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Chile

"You have to be thin in Chile," the American journalist John Gunther once said, "otherwise you fall off". But this long, thin country - 4,350 kilometres long but never more than 180 kilometres wide - is also a land of tremendous contrasts and adventures. [See Chile itinerary ideas]

Chile tours provide the chance to take in some of the country's many travel highlights, which range from superb wine-growing lands and breathtaking desert terrain, to beautiful mountain lakes and some of South America's most captivating cities.

Chile's eastern flank is dominated by the South American continent's rugged spine, the Andes mountains, where alpacas and trekkers roam amid stunning scenery. To the west is the Pacific Ocean, in which the far-off speck of Easter Island - Rapa Nui - is Chile's most remote outpost. Towards Chile's northern tip, meanwhile, is another geographical extreme, the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, a hotbed of mining but also of adventure travel.

Finally, travel to Chile's southern extreme and you'll be confronted with the vastly different, but equally dramatic landscapes of Chilean Patagonia - with its enormous glaciers, deep fjords and wind-swept channels where vast penguin colonies and large numbers of whales, seals and seabirds can be sighted on expedition cruises. The Torres del Paine National Park and the Lake District are two of the most popular attractions on a luxury cruise route that continues to the continent's wild, southernmost tip, Tierra del Fuego.

WEXAS Travel brochure for Chile

Chile and Easter Island

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

The climate in Chile varies dependent on location. The country stretches from glaciers to tropics, coast to mountaintops; impossible to ignore when considering when to travel.

The south is best visited in the summer months (late-November to March) when temperatures are more pleasant and longer days add a magical feel to the lakes and plains. Long days also allow travellers extra time for outdoor pursuits. The shoulder seasons, spring and autumn, are also pleasant, but heavy weather in the winter isolates some towns and villages and makes some roads impassable.

By contrast, the north and the Atacama Desert are best during winter, spring and autumn and though summer is also fine, be wary of high temperatures, which often break into the 40s. Night time temperatures in the Atacama Desert are bitterly cold year round. In the far north, a regular afternoon downpour occurs in the summer months and though this rarely scuppers plans, it's easy to avoid by travelling in the shoulder seasons.

Predictably perhaps, Middle Chile is best during those middle seasons - spring and autumn, September to late-November, February to early-May respectively.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
 BEST TIME
 GOOD TIME
 SOME LIMITATIONS

Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Santiago

Size - 756,002 sq km

Language - Spanish

Population - 17.3 million

Religion - Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Jehovah's Witnesses

Currency - Chilean peso

Time zone - GMT -3

Flight time from the UK -14.5 hrs

Festivals

20 January - San Sebastian, feast day to commemorate San Sebastian

Easter - Semana Santa, Holy Week

03 May - Santa Cruz de Mayo, celebration of the cult of the Holy Cross

13 June - Noche de San Juan Bautista, feast night with a giant stew known as Estofado de San Juan

29 June - Fiesta de San Pedro, celebrations for the patron saint of the sea

mid-July - Virgen de la Tirana, the country's largest religious festival

16 July - Virgen del Carmen, military processions across Chile to honour the patron saint of the armed forces

01 November - All Saints' Day

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay. If you are visiting another country or countries en route to or from Chile, be sure to check any further entry requirements.

Money

The Chilean peso (Ch$) is the official currency of Chile. Coins come in denominations 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos; notes in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 pesos.

Using ATMs is the easiest way to deal with your money when in Chile and are widespread across the country. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted and most ATMs have instructions in Spanish and English. There's likely to be a small charge for foreign transactions, though exchange rates at ATMs are generally as good as you'll find anywhere else. Santiago is the best pace to exchange hard currency.

Be sure to notify your bank of your travels to avoid them from blocking your card when an international transaction is made.

Regions [7]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Chile, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.


Itinerary ideas [9]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Chile. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.

Places to stay [19]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Chile. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Chile, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.

Tierra Chiloé, Chile

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Natural world Activity & adventure Off-The-Beaten-Track

Boasting a spectacular geometric design, reminiscent of its stylish sister properties in the Atacama Desert and Torres del Paine, the Tierra Chiloé is the …

Tierra Atacama Hotel and Spa, Chile

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Natural world Activity & adventure Eco-tourism

This boutique hotel is situated just outside San Pedro De Atacama, and combines outdoor sports and adventure with a relaxed atmosphere and professional indoor …

Tierra Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Natural world Activity & adventure Mountains

Opened in late 2011, Tierra Patagonia is the new luxury kid on the Torres del Paine block. With no further hotels permitted in the park, it squats …

The Singular, Santiago

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

City History & culture Spa

The Singular Santiago - the second offering from Chile's Singular hotel brand after its sister property in Patagonia - offers five-star luxury in the Lastarria …

EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park

It's official, 'glamping' has reached Torres del Paine. EcoCamp Patagonia is the region's first fully sustainable accommodation, offering individual geodesic …

Crusoe Island Lodge, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Crusoe Island Lodge occupies an idyllic beachfront location on the remote and staggeringly beautiful Robinson Crusoe Island, the largest island in the Juan …

The Singular Patagonia, Chile

Rated as the best hotel in Chile and the third best in South America in the 2013 Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice Awards, The Singular Patagonia, located just …

Hotel Las Torres, Torres del Paine National Park

Standing at the base of the park's famous granite towers, this former estancia (ranch) could hardly hold a more central position. Yet while this lends itself …

Explora Patagonia Lodge, Chile

Explora Patagonia lodge is located in the heart of Torres Del Paine National Park, opposite the imposing Paine Massif and by the shores of Lake Pehoe. This area …

Patagonia Camp, Chile

Patagonia Camp was the first luxury camp to open in South America and offers an strategic location by Lake Toro, just outside Torres Del Paine National Park.

Hotel Lago Grey, Torres del Paine National Park

In the west of the park, Hotel Lago Grey is perfectly poised beside one of Torres del Paine's principal attractions, the Grey Lake and Glacier, and offers …

Hotel Rio Serrano, Torres del Paine National Park

Located just south of the park boundary on the sinuous Serrano River, this mid-range hotel is one of the largest in the region and offers easy access to the …

Lodge at Valle Chacabuco, Carretera Austral

Designed and decorated in the style of an old Patagonian estancia, this six-bedroom stone-and-wood lodge was built by eco-philanthropists Doug and Kris …

Green Baker Lodge, Puerto Bertrand, Carretera Austral

Sat right beside the Carretera Austral, Green Baker Lodge has an enviable position on the banks of the Rio Baker, south of Lago General Carrera on the way to …

Mirador de Guadal, Puerto Guadal, Carretera Austral

Located at the south-west end of Lago General Carrera on the road to Chile Chico, 13km east of the Carretera Austral, Mirador de Guadal offers eight beautiful …

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, Chile

With its peaceful and serene location, the luxurious Alto Atacama is the perfect base for exploring the desert, tucked away in a valley of serene beauty, in the …

Explora Rapa Nui, Chile

Easter Island lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,700 kilometres from the American continent, and is the cradle of an unusual and enigmatic culture which …

Meridiano Petit Hotel Sur, Chile

Meridiano Sur is a modern boutique hotel located in the trendy Providencia district, a lively street with many popular restaurants, bars and shops at the heart …

Awasi Hotel, San Pedro de Atacama

Awasi is a discreet, luxury boutique hotel close to the centre of the historic oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. Ranking among South America’s best …

Holiday types [1]

The types of holiday listed below are just a flavour of the experiences available in Chile. We can also suggest and plan alternative types of holiday to take into account your individual interests. To start planning what to do whilst away, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.


Offers [2]

WEXAS negotiates with a wealth of travel companies, airlines, cruise operators, hotels and tour operators to bring you the very best travel offers. For great value or a range of add-on benefits, review the list of offers below.

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