The Best of Chile

Advisor - Henley Vazquez
Curated By

Henley Vazquez

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  • Chile

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Multi-Destination

  • National Park

  • Vineyard

Advisor - The Best of Chile
Curator’s statement

Though it’s a year-round destination, the perfect time to visit Chile is in the Northern Hemisphere fall, winter and early spring before the peak season for rainfall starts in the Atacama. Adventure types will be enamored with all the active experiences Chile has to offer. There’s no doubt this country in South America is a bucket-list place you must visit once in a lifetime, although you’ll likely end up wanting to go back and see more as the country is long and vast. Make Santiago your base and jet off on side trips to some of Chile’s most spectacular destinations. Before booking anything in Chile, reconcile yourself with a lot of car time. Know that the draw of the Chilean places you’ll experience in this travel guide overshadow logistics.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

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Tierra Atacama

Design-forward with a beautiful outdoor pool and spa and contemporary rooms that make the time at the lodge as pleasant as the time on the trails.

Fora Perks
  • Complimentary 50-minute massage for two people per room.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Cumbres

Well-priced rooms in the hip Lastarria neighborhood.

Vik Chile

With panoramic views of Vik Natural reserve and winery, every luxurious room is designed by a different artist for a one-of-a kind experience.

Fora Perks
  • $100 spa credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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The Best of Chile - Atacama

A 2 hour nonstop flight from Santiago, followed by a 90 minute drive to San Pedro de Atacama (where the hotels are located), the Atacama Desert is a must-see in Chile. Go to see lunar-esque landscapes, flamingo-dotted salt flats and towering peaks. There are simply few places on earth with scenery as stunning as the Atacama Desert. 

Because of its remote location and extraordinary nature, the Atacama Desert makes an unforgettable backdrop for stargazing.

Advisor - Henley Vazquez

A note from Henley

Atacama is the driest desert in the world, and it's high altitude. Make sure to hydrate and wear lots of sunscreen. Work your way up from the easier activities while you acclimate for the more strenuous hikes toward the end of your stay. For milder temperatures and fewer crowds, the best time of year to visit is between September to November.

Lake District

The Best of Chile - Lake District

Puerto Montt airport is a nonstop 1.5 hours flight from Santiago and is the gateway to many of the lodges in northern Patagonia. The driving distance from the airport to your hotel will depend on where you’re headed (and can be as short as an hour to Puerto Varas). If you’re headed inland to Vira Vira near the Argentine border, the Temuco airport is lifesaver during high season with fewer flights and much shorter drives to your final destination.

Being in Central Chile, the Lake District has a comfortable Mediterranean climate. During the summer months, go for the hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting down rivers, and during the winter months, go skiing or snowboarding down volcanoes. Chile’s Lake District surrounded by the Andes mountains is a more rugged version of Switzerland’s Alps.

Many travelers also use the Lake District as a connection point between Chile and Argentina if combining the two countries and crossing over to Bariloche. Also, little south of the Lake District is the famous Chilean archipelago island of Chiloé.

Advisor - Henley Vazquez

A note from Henley

The Lake District feels more like a southern hemisphere version of Switzerland. The climate is less harsh, and this is a great place to break up a trip or end one with activities that feel a little more relaxing.


The Best of Chile - Patagonia

Most flights land in Punta Arenas (3.5 hours flying from Santiago, also with connections from Puerto Montt). All lodges in the ChileanPatagonia are a long drive following your arrival, anywhere from two to five hours driving. There are occasional flights into Puerto Natales, which cuts about two hours off your driving, but these are few and far between, and often canceled. 

To visit Patagonia is simply epic. For adventurers, wilderness lovers, activity fiends, there’s no place as appealing as the remote Patagonian fjords, glaciers, mountains and valleys, specifically Torres del Paine National Park. 

Advisor - Henley Vazquez

A note from Henley

The lodges are small and they're all excellent, so finding space anywhere is a win (don't stress too much about choosing which one).

Santiago and Wine Country

The Best of Chile - Santiago and Wine Country

Spend at least a day in the capital city of Santiago between flying in and out of the city. Most people don’t give more than a night or two to the capital city. There are some good restaurants, cute shops, and neighborhoods to explore, but Santiago doesn’t have the draw of some more internationally acclaimed cities.

Save at least a day to drive two hours out of the city towards the wine country for the verdant landscape of vineyards and enjoy local Chilean wine known as Carmenere.

The vineyards throw harvest festivals during Vendimia season from late-February to early May to celebrate the new year’s grape harvests. Though these wine festivals make it a popular time for visitors, it is worth the endurance.

Advisor - Henley Vazquez

A note from Henley

Don't overlook Santiago, but consider it a hopping off point to get to other destinations. Valparaiso is a great day trip if you want to visit a colorful beach town. For wine, Vik Chile is unmatched.

Need to Know

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