A dramatic, living landscape of gushing geysers and active volcanoes, Chile presents a wild land of dramatic fjords, remote coastline and a rich history of cultural traditions.
Home to the world’s driest desert, its landscape is pock-marked with an astonishing 2,000 volcanoes, 50 of which are still active and, as the sun goes down over the Salt Mountain range, you can hear the white-crusted rocks cracking as they contract. Sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the country is only 350 kilometres at its widest point, but stretches over 4,300 kilometres from north to south, passing through a landscape of remarkable climatic and cultural diversity.
Emerging from the dark days of Pinochet’s military dictatorship, the Chileans have retained their wonderful warmth and humour and provide a cheerful welcome to any visitor. Chileans love their sport as much as their traditions; panpipes and bamboo flutes play as much a part in their culture as football and rodeo. But it is Chile’s landscapes that leaving leave an everlasting memory, from the scorched deserts of the Atacama to the breathtaking mountains and glaciers of the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile is a land just ripe for everything from wild desert adventure and white water rafting, to complete escapism where photographers and culture buffs alike can relish a truly inspirational landscape.
With Chile being such a long country, its coastline is some 4,000 miles, the climate can vary enormously. Broadly speaking it is hot and dry in the north, warm and occasionally wet in the middle and cold in the south.
As one would expect the coastal areas are generally cooler and the rainy season is from May through to August. Like Argentina the mountainous lake district is cool most of the year with November - March being the most favourable time to visit, but also attracting the most visitors.
The Chilean side of Patagonia is as unpredictable as the Argentinean - Tierra del Fuego has summer temperatures as high as 11degrees in summer time but during the winter months is so cold that much of it becomes impassable for anyone other than mountaineers.
Chile is also home to one of the driest areas on the planet; The Atacama Desert which has hot weather all year round.
Off the coast is Easter Island with a tropical climate that can be heavily influenced by winds and ocean currents. January and February are generally the hottest months but it is largely fine all year round.