Flanked between Andes to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west, Chile is a long, narrow stretch along South America's western edge. Spanning as much as 4,300km of the Pacific Ocean coastline, the nation is surrounded by dramatic landscapes and other breathtaking natural wonders. The big cities have undeniable character and are packed with iconic landmarks and attractions that make a trip to this stunning location well worth the visit.
Kick-start the trip with a visit to the capital of the country, Santiago. It is not only the largest metropolis of the nation but also serves as a financial and business hub of Chile. With its wide range of museums and galleries along with its fine-dining options, excellent shopping opportunities and luxurious hotel chains, it is also the cultural and entertainment center of the nation. Some of the notable highlights from this megalopolis are: Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda, a cutting-edge cultural center occupying a portion of the remarkable Palacio de la Moneda and the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts, set up in 1880s with an aim to focus on Chilean artists and contains a huge collection of paintings, sculptures and pictures. Spend some time at the San Cristobal Hill for its beautiful panoramic views of the city.
If we're talking about cities than a visit to Chile's third largest city, Valparaiso is perched between the sea and the coastal mountain range as well is 112 kilometres northwest of Santiago. Explore the metropolis through its several cobbled streets and marvel at the exemplary architecture displayed. Be sure to visit Lord Cochrane's Museum and the Navel and Maritime Museum, where both of them talk about Chile's rich maritime heritage.
One of the most incredible destinations to visit in Chile is most definitely the Torres del Paine National Park. Some of its notable highlights are the three 2,850-meter-tall granite peaks of the Paine Massif, which add to the magnificent scenery. Be sure to hike for it is one of the park's most popular pastimes, with several well-marked trails.
Head over to Lauca National Park, 140 kms east of the city of Arica. Its incredible landscape is usually made up of high plains and rugged mountain terrains, several of the latter comprising of large volcanoes. Some of the popular birdlife being spotted are Andean geese, crusted ducks, Chilean flamingos and the huge Andean condor.
Drop by at Los Pinguinos for this place is the home to one of Chile's biggest penguin colonies, comprising of some 60,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins. The islands are also home to large colonies of seals and sea lions. Take a trip to secluded and mystic Easter Island. This extraordinary islet is particularly known for its amazing stone sculptures. Be sure to make atleast one visit to the fascinating Valle de la Luna - which means Moon Valley. This incredible looking landscape, housed in the heart of the Atacama Desert is known to draw as many tourists as possible owing to its uncanny resemblance to the surface of the moon.
When it comes to shopping, be sure to be on the look-out for souvenirs such as colourful hand-woven ponchos, vicuna rugs, alpaca jumpers and copper and silver work. Epicureans may be interested in procuring some of Chile's traditional spices, including a smoked ajj (pepper) known as merken.
Foodies have a plethora of options to choose from for Chilean cuisine is incredibly tasty and delicious. Some of their culinary specialities include Empanada: A pasty stuffed with a mesh of meat, chicken or fish with vegetables, eggs, raisins or cheese or Pastel de Choclo: a quintessential Chilean casserole delicacy prepared with ground corn, usually with chicken and basil.
The stay options in Chile are abundant with the richie-rich craving to be put up at the best luxury hotels and swanky apartments. But at the same time, backpackers and budget tourists could opt for cheap but comfortable accommodations.
Chile experiences varied climate and differs from region to region. The best time to visit this nation would be during summer (December - March) as the days during this period are long, thus allowing more opportunities and more time for tourists to explore this nation.