From lakes to volcanoes, desert and wine country, a visit to Chile is not complete without experiencing disparate climates and landscapes across this narrow stretch of South American coast. Here, a 14-day journey covers spectacular natural sights, city culture and an exploration of Easter Island—a breathtaking South Pacific island destination.
Start in the Lakes Region, which lies south of Chile’s capital, Santiago. Here, visitors will find forests, small towns and countless lakes amid a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. The region is home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Mapuche Indians, and boasts abundant culture and deep history.
Next, continue to the Atacama Desert, to the north, which is among the most dry, desolate locations in the world. It’s also home to geological marvels such as salt flats, lagoons, thermal pools, geysers and marshes; and an array of wildlife that inhabits such an arid climate. Here, experience views of the Andean Altiplano—or the high plains where the Andes Mountains are widest—as well as the small town of San Pedro de Atacama, the archaeological capital of Chile.
Continue to Santiago for the Chile’s ultimate urban experience, where visitors explore the city’s unique intersection of modern and classic, both in terms of architecture and experience. The city is home to nearly a third of Chile’s entire population, which presents a bustling, big-city atmosphere and many opportunities for those exploring Santiago for the first time, or a repeat visit. Here, explore the city’s neighborhoods, and districts, or “comunas,” as well as a day trip to the colorful port town of Valparaiso. From museums and restaurants to pubs, Santiago offers a diverse yet classic South American city experience.
Journey next to Easter Island, a solitary South Pacific destination located 2,300 miles off the Chilean coast. The Island is known for having some of the clearest waters on the planet as well as a truly mysterious culture defined by hundreds of Moai, or giant statues sculpted from rock, as well as music and traditions kept alive by the island’s longstanding inhabitants. Visitors can explore the island via treks, bicycle rides, and ocean explorations from snorkeling to fishing and boating.