Chile is a vast country with a deep cultural history and vast expanses of natural landscape. Stretching down the Eastern coast of South America with the South Pacific Ocean pounding the shore and bordered by Argentina and Bolivia, it’s filled with must-visit locations for any adventurer.
For a whistle-stop tour of all the highlights, here are 3 must-do activities for any trip to Chile:
With such an extreme landscape it’s only natural extreme sports should thrive in Chile. From surfing in Arica to skiing and snowboarding in the Andes, if you’re an adrenaline junkie Chile will provide you with a fix. The Andes are the second highest peaks in the Himalayas and one of the best places in the world to partake in winter sports, with quiet slopes and a laid-back atmosphere for all abilities from beginners to seasoned pros.
Surfing is possible in various places down the coast – Arica is a popular destination, as is Pichilemu and Matanzas. Azure blue seas all year round and a thriving beach culture lead to feel-good vibes and a great surf experience for learners and those seeking gnarlier waves.
An abundance of rock climbing, hiking, canyoning, water rafting trails and more are all available. Some tour companies run excursions for days or weeks at a time, or for the more hardcore adventurer, plan your own route and travel at your own pace! Just make sure you’ve done plenty of planning and research before you arrive.
Explore remote islands
Likely the most famous island off the coast of Chile is Easter Island with over 880 huge stone Maoi figures from an ancient culture of peoples. However, there is a multitude of stunning islands to visit with reliable connections to the mainland. Much of the coastline splinters off into small interconnected islands meaning there is plenty to explore, but some have more to offer for a traveller than others.
The Juan Fernandez Archipelago is comprised of three main islands, one of which is Robinson Crusoe - famous for being the home of marooned sailor Alexander Selkirk upon whom Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe, is based. For an even more remote experience, visit Cape Horn Archipelago – not for the faint-hearted, the waters are notoriously wild and the island is inhabited only by a Navy Captain and his family.
The islands are where some of Chile’s most intriguing culture lies. It is possible to travel easily between islands with some forward planning, although some are so remote they can only be reached by boats or small planes.
Look up at the night sky
With so much to do, it’s certain every day you spend in Chile will be packed with action and adventure. It can be easy to be so tired at the end of it you just want to crawl into bed. However, if you do this you’ll miss one of the most amazing things about Chile – its night skies. Outside of cities, take the time to look up once in a while and you never know what you might see.
A renowned location for astro-tourists, the unpolluted and vast skies of the country provide unparalleled views. The Elqui Valley is a popular destination for such travellers, providing beautiful natural scenery during the day as well as excellent wine and food. By night, it is transformed and provides incredible views by telescope or simply the naked eye, such as the Milky Way which can be clearly picked out against the light-free backdrop.
In particular this year, a rare total eclipse is occurring on July 2nd which promises to be an unforgettable experience. A total eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and sun, a process taking about 20 minutes in total and occurring only every 1-12 years.
Chile is full of activities to keep anyone of any age occupied and entertained. With plenty to see and learn, make sure Chile is high up on your list of holiday destinations.
**Post written by British travel writer and adventurer, Andy Hill, who is currently living in Patagonia, Chile.**