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Chile Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 221

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Chile, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Capital Santiago
Language Spanish
Time Difference -4 hours
Currency Chilean Peso
Voltage 220V

Chile boasts a landscape of contrasts, from the desert terrain of the Atacama in the north, to the lush forests, snow-capped volcanoes, fjords and glaciers of Patagonia in the far south. Amidst these diverse environs is a unique culture, home to a proud and charming population who are predominantly Mestizo (of Native American and European, mainly Spanish, descent).

Chile’s attractions are equally varied, from stargazing in the driest desert in the world, to visiting magical islands shrouded in legend or tasting delicious wines in breathtaking modern vineyards. Though combining perfectly with Argentina or even Antarctica, Chile is also a destination that demands extensive exploration in its own right.

Highlights+
Santiago

Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, Chile's fabulous cosmopolitan capital, Santiago, is one of South America’s most enticing cities. French-Colonial and Spanish Baroque architecture serve as a backdrop to jazz clubs, theatres, a cathedral, Bellas Art Museum and the Lastarria neighbourhood, with its galleries, restaurants and coffee shops. Santiago is surrounded by the fertile valleys that produce the region's most famous bounty – wine! Local wine-making traditions stretch back to conquistador times and there are several wine routes to explore in the world-renowned Maipo Valley, with vineyard tours and tastings for true connoisseurs.

Easter Island

Otherwise known as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is the world's most remote inhabited island. Its strong Polynesian colonial heritage is celebrated annually during the February Tapati Festival. With gorgeous pink sand beaches, volcanoes and deserted caves, the island enjoys a warm, sub-tropical climate year-round. Easter Island's mysterious statues, carved out of volcanic rock some time between 1250 and 1500AD, are believed to symbolise the sacred ancestors of its Polynesian inhabitants. Each of the nine-hundred sculptures is unique and ranges in size from two to twenty metres. Today, just 2,000 residents inhabit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Torres Del Paine National Park

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Torres del Paine National Park, near Punta Arenas, is a peaceful, rural wonderland of colossal granite peaks, snow-clad mountains and glacier-fed lakes. Formed at least twelve-million years ago, this unique landscape offers seventeen hours of sunlight per day in the summer months. The park is ideal for exploring by car and on foot, with 97 kilometres of roads winding through the dramatic scenery and a number of hiking trails. The park is home to multiple species of mammals and birdlife, including the puma, rhea, Andean Condor, flamingo and guanaco, Chile's version of the llama.

Puerto Montt

The bustling port city of Puerto Montt has a German colonial heritage, with notable architecture including the Llanquihue Bank building, Inmaculada Cocepcion School and numerous ornate local residences. For further cultural discovery, there is an art gallery and museum, while culinary enthusiasts will enjoy the fantastic, abundant seafood under the shadow of the Calbuco Volcano. Widely available, cancato (a seafood stew) and Erizo sea urchins are two delicious and popular local dishes on offer.

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas sits on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, majestically overlooked by snow-capped volcanoes. Known as the City of Roses, its flower-lined streets are ideal for exploring on foot, stopping off to refuel with a local beer and perhaps a Lomito, a traditional sliced pork sandwich popular among the Chilean people. It’s also a great place to shop for handicrafts, handmade chocolates and woven items, as well as for discovering the local history, including the 19th century homesteads of German settlers, antique churches and museums.

Atacama Desert

Renowned for spectacular salt pans, broad valleys and ancient history, Chile’s world-famous Atacama Desert is also one of the best places in the southern hemisphere to star-gaze, due to its dry air, clear skies and three-hundred cloudless nights per year. This stark terrain is an internationally important location for the mining industry and for scientific study, home to hi-tech observatories and a third of the world’s telescopes. The colourful village of San Pedro de Atacama is the archaeological capital of Chile, where visitors can marvel at soaring volcanoes, lava fields and rolling dunes, set against a backdrop of endless sky.

Patagonia

Patagonia, in remote southern Chile, is a spectacular area with endless attractions to discover. Tierra del Fuego is perfect for fly-fishing and is arguably the world’s best destination for trout fishing in rivers and lakes. From October to March, the Straight of Magellan has a thriving colony of Magellanic Penguins and it’s also a great place to whale-watch. The wilderness area northwest of Punta Arenas offers mountain-climbing, horse-riding, rafting and the chance to explore spectacular ice fields and the mountainous terrain around Torres del Paine National Park.

Valparaiso

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002, Valparaiso is Chile's largest and oldest port, dating back to 1536. Prettily surrounded by a collection of verdant hills that wind their way down to the coastline, the town comprises a jumble of multi-coloured houses in a tangle of narrow cobblestoned streets. The best views are at Mirador Diego Portales, to the east of the city, which is as popular with today's travellers as it was historically, when artists, poets and philosophers were drawn to the city by its imperfect beauty.

Travel Gems+

Equine Adventure
Explora Patagonia, in Punta Arenas, offers varied horse-riding excursions. The property has its own stable of 26 horses and, along with exploring the nearby lagoons, waterfalls and ancient forests, it is possible to ride alongside gauchos - Chilean cowboys - assisting with shearing sheep, driving livestock and even breaking in horses.

Explora Rapa Nui
A collection of half or full-day explorations can be enjoyed on magical Easter Island, accompanied by English-speaking guides. This may include a half-day exploring the famous Moai statues or incorporate longer mountain-biking trips, trekking or half-day boat trips with fishing, using traditional techniques.

Vicente Perez National Park
Lovers of rural scenery and the outdoors gravitate to Puerto Varas. The nearby Osorno Volcano - in Vicente Perez National Park, 60 kilometres from Puerto Varas - provides diverse leisure pursuits from trekking and hiking, to mountain-biking and bird-watching.

Lake Titicaca
The Altiplano is home to the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca – the birthplace of the sun in Andean legend. Ornithologists are attracted by the approximately 160 species of birds in this epic, remote landscape, while the wide-open spaces are perfect for a dreamy nocturnal star-gazing tour with a local guide.

Polo and Wine
Chile has a long equine history, which visitors can sample during a thrilling polo game or horse race at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago. For hotel guests, a private vineyard tour with wine-tasting can be arranged to sample top-class local wines in one of the most upwardly mobile South American wine regions.

Climate+

Chile is a very narrow, long country, measuring almost 3,000 miles in length and an average of only 112 miles in width, and as such, it has several different climates. In fact, the only climate you won't find in Chile is a humid, tropical one. Much of the country is mountainous (which also contributes to the varied weather patterns), with the eastern side home to the Andes mountains. In the north, the temperatures can be very hot during the day and very cold at night, with the desert landscape receiving hardly any rain (northern Chile is one of the driest regions in the world and the Atacama Desert is the world's most arid, whose average rainfall is no more than 15mm per year). The southern third of the country comprises rugged, mountainous terrain, dense forest and a cool, wet climate with snow on higher ground, however, the Punta Arenas region in the far south, boasts low annual rainfall as it is sheltered by the southern Andes. By contrast, the central belt of Chile has a Mediterranean climate with virtually no rain and warm temperatures in the Chilean summer (from October to April) and mild, changeable weather in the Chilean winter (from May to September). Generally speaking, the further south you go, the colder and rainier it becomes, with abundant snow in winter as you venture closer to Antarctica.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Chile.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January261
February252
March234
April1915
May1635
June1386
July1392
August1472
September1632
October2021
November2311
December252

Getting There+

Flight Information
British Airways direct from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo.
Via Madrid with Iberia Airlines from London Heathrow to Santiago.
Via Paris with Air France from London Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh to Santiago.*
Onward connecting flights with LAN and TAM Linhas Aereas from Sao Paulo to Santiago.

Flight Time
From London Heathrow to Sao Paulo: 11 hours, 40 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Sao Paulo to Santiago: 5 hours, 30 minutes.
From London Heathrow to Madrid: 2 hours, 25 minutes. London Heathrow to Paris: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Onward long-haul connecting flights from Madrid to Santiago: 14 hours, 30 minutes.
From Paris to Santiago: 15 hours, 10 minutes.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk

Health+

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/

In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.

Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net, www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

Talk to our Americas Experts

Our dedicated Americas Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Chile. Furthermore, we have 1 Travel Consultant who has personally visited Chile and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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