Lunar landscapes, icy peaks, sophisticated wine and cities like an artist’s canvas
“As if you were on fire from within,” wrote the poet Pablo Neruda, “the moon lives in the lining of your skin.” No wonder that he and many of Latin America’s greatest poets wrote about love and life with metaphors from the natural world. They were Chilean; surrounded by the hot-pink peaks of the Atacama Desert at sunset, the majestic fjords of Patagonia, and the undulating vineyards of Chile’s sun-kissed Central Valley.
A slender ribbon running the length of the west coast of South America – over 2,500 miles long but only ever about 150 miles wide – Chile boasts pristine wilderness like nowhere else on earth. It spans the driest desert on earth in the north to glacial fields, fjords, and the southernmost tip of the South American continent in Tierra del Fuego, the “Land of Fire”. Volcanos, desert, salt flats, temperate rainforests, lakes, rivers and beaches, all sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, it is indeed poetic.
Sample an aromatic sauvignon in the celebrated vineyards of the Casablanca Valley
Stargaze with an astronomer in the Atacama Desert, the world’s clearest night sky
Eat the freshest razor clams at Santiago’s Central Market
Discover the ancient Rapa Nui heritage of Easter Island during the Tapati Festival
Hike through ancient Lenga forests between glaciers and waterfalls in Patagonia
Track pumas with conservationists in the Torres del Paine national park
Fly fish for Brown Trout and Chinook King Salmon in the crystal-clear streams and rivers of the Lake District
Cut fresh tracks through high altitude powder snow on a private heli-skiing adventure in the Andes
As colossal as its topography, is its hospitality. Chileans often use the phrase “Buena onda” (good vibes), and after a few days here you will know exactly what they mean. The country’s diverse geography naturally translates into an astonishing abundance of local produce, so it is no surprise that Chile is also renowned as an international gastronomic hotspot.
Whether you want to camp under the desert sky, dine on an experimental tasting menu in the culinary capital of Santiago or hang out with philosophers and artists in the crumbling mansions of Valparaiso, like Neruda, Chile will light your fire within.
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