Our Country of the Week is one of South America’s fastest growing, safest and most beautiful: Chile. In Chile tourism has overshadowed the country’s once known for it’s tumultuous politics. Today Chile is associated with the fine wine it exports and as as a tourist destination
Chile is squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific ocean on the western edge of South America. At an average of just 170 km wide (Toronto to London Ontario is about 190km) travelling from the slopes to the beach doesn’t take long. North to south however, the country stretches an astounding 4 300km with nearly 6 500km of coastline. Chile has some of the most varied geography of any country on earth. Glaciers carve through the frozen summits of the Andes while the north of the country is home to the world’s driest desert. Sand dunes, hundreds of volcanoes, forests, fjords, fertile valleys, rainforest and barren deserts are spread throughout Chile.
Chile Tourism Guide:
Chile tourism is Easter Island sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean halfway between Chile and Tahiti. Although seemingly a world away Easter Island has to be included as one of Chile’s must-see tourist destination. The island is home to some of the worlds most haunting, mysterious and popular tourist attractions: moai. Moai are the famous giant stone heads that cover the otherwise barren landscape of Easter Island. Although it’s expensive to reach and far from the rest of Chile, Easter Island is worth seeing – if you have the time and money.
Chile is home to some of the finest New World wines. Thanks to a hospitable climate Chile has grown to become the world’s tenth largest wine producer. The industry is still growing which means that most vineyards are still locally owned and operated. Locals are proud of their product and provide a hospitable, authentic wine tasting experience.
Chilean Patagonia is almost the same size as Great Britain. About 50% of this remarkable region is protected and almost entirely uninhabited. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in cycling, hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, kayaking, mountain climbing and more. Above all, Chilean Patagonia is renowned for its breathtaking views unrivaled by anywhere else on earth.In Chile tourism is often associated with wine making, but outdoor enthusiasts have begun to discover the hidden gem that is Chilean Patagonia.
The Atacama Desert
Northern Chile is home to the Atacama Desert. Aside from the polar deserts this region receives the least amount of precipitation of anywhere on earth. You might expect the Atacama to be a barren wasteland devoid of life – nothing could be further from the truth. Northern Chile is home to beautiful and modern coastal cities like Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Coquimbo and La Serena. Remnants of Inca and Spanish heritage are everywhere. In addition, the Atacama is home to hot springs, geysers, salt flats, vineyards, stunning beaches, modern cities, mountains and even some of the worlds most advanced astronomical observatories.
The land on which Chile’s capital Santiago now sits was first discovered nearly half a millennium ago in 1541 by Spanish Conquistadors. In the summer locals flock to the beaches or the surrounding vineyards and in the winter they head to the slopes to ski. Santiago has grown into one of the most developed and important cities in South America but retains many of its historic roots and traditions. The city is a must see for tourists who really want a taste of Chilean life, and has become the heart of Chile tourism.
Chile Tourism: Cost?
First of all, Chile’s airports and hotels have notoriously high exchange rates so it’s better to buy before you fly, although you might be able to find a fair rate in town centers. The average cost per day is around $44 000 CL (Chilean Pesos) or $89 CA. A round trip flight from Pearson to Santiago will typically run you upwards of $1 200 CA but you might be able to find a deal if you book in advance.
If you want to include Easter Island in your travel itinerary you’re gonna have to add a zero or two to your budget. A direct flight from Santiago to Easter Island is over 3 700 km and will cost you at least around $700-$900. Flights are often overbooked so you’ll have to be sure to confirm your ticket beforehand.
Chile Tourism: Health and safety
Chile is one of the safest countries in South America with a crime rate lower than the United States. Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are a possible but no more likely to occur in Chile than anywhere on the west coast of North America Vancouver, LA or Washington state.
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