Captivating Chile holidays
Chile, a long narrow slither of a country, runs down the west coast of South America for almost 3,000 miles. At its widest, it’s 220 miles wide and at its narrowest, Chile is less than ten miles across. Between these slender borders, Chile offers natural spectacle on a truly colossal scale. Pounded by the Pacific on the west, it extends north into the Atacama - the highest, driest desert on Earth - and south to Patagonia and the Chilean Lake District. To the west, the snow-capped Chilean Andes form a natural border with Argentina, and dotted between all these you’ll encounter some of the most vibrant and exhilarating sights, cities and cultures in the travel world.
In Santiago, Chile’s capital, you can explore colonial architecture and bohemian neighbourhoods, and pick up alpaca-wool ponchos from lively street stalls. A few days later, you can gaze across the glacial lakes and looming volcanoes of the Chilean Lake District, or go wine tasting in the vineyards around elegant Viña Del Mar, whose name translates to Vineyard by the Sea. A holiday to Chile is certainly an adventure, and it’s one you’ll cherish for years to come.
Cultural sights, intrepid adventures… Chile has so many experiences to tempt your inner traveller. Here are a few of our favourites.
Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Chilean Andes, Chile’s capital is thoroughly cosmopolitan, yet deeply rooted in Latin American culture. Listen out for the local chinchineros, lively street entertainers that are unique to Chile, and particularly to Santiago.
Adventurers, hikers, wildlife enthusiasts… Patagonia is paradise for anyone looking for grand adventure in the outdoors. This is South America’s southern frontier, complete with wild open spaces, dramatic jagged peaks, pristine lakes and glistening rivers, laid out before you on a gigantic scale.
It’s not as wild as Patagonia, but Chile’s Lake District is just as beautiful. This serene landscape is dominated by snow-capped mountains, looming volcanoes, swathes of ancient, untouched forest, and the silvery glacial lakes that give the region its name. Gateway to the Lake District, Puerto Montt is the jumping off point for many visitors to this magical place.
The official language in Chile is Spanish, though some indigenous languages are also spoken.
The weather in Chile varies greatly depending on where you are visiting. As a general guide, the north tends to be hot and arid, the central region warm but wet (especially from May to August) and the south usually cool and damp.
The UK is five hours ahead of the Chilean capital, Santiago.
Flights to Santiago in Chile from the UK take around 17 hours, including one stop en route. Flights to other airports take much longer, and usually include changing planes more than once.
Tipping is discretionary, but it’s always appreciated. Many service jobs pay very low wages, so tipping can be vital to maintain a reasonable standard of living. A tip of at least 10% in restaurants, bars and cafés is a good rule of thumb.
The Chilean currency is the Chilean Peso. Major credit cards are accepted in towns and cities.
Chilean specialities include empanadas and - thanks to its long, long coastline - the seafood is also excellent, especially clams, sole, sea bass and oysters. Chilean wines need no introduction, in fact Chile’s Maipo Valley has been called the ‘Bordeaux of South America’.
British passport holders don’t need a visa to travel to Chile for up to 90 days, but your passport must be valid for the length of your stay. However, entry requirements can change so we recommend that you check before you travel. CIBT provide a useful tool to do this at CIBT visas or you can visit GOV.UK.
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