The thin western strip of South America held by Chile represents a land of beautiful lakes, peaks, deserts, glaciers and an abundance of wildlife. Widely regarded as a walker’s paradise, Chile offers a range of hiking opportunities that vary in difficulty but are equally rewarding.
Chile is certainly a nation of contrasts. The Atacama Desert in the north is the driest non-polar desert on earth and is possibly also the oldest. Vast areas of the 600-mile plateau are entirely flat and are so arid that no plant or animal life can survive. Other areas close to the mountains can benefit from the moisture of the ocean and it is possible to witness many types of lizard and flamingo. A hike across the Atacama Desert may be the closest experience to walking on the moon, due to the large craters and tranquil silence.
Head south to Patagonia and you’ll discover glistening white glaciers, stunning fjords and lush green forests. Walk among snow-capped mountains such as Fitzroy and Cerro Torre and admire the crystal ice lakes. Shared by Argentina and Chile, this region is home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world that has to be seen to be believed.
Valparaiso, a coastal city in central Chile, offers a gateway to Santiago for cruise ship passengers. Although the port is an interesting world heritage site in its own right, many choose to take the 90 transfer to the capital.
Alternatively, head 2,500 miles west into the Pacific Ocean where you will discover Easter Island, known for the iconic Moai statues. Made of bedrock, these 900 statues occupy the island whilst gazing ominously into the sky.