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Chile | The highlights of the land of extremes

Chile is rightfully one of the most special countries of South America to name. Not only is Chile the narrowest country in the world, but the highest peak on the entire continent can be found here in the infamous Andes Mountains. To reach the top you will have to go up 6.960 m.

Furthermore, you should not be surprised if you encounter whales and penguins here, find yourself in the driest desert on earth and experience magnificent moments at the Chilean fjords. Fjords, you say? Yes, and don't forget that Antarctica is a stone's throw from the southernmost tip Punta Arenas.

And then we haven't even mentioned Fire Island and Patagonia. You want extremes? Then you get extremes! Welcome to Chile!

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Chris – Wereldreizigers.nl

Atacama Desert

A journey from the north to the south of Chile quickly brings the counter to 4300 km. On the west side you will find the Pacific Ocean, on the east side the impressive Andes Mountains. We start the Chilean tour in the north, where the Atacama is. This is the most arid desert in the world. May not sound appealing but you must have been there.

Also read: 20 Must Sees in South America | Feed for your Bucket List ✔️

Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert | Chile Highlights

San Pedro de Atacama is a colonial village that is ideal as a stopover. From here you can travel to the deserted desert. In this special landscape you will find the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). To experience a sunset in this place is a unique and almost surreal experience. It is one of the few places on earth where there is no life (other than you of course…).

It is by far one of the coolest places in the world to fly your drone. Just take care the right papers before you take to the skies.

Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) | Chile Highlights
Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) | Chile Highlights

You can also travel from San Pedro de Atacama to salt flats such as Cordillera de la Sal and volcanic geysers. Another highlight of Atacama is El Tatio, where you will find no fewer than 40 thermal springs and geysers.

Santiago de Chile

On your way south you will pass the capital of Chile: Santiago de Chile, a real metropolis with about 6 million inhabitants. The old town has a beautiful historic center where you can easily walk around for days. The winding side streets and the colonial buildings are extremely atmospheric… Just walk over Plaza de Armas.

Also read: List of all the capitals of the world + 101 facts and trivia!

Santiago de Chile | The capital of Chile with the Andes Mountains in the background
Santiago de Chile | The capital of Chile with the Andes Mountains in the background

The Andes Mountains are never out of sight, wherever you are in the city. Santiago de Chile also has a few wonderful parks where you can recover from the travel: Cerro San Cristobal, O'Higgins Park en Forestal Park† If you want to taste wines, you can go to the vineyards in the west of the city. Bellavista neighborhood the one of the nicest neighborhoods in Santiago de Chile, with many street art, live music and lively bars.

Barrio Bellavista - Santiago de Chile
Barrio Bellavista-Santiago de Chile

Route Carretera Austral

This is the route to travel south from northern Chile. The landscapes that pass by change every day, sometimes even every hour. If you rent a car, choose a 4WD. Sunnycars from the Netherlands is a good landlord who also arranges everything well insurance-wise, which is so nice…

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Just like us you Shipping a 4×4 vehicle or motorhome to the other side of the world? That is of course also possible… That suddenly opens up a whole range of new possibilities because you can camp in the most bizarre places in the world.

Route Carretera Austral, Patagonia | Chile Highlights
Route Carretera Austral, Patagonia | Chile Highlights

But whether you rent a 4×4 on site or ship your own, this route takes you past azure blue lakes, desolate pampas and high mountain peaks through the previously impassable Patagonia is one you will never forget.

Queulat National Park Carretera Austral
Queulat National Park Carretera Austral

It was not until the 70s that it was decided to create a route through this abandoned area. Many call traveling along the route the most beautiful trip of their lives. You come by Coyhaique, futaleufu en Puyuhuapic† Caves, vast hills and mountain slopes, glaciers and nature that has been blooming lonely for millions of years, you get to see it all. The tour finally ends in Argentinian El Calafate.

The mighty and world famous glacier of El Calafate
The mighty and world famous glacier of El Calafate

Easter Island

Also known as Rapa Nui, this island is located 3.700 km west of Chile, in the Pacific Ocean. It's a completely remote place. For example, the nearest inhabited island of Pitcairn is 2.075 km away. Flights to This Island are scarce and pricey, but you do end up in a place where few people in the world will ever set foot on land.

Moai - Easter Island | Chile Highlights
Moai – Easter Island | Chile Highlights

Easter Island by the way, got its name because Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch explorer, visited the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. The island that is about the same size as Texel is best known for the 'moai', 600 huge statues from 7 to 20 meters high and made of volcanic rock. To this day we have no idea who built the statues. There are also three volcanoes on Easter Island. Especially the view from Maunga Terevaka is gorgeous. Easter Island is isolated and therefore mysterious and unexpected.

Torres del Paine

The national park of Torres del Paine is a work of art in itself. Here in rugged Patagonia you will be blown away by beautiful panoramic views, snow-capped peaks and vast glaciers. It's child's play to take great pictures here.

Also read: What is the best camera for a world tour? And why?

Torres del Paine - Patagonia | Chile Highlights
Torres del Paine – Patagonia | Chile Highlights
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The largest part of the park is formed by the Paine Massif, the chalk cliffs that have taken their shape by defying the weather for 10.000 years.

Torres del Paine | Chile Highlights
Torres del Paine | Chile Highlights

Torres del Paine is especially a challenge for travelers who are not discouraged by long hikes and tough walks. A lifestraw is a must here because you don't have to take tens of liters of water with you, but you can quickly and easily filter natural water into drinking water. The nature in this park is simply mouth-watering, and an experience not to be missed.

Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica

The archipelago is located at the southernmost tip of Chile Fireland† The islands are spread over Chile en Argentina† Fireland is mainly used as a transition to Antarctica† It is therefore not surprising that it can be quite cold on the islands. The environment is mainly inhospitable with glaciers, lakes and rugged mountains. capital is Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. However, this city is under Argentine rule.

Martillo Island, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
Martillo Island, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
Land of Fire
Land of Fire

On the islands you will find Tierra del Fuego National Park, a park with a landscape that is never the same. From Fireland you can travel on to the South Pole, Antarctica. Then put your foot on a continent which many people can only dream about.

Closing comments

Ready to take the plunge? Are you going to organize everything on your own, or would you prefer an organized trip? To our Search & Book page you will find all providers for Latin America, both for independent and group travel. Don't forget to join our Chile travel group on Facebook† There are experienced travelers who can answer all your questions about Chile. See you there!

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