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Atacama Desert, Chile

Chile

Chile tailor-made holidays

Introduction

"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.

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.

At a glance

Flying time from UK
15½ hours

Time zone
GMT -4

Currency
Chilean peso (peso) = 100 centavos

Language
Spanish

Travel advice
(UK/US) None

See Chile travel guide

Special offers in Chile

Spirit of Chile with Tierra Hotels

14-day tailor-made journey from £6,285 pp

Special
offer

Discount if staying at three Tierra hotels – Save up to £620 pp
Book by: 30 April 2018

Witness breathtaking landscapes ranging from the vast expanses of the Atacama Desert in the north, through the verdant central plains and sweeping vineyards of the country's central region, to the lakes, glaciers and towering mountains of Patagonia in the south.

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Top itineraries in Chile

Patagonia and the Carretera Austral

14-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,400 pp incl. flights

Combine an adventurous drive on the Carretera Austral from Balmaceda to Valle Chacabuco with a stay in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This 14-day tour also includes a stay, and guided tour, in Chile's capital, Santiago.

Chilean Wines & the Atacama Desert

12-day tailor-made journey from £4,285 pp incl. flights

Discover the contrasts of northern Chile on this 12-day tailor-made tour, which takes in the capital, Santiago, the striking landscapes of the Atacama desert and the central wine valleys of Colchagua and Casablanca.

Highlights of Chile

13-day tailor-made journey from £4,405 pp incl. flights

From the austere landscapes of the north to the granite spires of the Patagonian south and the cities of Santiago and Valparaíso in between, this 13-day tailor-made holiday takes in the best of Chile’s history, heritage, landscapes and wildlife.

Highlights of Chilean Patagonia

11-day tailor-made journey from £4,480 pp incl. flights

Explore the very best of Chilean Patagonia on this tailor-made tour to the Lake District town of Puerto Varas, mysterious Chiloé Island and the imposing granite spires of the Torres del Paine National Park.

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What our clients say about our Chile holidays

  • The vacation all went to plan and we had a wonderful time. The recommendation to stay at the Explora Hotel was a great idea and definitely made our time in Rapa Nui much more worthwhile. Thanks to Heather!

    Chris C

Top places to stay in Chile

The Singular, Santiago

Contemporary hotel

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 Neighbourhood of Santiago, one of the most charming, characterful and cultural districts of Chile's vibrant capital city.

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa

Contemporary hotel

Combining outdoor adventure with a relaxed atmosphere and first-class hospitality, the exceptional Tierra Atacama brings together striking architectural features, stylish interiors and a designer spa in Chile’s arid northern desert.

Awasi, San Pedro de Atacama

Contemporary lodge

Thatched roofs and colourful furnishings give this luxury Atacama hotel a distinctly African feel. With an excellent restaurant and delightful outdoor pool, it’s the ideal base for exploring the wonders of the world’s driest non-polar desert on exclusive, private excursions.

Tierra Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park

Contemporary lodge

Opened in late 2011, Tierra Patagonia is the newest luxury kid on the Torres del Paine block. With no further hotels permitted in the park, it squats inconspicuously on the eastern perimeter, a fluid structure of local wood on the shore of Lake Sarmiento.

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Where to go in Chile

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is Chile's finest national park, noted for its lakes, waterfalls, forests, glaciers and rocky peaks, and the majestic 2,800-metre granite spires that give the park its name. The Towers of Paine comprises three stunning rock faces on the Paine massif, an eastern spur of the Andes th…

Santiago & Central Chile

Central Chile is the political and commercial heart of the country, its energies focused on Chile's two biggest cities, Santiago and Valparaiso. The nation's capital is Santiago, with its gleaming tower blocks, chic boutiques and grand plazas.

The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

The Atacama Desert is northern Chile's most distinctive geographical feature. Starkly different from the south of the country, this 1,000 kilometre strip of land is one of most arid regions on earth.

Chilean Patagonia

Patagonia is one of South America's most inspiring wilderness regions. This vast and sparsely populated plateau covers much of southern Argentina and Chile, and is a hugely popular destination for trekking, watching wildlife and luxury cruises.

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When to go to Chile

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Average rainfall (mm)
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  • 20
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Max temp Min temp Rainfall

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 …

See regional weather

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    Our well-travelled clients often ask, ‘If I loved driving the Pacific Coast, where should I go next?’ Or, ‘Where can I find that same warm welcome of the Deep South?’ Our USA destination specialists share what they love about travelling in the States, and round up suggestions for where to try next.

  • Direct routes to Chile now flying

    Now British travellers visiting Chile's capital city can enjoy a direct routing with British Airways from the UK, making it easier than ever to relax in this exciting destination.

  • 4 delicious Chilean wines to try on holiday

    Chile's winemaking has taken its rightful place at the world's table, with vineyards producing grapes both familiar and uncommon. Here are the main Chilean wines to look for, and food pairings to bring out the best in them.

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Meet our Chile experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0698

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0698 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

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Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

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Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

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  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
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