Antofagasta is a seaport and capital of the ‘Second Region of Chile’. Due to its great mineral wealth Antofagasta is called ‘The Pearl of the North’. Its landscape is dominated by the Pacific Ocean and the immensity of the Atacama Desert - the driest in the World. Today, the economy is mainly based on the exploitation of various minerals, especially copper and a promising future for its deposits of Lithium, one of the largest in the World. The city is however not all high-rise concrete and gridlocked streets. The old-fashioned plaza is a pleasure to kick back in, and evidence of the golden nitrate era can be found in the wooden-fronted Victorian and Georgian buildings of the coastal Barrio Histórico.
CAPE HORN (CABO DE HORNOS)
Cabo de Hornos, is a Chilean commune located in the south of Tierra del Fuego archipelago, in Antártica Province, Magallanes Region. The municipality of Cabo de Hornos, located in the town of Puerto Williams, also administers the Antártica commune. Cape Horn is a rocky headland on Hornos Island surrounded by wild seas off the southern tip of South America where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet. The albatross-shaped Cape Horn Monument commemorates the lives of thousands of seafarers who perished attempting to sail around the cape. A secluded lighthouse and the tiny Stella-Maris Chapel are nearby.
Chile Chico is a town in Chilean Patagonia occupying the windy southern shore of Lago General Carrera. A sunny microclimate makes it a pleasant oasis on the steppe. It sits on the southern shore of General Carrera Lake, which is ringed by glaciers and mountains. In the lake is the Capilla de Mármol Natural Sanctuary, a series of marble formations sculpted by the water, known as the Marble Chapel. Southwest of town, Lago Jeinimeni National Reserve is home to condors and guanacos. Chile Chico is near the Río Jeinimeni border crossing with Argentina.
The Chiloé Archipelago is a group of islands lying off the coast of southern Chile, in the Los Lagos Region, separated from mainland Chile by the Chacao Channel. Chiloé Island, the main island in the archipelago is home to pastoral landscapes and is known for its iconic wooden churches built by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the Church of Chonchi. The northwest coast, where blue whales gather, also has the 3 islets Islotes de Puñihuil, Natural Heritage Site, a Magellanic and Humboldt penguin breeding ground. A land of myths and legends, unique folklore and culinary traditions, Chiloé is like entering a magical world blessed in nature and culture. Discover its quaint palafitos (colourful houses built on stilts above the water) and enjoy the wit and warmth of the Chilote people whose traditions give this unique archipelago its inimitable character.
Culture, adventure and a paradise destination to rest are just a part of what awaits you on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Visit the Rapa Nui National Park to see the ancient moai, declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Rest on its pink, sandy beaches and discover its volcanoes and prairies on your bike, on horseback or on foot. Find the most absolute silence in the island’s caverns, explore the ocean flora and fauna diving in its warm waters or go surfing in its waves. Few areas in the world possess a more mystical pull than this tiny speck of land, one of the most isolated places on Earth. It's hard to feel connected to Chile (over 3700km to the east) let alone the wider world. Endowed with the most logic-defying statues on the planet Easter Island emanates a magnetic, mysterious vibe. Although Easter Island is world famous, everything remains small and personable – it's all about ecotravel.
GARIBALDI FJORD AND GLACIER
A prime specimen of the region, Garibaldi Fjord is known for its beautiful glaciers, which rise as tall as New York skyscrapers. The glaciers extend across a series of steep mountains and valleys, but they still harbour a rich ecosystem of plants and wildlife. Garibaldi is one of the glaciers in the stretch of the Beagle Channel that is known as Glacier Alley.
LAKES CROSSING (FROM CHILE)
The Andean Lakes Crossing is the most scenic way to travel from Chile to Argentina. This spectacular crossing of the Andes lakes takes you through lakes and mountain passes that can either be made from Puerto Varas (Chile) to Bariloche (Argentina) or Bariloche to Puerto Varas. Travel through mountain passes by bus and cruise over pristine lakes by boat on this spectacular crossing of the Andes, from Puerto Varas to Bariloche. Your day trip takes you across three Andean lakes – Nahuel Huapi, Frías and Todos los Santos – with gorgeous views of Cerro Tronador and Chile’s Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
Della Pia Glacier is a glacier that descends the east slope of Craddock Massif and flows between Mount Mohl and Elfring Peak into Thomas Glacier in the Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica. This huge glacier (about the size of Santiago Chiles capital city) lies in a fjord along the Chilean Patagonia coast in a secluded spot and is one of the longest glaciers in the southern hemisphere. It is in the north-west arm of the Beagle Channel and lies on the Darwin Range. It is an advancing glacier, meaning that the ice is building up and moving outward faster than it's lost. Pia Glacier is only accessible from the sea.
If you choose to visit southern Chile's ominous volcanoes, celestial glacial lakes and mountainous national parks, you will most likely be visiting Puerto Montt, the capital of the Lakes District and the region's commercial and transportation hub. This gritty port city (salmon farming is its main business) lies in one of the less touristy corners of the Chilean Lake District, but is a gateway to many wonders, and has some good restaurants and an authentic fish market.
Puerto Natales is 250km northwest of Punta Arenas and has some striking views out over the mountains. It is the capital of the province of Última Esperanza and the southern terminus of a trip through the Chilean fjords. A formerly modest fishing port on Seno Última Esperanza, Puerto Natales has blossomed over recent years. Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres del Paine national park (50 miles north). It is a small town that can be easily be explored on foot. Founded in 1911 as a hub for local estancias, there are still a few interesting wood and corrugated iron buildings dating from the early days. Horseback rides close to town can be arranged, and there are a few places to rent bicycles.
Puerto Varas offers a great choice of open-air adventures and distinctive Chilean-German traditions. It is an enchanting town with a sweeping lakeside promenade and magnificent views of the distant volcanoes from the shores of peaceful Lake Llanquihue (volcano Osorno and volcano Calbuco). Dubbed the ‘City of the Roses’, explore lovely, compact Puerto Varas on foot, the best way to take in views of Osorno Volcano and the wooden colonial homes built by German immigrants in the early 1900s. Located on the shores of Lago Llanquihue (Chile's second-largest lake) the village serves as an excellent base for fly-fishing, white-water rafting, horseback riding and sea kayaking excursions.
Located on the edge of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas is a strange combination of the ruddy and the grand, with elaborate wool-boom mansions and port renovations alongside urban sprawl. With port and sheep-breeding history, the gateway into Antarctica offers clean air and sophisticated European architecture. Take a boat or a kayak along the Magellan Straits and see the penguins on Magdalena Island. Visit Tierra del Fuego and discover the best kept secrets of the Kawesqar and Selk’nam people, indigenous to the southernmost part of Chile. Punta Arenas’ cemetery is good to visit - beautiful gardens bring elegance to the tombs of historical characters of the area. In the Main Square the Statue of the Indian is waiting for you to kiss or touch its feet, which people say means you will be back!
Situated along the western seaboard of South America, Chile extends approximately 2,700 miles (4,300 km) from its boundary with Peru, to the tip of South America at Cape Horn and only about 400 miles north of Antarctica.
Travel to Chile and you will discover one of the safest and most relaxing countries in South America. The public transport is comfortable and runs on time; its people polite and respectful. Above all, though, visitors travel to Chile for its beautiful landscapes. The population is concentrated to the major cities, which leaves vast tracts of scarcely touched wilderness to explore and is also one of the best places in the world for star gazing.
In the Chilean capital, Santiago, you will find monuments, museums and restaurants. Whilst on the popular Central Coast, the port of Valparasio provides a contrasting bohemian vibe. Chile’s largest beach resort Vina del Mar could not be more different, with high-rises, casino and seafront restaurants.
South of Santiago you will find the lush Central Valley with its many orchards and vineyards. This is where the best vintages, including Carmenere, Chiles signature grape, is found.
Venturing further south lies Patagonia, a land of bleak windswept plains boarded by the magnificent granite spires of the Torres del Paine massif. A true magnet for climbers and hikers.
Not forgetting Chiles two pacific gems, Easter Island – one of the most remote places on earth and the little visited Isla Robinson Crusoe, part of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, with its dramatic volcanic peaks and wealth of endemic wildlife.
When to Visit
Spring (September to November) is beautiful and one of the best times to visit Chile. The daytime temperature can be hot, but occasional overcast skies and biting winds can make it quite chilly.
Summer (December to February) in Patagonia is sublime with dazzling vantage points from almost every angle, emerald lakes below and azure glaciers above. Temperatures are high making this an ideal time to flock to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. In the peak months of January and February many visitors journey to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. It is best to make travel plans well in advance.
Autumn (March and April) is a pleasant time to visit Chile, particularly as the temperature makes exploration conditions more comfortable. This is also a good time of year to visit Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego to see the beech groves as their leaves change colour.
Winter (June to August) is a perfect time for eager skiers to hit the slopes in the Lake District, north of Southern Chilean Patagonia. Blizzards can cut off towns in Patagonia in winter, and many places in the region close from April to October. Temperatures in the north of the country are generally pleasant at this time of year, with July being the wettest month.
The Chilean unit of currency is the peso (CH$). Bank notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 pesos. Coin values are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos, although one peso coins are fast disappearing, and even 5 and 10s are uncommon.
Carry small bills with you and it can be difficult to change large bills in rural areas. Paying a bill with US cash is sometimes acceptable, especially at tour agencies (check their exchange rate carefully). Many top-end hotels publish rates in US dollars with a lower exchange rate than the daily one. It's best to pay all transactions in pesos.
ATMs are widely available and known as redbanc. This is the easiest way to access funds and transaction fees can be high. Note that not all foreign cards work in the ATMs. Bring more than one option with you and be sure to alert your home bank that you are traveling in Chile.
Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, major shops, and restaurants.
Visas and Vaccinations
You must have all visas (and vaccination) certificates that are necessary to enter or pass through Chile.
Visa requirements are subject to change so please check with a Visa Service Company in the country in which you are located, or you can check details online instantly with companies such as CIBT Visas (https://cibtvisas.co.uk/. Visas can be obtained through the relevant embassy or consulate.
General Note: Some countries refuse admission to travellers not meeting their accepted standards of dress or appearance (even if they hold a visa). Entry may also be refused to certain countries if your passport bears stamps or visas (valid or expired) for Israel.
A useful general health advice website for travellers is http://www.who.int/ith/en/ and there are also advice sites in individual countries.
Please note it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct, current visa and vaccination information and that you act on it.
Easter Island entry law:
The new law regulates the right of entry to the island to foreigners (not Rapa-Nui people), allowed only with previously booked accommodation (minimum 1 night / maximum 30) in a hotel or establishment registered by SERNATUR.
All passengers visiting the island must fill out the Unique Entry Form (FUI) online before their trip indicating the hotel where they will be staying and their registration number. You will receive your confirmation by mail which you must present at the Investigation Police Department (PDI) at the airport. The procedure is per person and you can show it on your mobile/cell phone, in addition to presenting your entry and exit ticket.
PASSENGERS WHO DO NOT FILL OUT THE FORM WILL BE DENIED ENTRY