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Explore the beauty of the Andes mountains, with their snow-capped peaks and stunning landscapes, on a once-in-a-lifetime South American trip to Chile.
From the dry desert in in the north to the eternal ice fields in the south popular destinations in Chile include Santiago, Torres del Paine National Park, and Easter Island.
The capital of Chile is Santiago de Chile.
Chile is a long, narrow country in South America; stretching over 2,600 miles (4,300 kilometres) from north to south along the western coast of the continent.
In 1535, after conquering the Incas of Peru, one of Pizarro's men led an overland expedition into Chile, in search of gold.
Chile is a fascinating country with unique geography and a rich cultural heritage.
Chile's diverse geography includes the Atacama Desert in the north, the Andes Mountains running along its eastern border, and the Chilean Coast Range and Patagonian ice fields in the south.
An 8.8 earthquake occurred north-east of the city of Concepcion in the early hours of Saturday, 27th February, 2010 - 1,000 times stronger than the previous one in Haiti.
At the southern tip of the American continent, the Chilean Archipelagos include the Chonos, Wellington Island, and the western portion of Tierra del Fuego. Cape Horn is the southernmost point.
South Pacific islands belonging to Chile include the Juan Fernandez Islands, Easter Island (famous for its Moai statues), and Sala y Gomez.
The Straits of Magellan, between the mainland and Tierra del Fuego, are named after the Portuguese explorer who came through them in 1520, and landed on Chiloe Island.
The region was then known as Tchili; meaning snow.
Located in the southern part of Chile, Torres del Paine National Park is known for its towering granite peaks, glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes.
The best time to visit Chile depends on where you're going and what you want to do.
In general, the summer months (December to February) are the most popular for travel, as the weather is warm and dry.
However, if you're planning to visit the Atacama Desert or Patagonia, you may want to consider visiting in the shoulder seasons (September to November or March to May) to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder temperatures.
Said to be one of the driest regions in the world the Atacama Desert, in northern Chile, is kept relatively cool by its high elevation.
San Pedro de Atacama is a small town in the Atacama Desert known for its stunning natural landscapes, including salt flats, geysers, and hot springs.
The Terrantai Lodge was conceived to honour the spirit of traditional Atacamenean custom, while providing the creature comforts modern travellers expect.
Experience the authentic Atacama and the oasis of San Pedro and find adventure for the mind and body, and relaxation for the soul.
Chile has a rich cultural heritage, which includes the indigenous Mapuche people and a strong Spanish colonial influence.
The country is also home to a thriving arts scene, with many famous writers, artists, and musicians.
The works of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral are maybe lesser known, but she became the first Latin American writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1945.
Isabelle Allende was one of the first Latin American woman writers to win world-wide recognition and popularity.
Her uncle, Salvador Allende, was the president of Chile when he died; during General Pinochet's 1973 military coup. Isabelle Allende was subsequently exiled from Chile and sought asylum in Caracas, Venezuela.
Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, was produced in exile. A family chronicle set in the disorder of political and economic change in Latin America, the novel was well received and subsequently made into a film.
Chilean music and folk dances get their influences from the more rural communities, where reading poetry was not so widespread.
Chilean wine-growing dates from the 16th century but it's only in the last decade that Chile has grown in the public consciousness as a wine exporter; with its relatively inexpensive wines offering a fresh, fruity, richly flavoured taste.
Chile wine is produced in regions such as the Maipo, Casablanca, and Colchagua valleys.
Other notable exports include copper, salmon, fruits, and forestry products.
The country is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic port city of Valparaíso and the mining town of Sewell.
Known as Isla de Pascua in Spanish, Easter Island is a remote island located about 2,300 miles west of the Chilean coast.
Dutch explorer Jakob Roggeveen landed here on Easter Day in 1722, hence the name.
Several thousand Polynesians lived on the volcanic island at the time, but their numbers were reduced by disease and capture during the slave trade.
The origins of the carved statues on Easter Island are uncertain. There is also evidence that the islanders possessed an early form of writing, by carving pictures on wooden tablets.
Haciendas are a type of organisation for country farms of several hundred acres and were introduced by the Spaniards in South America in the 16th century.
Situated 500 kilometres north of Santiago, in the 4th region of Chile, Hacienda Los Andes is within easy reach by road via La Serena and Ovalle. There's also a private transfer service from La Serena, Vicuna or Ovalle.
Moser Active is a Patagonian adventure travel company, located in Puerto Natales, Chile.
Santiago de Chile
The capital of Chile is situated on the Mapocho River, in the central part of the country.
Chile's largest city has the snow-capped Andes Mountains visible to the east.
Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia established Santiago in 1541, in an area then inhabited by the Picunche Indians.
Chile's capital city is a bustling metropolis with plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, galleries, and theaters. The city also has a thriving culinary scene and a lively nightlife.
For visitors who like looking at old buildings, there's a 16th-century cathedral in Santiago and the Presidential Palace dates from the early 19th century.
The National Historical Museum has interesting collections from the pre-Colombian and colonial periods, and the Art of the American Peoples Museum has a collection of Chilean folk art.
Other museums of interest are the National Museum of Fine Arts; the Contemporary Art Museum, in Forestal Park; the National Museum of Natural History; and the Natural History Museum of San Pedro Nolasco.
The Trans-Andes railway runs from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires.
Valparaíso is a picturesque port city located about 70 miles north-west of Santiago on a wide bay of the Pacific Ocean in central Chile.
It's a major seaport and most people pass through here on their way to the nearby resort of Vina del Mar.
Founded by the Spanish in 1536, Valparaiso grew after Chile gained independence in 1818, as ships rounding Cape Horn stopped here before the 1914 opening of the Panama Canal.
Valparaíso is noted for its colorful houses, bohemian atmosphere, and street art.
Vina del Mar
The cities of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso seem to have blended together to form a greater metropolitan region.
Vina del Mar is a popular seaside resort and one of our favourites in Latin America; certainly the best on the west coast.
The president of Chile's summer residence is in Vina del Mar and there's plenty of evidence that other money comes to town; with luxurious estates, wonderful green areas and hotels on the waterfront.
There's also a municipal casino for the rich to try and win some more, and the not so rich to loose their shirt.
Chile Travel Guides
Weather in South America:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Latin America.
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