Speaking of wines, Chile takes its drinking and dining very seriously. Meals are to be enjoyed in good company and with lots of chatter. Then there are all the Chilean foodie options, featuring everything from king crab to tropical fruits. Move away from the city, and you’ll find glaciers, the driest desert on earth, volcanoes, ancient forests, fjords, and more. The people themselves are equally diverse. You may find yourself rubbing shoulders with the gauchos in Patagonia or the alpaca herders in the mountains. Where you are, and whatever you’re doing, you’ll have enough photos to keep your Instagram feed busy for months.
Places to Visit in Chile
- Easter Island
- Chiloe Island
- Puerto Montt
- La Campana
- Petrohue Falls
- Tepuhueico Lake
Unique Things to See and Do in Chile
- Sample pisco in the Elqui Valley
- Explore Atacama, Chile’s northern desert
- Get active in the Lake District and Chiloe
- Hike in Patagonia
- Enjoy the unbelievable views in Torres del Paine National Park
- See the mysterious Easter Island statues
- Walk around the historic port city of Valparaiso
Like much of South America, Chilean culture is largely influenced by indigenous and Spanish cultures. The Spanish conquered the land in the 17th century and started plundering the country of its natural resources. Later, in 1973, a military coup occurred and Chile fell under the rule of Augusto Pinochet for 17 years. Since the early 90s, however, Chile has been an incredibly safe and peaceful democratic country.
Thanks to its size, customs and traditions vary throughout Chile. Santiago is the capital and economic centre of the country. You’d be hard pressed to find a Chilean person in Santiago who didn’t love football and rodeo. As you move into the mountains, however, you’ll find that skiing is a very popular sport. Near the coastal regions, surfing is revered. It also makes sense that Chile would have a varied food scene thanks to its different geography. Seafood is in abundance, as well as fruits and vegetables. Chile is also famous for its wine, and there’s no shortage of vineyards to tour.
When it comes to arts and culture, Chile has a film industry that’s steadily growing. If you want to experience fine arts, check out the works of Roberto Matt and Carlos Sotomayor. Chile is also home to several well-known writers: Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, and Isabelle Allende are just a few. Chile also has its own national dance known as the Cueca. Its national identity is also expressed in the pre-Columbian music of the Mapuche people.
When you visit Chile, you’ll leave feeling spellbound and inspired. It’s not just the landscape that shapes the country, it’s the people. Delving into Chilean culture will help you gain a better understanding of life in Chile.
Getting Around Chile
Since Chile is such a large country, flying between destinations is a great option. LAN Airlines is the most popular and most comfortable airline, and if you’re travelling to other South American countries, you can opt for their South American pass. Car rental is another option, although it isn’t necessary if you’re planning on spending your time in Santiago.
The only rail system in Chile is the Empresa de Ios Ferrocarriles del Estado service from Santiago to Chillan with several stops in between.
Did you know…?
At one period of time, it did not rain for 40 years in the Atacama Desert. It’s one of the longest dry spells ever recorded.
Did you ALSO know…?
Chile is one of the only countries in the world to have a government-funded UFO research organization.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Chile
Because of its varied geography, Chile has every climate in the world except tropical. Peak travel season generally occurs over the summer months, from December to the end of February, and also for two weeks in the middle of July and Holy Week. You’ll find a huge influx of Brazilians and Argentines during this time as these dates are popular holiday and vacation periods. Prices are also much higher then.
Late September to early December during the spring months is probably your best bet. March to June is also fantastic, and both seasons are very pleasant weather-wise. The heat during the summer months can be stifling.
Ready to plan your visit to Chile? Check out these popular guides and trips.