Aysen, Chile

marble-caves-aysen-chile

The Aysen region is one of the great undiscovered destinations of Chilean Patagonia.

Here you will find the world renowned white-water of the Futaleufu river, the marble caves on Lake General Carrera, the San Rafael Glacier, the Quelat Hanging Glacier and stunning scenery.

This part of the country is the least densely populated, so if you want to get away from the crowds this is the place to come.

Access has always been difficult to the region – the principal airport Balmaceda and it was only opened up less than 30 years ago, with the construction of the Austral Road from north to south.


Central Coast of Chile

Valparaiso Central Coast of Chile

The central coast is a rugged coastline very reminiscent of California – here you will find a string of small fishing coves, holiday towns and cities.

The ramshackle city of Valparaiso, with its colourful houses perched on the hills overlooking the bay, is a cultural icon, with its Museum home of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean Nobel prize-winning poet.

The coastal town of Zapallar is a great place to get away from it all and recharge the batteries.

The Humboldt current means cold water temperatures and currents that are not conducive to sea swimming, but does provide some of the best seafood in the world.

There are plenty of seabirds, including pelicans, and seals as well as sea lions.

 


Chile, Atacama desert

Valle de La Luna Atacama Chile

The Atacama desert covers the northern quarter of Chile.

Said to be the driest in the world it is a melting pot of earthy tones ( red, yellow, purples, browns etc ), amazing rock formations, stunning mountains and volcanoes, flamingo speckled salt flats and some of the clearest skies on the planet.

San Pedro de Atacama is the ideal base to explore the nearby geysers, hot springs, salt flats, lakes, and at night be amazed by the star studded skies.

Those after adventure can pass the time trekking, biking, horse riding and exploring.

For a bit of culture the pre Columbian museum, colonial churches and pre Columbian archaeological sites will keep one fascinated and for the nature enthusiast the scenery, wildlife and environment won’t disappoint.


Chile Lake District

Osorno Volcano Lake District Chile

The Chilean Lake district is an area of snow capped volcanoes that overlooks pristine lakes surrounded by forests and rolling countryside.

The Northern gateway is Temuco Airport. A short drive is Villarrica Lake overlooked by the volcano of the same name. The monkey puzzle tree is autochthonous to the region and can be found all over particularly in Conguillio National park.

The town of Pucon is a great base from which to explore the nearby National parks, hot springs, Mapuche indigenous settlements and for the more adventurous rafting, canopy, trekking and climbing.

In the middle of the region you will find the private Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, a protected area of Patagonian cold rain forest.

The Southern sector, whose gateway is Puerto Montt, is dominated by Lake Llanquihue and the conical Osorno Volcano.

A popular base is the town of Puerto Varas on the lake shore from where one can visit the local beauty spots or set off on adventures that include biking, kayak, trekking, rafting and much more.

This area combines very well with the Argentine Lake district and the towns of Bariloche and San Martin de Los Andes.


Chilean Patagonia

The Horns in Torres del Paine National Park Chile

Chilean Patagonia is a pristine wilderness of fjords, glaciers, plains, mountains and forests.

Southern Patagonia’s main attraction is the Torres del Paine National park. The granite spires attract many visitors to what some have called the 8th Wonder of the World. The park is a trekkers paradise with two classic treks, the Paine W and the Paine Circuit.

Northern Patagonia, the Aysen region,  is one of the least populated parts of the country and is blessed with spectacular countryside.

The main airport is Balmaceda near the city of Coyhaique and must see places include Lake General Carrera and the Marble Caves, The San Rafael Glacier,  the Quelat Hanging Glacier as well as driving the Austral Road.

The Futaleufu River is a must for white water enthusiasts.

The region also offers great horseback opportunities as well as kayaking ones. Nature enthusiasts can admire the impressive scenery, imposing glaciers and fascinating wildlife and flora.


Puerto Natales, Chile

monument-to-the-wind-puerto-natales

Puerto Natales has the feel of a small frontier town.

Located on the banks of the Last Hope Sound this town had its origins in the shipping out of lamb from the local estancias.

Now it is the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park and boasts an impressive selection of accommodation and restaurants.

Nearby attractions include the Milodon Cave and a full day sailing tour to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers.

If you have time it’s worth trekking to the top of the nearby Dorotea hill for a spectacular view of the surrounding country side.


Santiago, Chile

Santiago Chile

Santiago, Chile’s vibrant capital sits in the middle of this thin long country flanked by some of the highest peaks of the Andes.

The city reflects the prosperity of the Chilean economy with a modern architecture particularly in the east of the city.

However there is still plenty for traditionalist to explore in the centre of the city including the Moneda Palace, Cathedral, Central Market with its array of fish restaurants and the pre-Columbian Museum.

There are lots of day trips nearby, from vineyard visits to Valparaiso, making Santiago a great base from which to explore.


Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

torres-del-paine-np-chile-patagonia

The granite spires of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are one of the great draws to Patagonia.

The Horns of Paine and the Towers of Paine look down on a network of valleys and lakes punctured by the odd glacier, which are a trekker’s paradise.

There are two classic treks, the Paine W and the more challenging Paine Circuit.

As well as the spectacular scenery the flora and fauna are great attractions and you will find many herds of guanacos as well as rheas, the odd Pudu – a rare miniature deer.

And if you are lucky, even a puma.


Vineyards of Chile

horse riding wine region Chile

Chile is home to world famous wines and vineyards.

Its wine country surrounds the Metropolitan region of the capital, Santiago, making visits easy.

Many wineries can be visited as day trips from Santiago or there is the option to stay in a winery or hotel in the wine country.

The Colchagua Valley, a 3-hour drive from the city, has become a popular destination with a good offer of hotels in and around the town of Santa Cruz.

There are opportunities for visits to the wineries with tours of the production facilities and tastings. Mountain bike and horse back rides are also an option.

This part of Chile’s is also the heartland of Chiles rural traditions and the Chilean Huaso – cowboy and its traditional dances and music.


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