Chile holidays : introduction
Chile is a land of extremes, from the world’s driest desert in the north to the icy fjords and glaciers of the south. Squeezed between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, this long, narrow country stretches nearly 3,000 miles from Peru to the southernmost tip of the Americas.
The iconic Atacama desert, drier than any other on the planet, and Torres del Paine in southern Patagonia - with its sculpted granite peaks, lakes and glaciers - are not to be missed. There are fertile wine regions, temperate rainforests and thousands of volcanoes, many of them active. Clear night skies make for superb star gazing. You can hike, ride, ski and fish; take to the water in a raft or kayak; or skirt the southern ice fields on a remote self-drive adventure. Off the west coast lies Easter Island with its celebrated monolithic figures and Polynesian culture.
Wildlife is equally diverse: flamingos flock to arid salt flats and condors soar at high altitude; you might be lucky enough to spot guanacos or pumas in one of the country’s nature reserves. The cold, nutrient-rich waters around Patagonia are excellent for penguin, seal and whale watching.
Chileans are friendly and welcoming. Their towns and cities are as vibrant as any in South America, yet you are never more than a few hours from pristine wilderness.
Climate and when to go
The hottest months are December to March. The central region has a sunny Mediterranean-like climate; in July and August temperatures can drop to 10ºC. The Lake District enjoys a temperate climate similar to northern Europe but with heavy rainfall. In the far south the winter (June to mid-September) is more severe: it can snow and temperatures often drop to well below freezing. In Easter Island the rainy season is March to October (wettest in May, when torrential rain can fall, although usually in short bursts); the coldest month is August, and warmest is February.
“Hello All (and Rose!) – thank you for providing us with a really wonderful holiday. We were blessed with superb weather for the vast majority of the trip, all the transport worked fine and Claudia and Nature Style (in Argentina) exceeded all expectations. Our trip around Chiloe was very special – we learnt an enormous amount about the culture, the way of life and the natural environment from our guide Juan Larrain – I recognise Juan as a field botanist of a very high order. With thanks and best wishes.” - PI
“You have yet again proven that Last Frontiers can arrange things that no-one else could. I’m not sure anyone but you could have arranged a plane to fly up the Valley of the Moon just before sunset or arranged for a mouse to appear in the middle of the Salar de Atacama or sorted out all those wonderful animatronic guanacos or arranged for a tame fox that likes cheese biscuits or ...phew!” - A & VW
“We loved the contrast between the different locations in Chile and felt we had the right amount of time in each place. It was also a good mix between ‘doing our own thing’ with a hire car and taking organised tours. We enjoyed the variety of hotels, stunning scenery and interesting wildlife; the food was good and the people very friendly and helpful (although it did help to speak a bit of Spanish). All in all an experience we would highly recommend!” - I&S R
“I am finding it hard to work up any enthusiasm for travel to other parts of the world - all I want to do is to go straight back to Chile.” - AS