Welcome to Chile
In Chile, coastlines stretch along the Pacific Ocean; the rugged terrain of Patagonia seemingly reaches to the end of the earth; and the dry Atacama desert, Andes mountains, and Valdivian forests nestle against one another to create a country where the topography is as varied as the options for exploring. Santiago de Chile, the country's capital, is a melting pot of Latin culture, bohemian neighborhoods, and colonial architecture. Don't miss out on the views from the top of San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal); colorful street art and thumping nightlife in trendy Bellavista; or a bike tour of top city sights. UNESCO World Heritage Site Valparaíso—renowned for its hillside funiculars (cable railways) and street art—as well as beachside gem Viña del Mar are just a 1.5-hour drive away, and easily doable on a day trip from Santiago. If you're seeking outdoor adventure, Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park boasts surreal beauty, bringing together mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers to make it an ideal location for horseback riding or hiking tours. For wine lovers, Chile is the promised land of New World varietals, with regions such as the Maipo Valley, San Antonio Valley, and the Matetic Vineyards best explored on wine-tasting tours. Further north, the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert—home to Moon Valley, the Atacama Salt Lake, and the Ojos del Salar—are a must-see from San Pedro de Atacama. Meanwhile, far-flung Rapa Nui Easter Island, home to nearly 900 giant head statues, is a modern mystery best explored on a multi-day trip, including round-trip plane rides.