes, ancient forests, clear rivers, massive glaciers and fjords. For the traveler, there's wonder in every detail. Trace the sculpted contours of a glacier, watch a condor skate from crumbling cliffs or scramble up the Andes to scan a full 360 degrees without a human mark. And it's boggling to think how so much has stayed intact for so long. The very human quest for development could imperil these treasures sooner than we think. For now, Chile guards parts of our planet that remain the most pristine, and they shouldn't be missed.
La Buena Onda
In Chile, close borders foster intimacy. No matter where you go, it feels a little like a backyard. Bookended by the Andes and the Pacific, the country averages just 175km wide. No wonder you start greeting the same faces. Kick back in one place and it starts to feel like home. Perhaps it's because you have landed at the end of the continent, but one thing that stands out is hospitality. Buena onda (good vibes) means putting forth a welcoming attitude. While in many destinations on the globe the traveler might feel like a commodity, here you are still a guest. In the city, diners linger over table conversations and bottles of wine. Patagonians share round upon round of maté tea. These rituals – of relating and relaxing – are so integral to the fabric of local life, that they are hardly even noticed. But they do say one thing: stay and let your guard down.
In Chile, adventure is what happens on the way to having an adventure. Pedal the chunky gravel of the Carretera Austral and end up sharing ferries with SUVs and oxcarts, taking a wrong turn and finding heaven in an anonymous orchard. Plans may be made, but try being just as open to experience. Set out to find sweeping desert solitude, climb craggy Andean summits or wander the sacred forests of poet Pablo Neruda. Surf, paddle or sail your way up or down the seemingly endless coast. Explore the mysteries of Easter Island, stargaze, soak in natural hot springs or watch glaciers calve. Then if you can stay still long enough, Chile might regale you with a moment of clarity.
Best places to stay in Chile
Chile & Easter Island travel guide
Chile is nature on a symphonic scale. Diverse landscapes unfurl over a 4300km stretch: parched dunes, fertile valleys, volcanoes, ancient forests, clear rivers, massive glaciers and fjords.
Driving through the wilderness on Chile's Carretera Austral
The Carretera Austral begins where Chile’s Lakes District ends, snaking south for 1240km into a land of dense forests, snow-tipped mountains, glacial streams, islands and swift-flowing rivers. When you hear the term 'Southern Highway', you might imagine an orderly, well-paved route through the wilderness. You'd be wrong...
Chile's best bars
Chile's top hiking spots
Chile & Easter Island - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Chile & Easter Island starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on outdoor activities in Chile and travelling with children.
Exploring Argentina and Chile by bus
First-time visitors to the southern cone of South America arrive in Buenos Aires or Santiago with visions of glaciers, waterfalls, penguin colonies, vineyards, the baby whales off the Patagonian coast and the dramatic spires of Torres del Paine...
Chile's top wineries
Chile & Easter Island - Northe Chico (Chapter)
Caught between the ocean and the Andes, Chile’s Norte Chico, or Little North, is unique unto itself. La Serena, a coastal colonial capital is a must-see for anybody visiting. Elqui Valley is home to pisco producers and cutting-edge...
Torres del Paine Circuit
A classic trek around the dramatic Towers of Paine
Cousino Macul and Concha y Toro Wineries Day Trip from Santiago
Discover the 'New World of Wine' in Chile and visit two of the oldest and most historic wineries in the country on a full day guided tour from Santiago. Chile has established itself as an emerging producer of great wines and today is your chance to visit some of the most popular wineries leading the way.
Best adventure travel ideas
If you're after an outdoor adventure, look no further. In this excerpt from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, we bring you the white-knuckle tour of six continents. 1...
Chile & Easter Island - Tierra Del Fuego (Chapter)
At the southern extreme of the Americas, the immense Fuegian wilderness, with its slate-gray seascapes, murky crimson bogs and wind-worn forests, endures as awesome and irritable as in the era of exploration. Shared by Chile and Argentina, this...