Chile, Latin America
With the Atacama Desert, far-flung remote Easter Island, vineyards, volcanoes, dramatic towering mountain ranges, startlingly blue ice fields and deep green fjords….there is little in the way of landscapes that Chile does not cover.
It is a land of huge contrasts and vast distances, sometimes best negotiated by boat, plane or 4WD. Like Argentina, earlier European influence combined with a fascination indigenous history, has left a rich cultural legacy which holds great appeal for visitors.
Renowned for its world-class wines and with some wonderful restaurants, you can dine out in style or more modestly, but still be assured of fresh produce, tasty local creations and high-levels of service.
Santiago’s historic centre, is flanked by towering skyscrapers, which in turn are framed by the majestic Andes in the background. From here you can head to the coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, North to the Atacama, the driest desert in the world (many parts have no recorded rainfall- a concept hard to grasp for those of us from more wet climes!) or South, towards the beautiful Lake District and the stunning Torres del Paine.
When to go
Chile is vast and in fact spans a range of latitudes and hence has many regional climatic variations. Year round options include the temperate North and sub-tropical Easter Island.
The Lake District can be very busy in December and January which is high-summer in Chile, so Spring and Autumn can be a good time to visit.
Santiago and central Chile have more defined seasons, which are actually the reverse of our own, but even in their Winter (our Summer), the weather can be pleasant in the city, although obviously colder higher up in the mountains where it is peak ski season.
Patagonia has a very changeable climate, so it’s wise to be prepared for anything even during the warmer months of October to March. The area is effectively off limits from June to August due to the severe weather conditions.
Flights: There are daily flights to Santiago from the UK, via Madrid and other European hubs- the journey time is around 17.5 hours. Located just 15km from the city centre, Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, also known as Santiago International Airport (SCL), is the largest and busiest gateway to Chile.
Time Zone: GMT-3 hours
FCO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/chile
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