Chile

What are your first thoughts at the mention of Chile?

A country of diverse wilderness, Chile defies singular description, instead ranging from towering, snow-capped mountains to sweeping, tempestuous beaches, lush temperate forests and the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert. Amongst all of this lies a country of warm hospitality, historical cities and an award-winning wine industry, plus so much more.

                                                         

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activities & experiences

Accounting for the greater west coast of South America, what Chile may lack in volume, it more than makes up for in length. It also reaches from the mainland, with several islands including Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Isla Magdelena, home to tens of thousands of Magellanic penguins. This gives rise to a dichotomy of activities, and for lovers of the great outdoors, Chile is one of the finest and most opportune playgrounds available.

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Incorporating a portion of Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, Chile’s wilderness begins in the mountains. Cascading down to the coastline, it is also an exciting destination for surfers, and all the way back up to the snowy peaks of Valle Nevado is favoured by skiers and snowboarders. Chile ranges from tropical in the North, to polar in the South, so whatever your climatic preferences, it offers the perfect solution.

  • Wander the foothills & crystal-clear glacial lakes of Torres del Paine 
  • Saddle up with the huasos – Chile’s gauchos or cowboys
  • Fly-fish or kayak the mountain-fringed Lake District
  • Ponder the purpose & mysteries of the Moai of Rapa Nui
  • Walk on the moon, or at least the Atacama’s Valley of the Moon
  • Explore the colourful street art of Valparaiso
  • Enjoy the offerings of Santiago & the nearby wine region
Chile
Chile

destinations

Though only 110 miles (177 km) from east to west, Chile’s 2,653-mile (4,270 km) length offers more than a few jaw-dropping locations. From glacial plains to tropical beaches, not only does Chile have variation, it also has extremes. Climbing 22,615 (6,893 metres) above sea level, you can find incredible nature, active volcanoes, hot springs, coastal fishing towns and so much more. This stunning disparity can often make it challenging to decide what to pack, or indeed, exactly what kind of vacation you are searching for.

The Atacama Desert


 Though bordering the ocean, the Atacama, which bisects the nation, is the world’s driest place and, in its own arid, desolate way, spectacularly beautiful. The fractured mantle beneath its surface makes the Atacama – and much of Chile – a volcanic hotbed, quite literally. Hot springs, bubbling mud pits and the El Tatio geysers highlight this subterranean activity, while the rugged landscape bears the scars of millennia-old motions. The briny waters of salt flats attract flamingo from thousands of miles away, Valle de la Luna will transport you to another world and the bohemian town of San Pedro de Atacama is the perfect place to venture from to witness some of the clearest stargazing in the world.

Rapa Nui [Easter Island]


Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as it is often better recognised, is still mystifying archeologists and anthropologists to this day. It’s monolithic moai, the distinctive human sculptures for which the remote island is best known, stand proudly gazing inland in memoriam of lost ancestors and tribal elders. Now a world heritage-listed site, Rapa Nui is a wonderful island to discover, with stunning rugged beaches, wonderfully hospitable locals and a fascinating still partially untold history.

Arica & Lauca National Park


The northern city of Arica is a spectacular starting point for your Chilean journey. Though very much a contemporary city, Arica holds a health of history, both amongst its network of streets and in numerous museums. Stroll down to the shore and you can wind your way along the pathway to La Cuevas de Anzota, a collection of coastal caves that are simply breathtaking. With plenty of shopping and world-class restaurants, the city has plenty to offer, but for an escape, Lauca National Park lies about two-hours’ drive to the east. Here you will find vicuna, alpaca, llama, armadillo and, if lucky, puma, as well as a wide range of birdlife, including the Andean condor and Chilean flamingo.

Torres del Paine


This vast region is one of the world’s most remote and striking national parks. Covering over 700 square miles (1,814 km²), Torres del Paine is a wonderful destination to lose yourself and find yourself all at once. Luxurious conscientious accommodation blends into the breathtaking scenery and glacial lakes mirror the expansive sky and omnipresent mountain ranges. Wonderful for hiking, mountain biking and fishing, Torres del Paine is a geographical muse, inspiring photography, sketching or prose in many who visit. Small herds of vicuña and scatterings of birdlife call the dwell in the shadow of the Torres, and cold, clear streams teem with trout.

Santiago


The nation’s capital and international entry point, you will likely begin your journey in Santiago, and it is well worth lingering for a few days. As well as numerous museums, lauded and awarded restaurants and several art galleries, it is considered one of the most exciting and cultural cities of South America. The aerial tramway to the summit of San Cristóbal Hill where you will discover not only some stunning vistas of the city below but also a 22-metre-tall statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an absolute must. With incredible architecture and a consummate fusion of flavours complemented by the thriving vineyards close to the city, Santiago should be incorporated into any Chilean itinerary, and nor merely as a layover destination.

accommodations

In the most complimentary way, Chilean accommodation could best be surmised as creative and diverse. Remote luxury lodges take you completely off grid, premier villas immerse you in the unfettered rawness of the Atacama, converted farmsteads provide nuances of the cowboy lifestyle and palatial mansions couple with contemporary hotels for some inner-city elegance.

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Depending on the experience you are searching for, Chilean accommodation varies greatly. From the impeccable standard and class of Santiago, you can venture into the desert to your private luxury villa with personal staff. From there, escape to Awasi Patagonia, snuggling up in a premium, modern interpretation of a classic log cabin. Find quaint traditional hotels, chic contemporary structures and extensive variety, with luxury available, almost guaranteed, everywhere you go.

Awasi Patagonia

CHILE ESSENTIALS

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BEST TIME: Nov-Feb, though dependent upon your desired experience

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CLIMATE:
NORTH LOW: 57-66ºF (14-19ºC) Jun – Sep / HIGH: 63-79ºF (17-26ºC) Dec – Feb
SOUTH LOW: 30-48ºF (-1-9ºC) Jun – Sep / HIGH: 42-61ºF (6-16ºC) Dec – Feb

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SEASONS: SUMMER: Nov-Feb / WINTER: Jun-Aug

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BEST FOR: Outdoors enthusiasts, skiers & snowboarders, romantics, adventurers

From its distant islands to its arid deserts, its lofty, snow-capped peaks to its wonderful, sandy beaches, there is so much to see and do in Chile, and across so many interests, attractions and geographical regions, that it is essential to gain advice before booking. As with all destinations, there are better and worse times to go, but that is also highly dependent on what you wish to see.

Though Chile is very much a place of natural beauty and untouched wilderness, it isn’t the most ideal country for wildlife, though national parks do offer some incredible sights, including Chile’s collection of camelids (llamas, alpacas and so on), puma, flamingo and condor. Rather than thinking you will be entertained by your surroundings, it is best to visit Chile with some sense of purpose.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN CHILE?

Introverts and lovers of wild places might argue that a lifetime isn’t long enough, but to capture the gamut of Chilean experiences, we would recommend around 14 days. This will allow you time to enjoy the cities, visit the tundra and parks and island-hop to Rapa Nui.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Again, this depends on your wishes. If you are chasing the snow, winter (July – September) is optimal; if you wish to wander the wilderness of Torres del Paine, even summer can be quite brisk, while the expanses of the Atacama can be warm and very dry, but without being exhaustingly hot. Peak season is between December and February, and this usually gives you the greatest scope for your adventure.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACCOMMODATION IN CHILE?

Accommodation is of an excellent standard, but also incredibly diverse, much like the climate and landscapes. Superb lodges, boutique residences, premium hotels and private villas can be found, but some flexibility is necessary. For example, if you are wishing to visit the wildernesses of Patagonia, you should understand that a large, fully-appointed hotel with a wide range of facilities is not going to be an option.

Fortunately, luxury comes in myriad forms and, as long as you are flexible with the style of accommodation, your comfort and satisfaction are guaranteed.

OTHER DETAILS:

Flights to Santiago are reasonable and regular, direct flights taking a little over 10 hours from either coast. Connecting flights can then take you to Chile’s specific regions, while overland transportation is available and highly advised for shorter trips to take in even more of the country’s wonderful scenery.

US citizens don’t require visas for entry to Chile, though other nations may. It is always best to consult your Travel Designer well ahead of time to confirm visa requirements. Likewise, inoculations aren’t generally required but a travel medicine specialist will be able to inform you fully.

Spanish is the national language of Chile and some basic Spanish will definitely be useful, particularly in the more remote areas. That said, English is widely spoken, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industries, your accommodation staff, guides and so on will likely be fluent in English.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

- Amy Lundberg

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

- Betsy Robertson

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

- Dawn Jacobs

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

- George Kowalski

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

- Jackie Smith

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Jamie Scarlett

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Joe Moravec

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Kim Mather

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Lisa Anderson

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)