Chile is the longest country on earth, with natural wonders ranging from the world’s driest desert in the North to the Patagonian glaciers in the South. The country is nestled between the Andes mountain range and a string of Pacific Coast beaches, with lakes and waterfalls in between. It is safe to say Chile is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. To visit or to live, Chile is sure to offer something for any type of travel guru.
Top 5 Places
- Santiago: The capital city of Santiago de Chile is located in the Metropolitan region of the country. The majority of the Chilean population resides here,
with neighborhoods and communities that vary from one another greatly. Because Santiago is the biggest and most populated city in the country, it typically offers the most job opportunities for expats. And you can easily escape the city by traveling to a nearby beach or into the mountains for the afternoon.
- Valparaíso and Viña del Mar: Only an hour and a half drive from the country’s capital, lies two smaller cities along the Pacific coastline. Public transportation connects the two, but they are most definitely two distinct places. Valparaíso offers a unique montage of street art, musical talent and creative individuals. There is no place that feels quite like it. Viña, on the other hand, is a more modern beach town. It serves as a popular summer getaway for locals, specializing in all types of seafood such as Chile’s famous machas.
- San Pedro Atacama: In the North of Chile is the famous touristic town of San Pedro. The town is small, rustic and desertlike, but specializes in many different tours of the Atacama desert and is a cross-over point into Bolivia. The desert has some of the best stargazing in the world, along with the
famous ALMA observatory. Besides getting lost in the night sky, many enjoy seeing geysers and altiplanic lagoons or trying llama meat.
- Puerto Natales: Your trip to Chile is not complete without a visit to the famous natural wonders in Parque Torres del Paine in the Patagonian region. Puerto Natales is the starting point where you can book day trips and tours to glaciers, waterfalls, wild penguins and more. If you are feeling adventurous, try the multi-day “W” or O” hike within the park.
- Pucon: The Southern town of Pucon is a perfect 3-day weekend getaway. The town is picturesque with a stunning view of a volcano and lake that offers water sports. Pucon offers adventurous activities, such as volcano trekking or rafting. For those looking to relax, take a trip to the geometric thermal baths.
Drinks & Food
- Pisco Sour: A staple, must-have drink when traveling to Chile. This cocktail provides the perfect ratio of pisco to lemon to sugar. It can be found in most bars and it is something Chileans take great pride in.
- Terremotos: In Spanish, this means “earthquake.” And it is said that you should only drink one of these potent concoctions, unless you want to experience an aftershock. Inside is a sweet combination of white wine, pineapple ice cream and grenadine. Best time to find these is during Chilean’s independence celebration in September.
- Pastel de Choclo: If you like corn, then this meal is for you. It is perfect for chilly evening as this dish is full of oven-baked sweet corn and meat that can warm you right up.
- Empanadas de Pino: In Chile, you can find an assortment of empanadas, but this is one is certainly most famous. Inside a pocket of crispy dough, lies meat, egg, onion, raisins and an olive.
- Dulce de Leche: Otherwise know as “manjar,” this creamy spread is found in many Chilean desserts. It’s popular amongst all age groups and jars are sold at an inexpensive price in all supermarkets.
- Celebrate Fiestas Patrias: If you live or are visiting Chile during the month of September, you have no choice but to participate in Fiestas Patrias. The Chilean national holiday is technically on September 18th, but the locals celebrate all month long. It’s a great opportunity to have some terremoto drinks, go to a fonda and dance Chile’s national dance called the cueca.
- Go to a Chilean BBQ: If there is one thing Chileans like it is a barbecue. You will be so stuffed by the end of this all day event that you will never want to eat again. Expect to eat some delicious sausage and meat, while sipping on beers or the local’s favorite homemade cocktail, piscolas (pisco+coca cola).
- Go Trekking: You can’t go to Chile and not go on one of the many trails. There are treks for all levels – from a brisk afternoon walk to a vigorous climb up a volcano or mountain.